10 Vintage Motorcycle Brands


Brough Superior

People often marvel at how the cost of vintage motorcycles can skyrocket over the years, making them valuable enough that some investors use them to balance their portfolio of stocks and bonds. Some bikes, though, are expensive from the very start. Some Brough Superiors, which were made by the company founded by George Brough, cost as much as a house at the time of their release [source: Woodbury]. Obviously, the bikes earned their nickname as "The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles," which referred not just to their high price tag, but also to the fact that Brough used only the very best materials in assembling his bikes.

These days, many people associate Brough Superiors with TE Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. To say the least, Lawrence was a devoted Brough rider, owning eight in total, each of which had a name: His first was called Boa, while the rest were named George I, George II and on and on, up until George VII, the bike he was riding when he died -- George VIII was on order, but never delivered [source: Woodbury].

As we mentioned at the start, we know this list omits some deserving names, like Ducati and Velocette, so let us know what brands you would add.

Related Articles


  • Carleton, Dave. Vintage motorcycle judge and historian. Personal interview. (May 13, 2011).
  • Cerilli, John. Co-founder of Vintage Motorcycles Online. Personal correspondence. (May 11, 2011).
  • Guy, Lorin. Motorcycle event organizer. Personal correspondence. (May 9 and 10, 2011).
  • Harley-Davidson. "Harley History Timeline." Harley-Davidson.com. (May 12, 2011).http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/content/pages/h-d_history/history_1900s.jsp?locale=en_us
  • Honda. "'Nicest People' Campaign Causes a Sensation." world.honda.com. (May 13, 2011).http://world.honda.com/history/challenge/1959establishingamericanhonda/text08/
  • Moto Guzzi. "Ninety Years of Moto Guzzi." motoguzziheritage.com. (May 15, 2011).http://motoguzziheritage.com/about
  • Panettieri, Rich. Moto Guzzi brand manager. Personal interview. (May 20, 2011).
  • Stein, John. Motorcycle author and journalist. Personal interview. (May 12, 2011).
  • Wagnon, Jim. Education manager at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. Personal interview. (May 12, 2011).
  • Woodbury, Nolan. Co-founder of Vintage Motorcycles Online. Personal correspondence. (May 18, 2011).


Behind the Scenes at Supercross

Behind the Scenes at Supercross

What does it take to put on Supercross, one of fastest, high-flying motorcycle races in the world? HowStuffWorks goes there to find out.