10 Vintage Motorcycle Brands



If one of the factors that makes a vintage motorcycle collectible is what famous people are associated with it, then it's no surprise that Triumph is high on the list. A British manufacturer, Triumph was a bike of choice by ultra-cool icons James Dean, Steve McQueen and Bob Dylan [source: Cerilli]. The fact that such prominent cultural figures were associated with Triumph motorcycles in the 1950s and '60s is a big reason the bikes are attractive to people today, especially those who were kids then and couldn't possibly have afforded one. "The nostalgia buyers are baby boomers looking to buy either what they gave up as a youth or could never have afforded in their youth, and the top-seller there is Triumph motorcycles, ranging from 1959 to 1970," says California-based Lorin Guy, who has been a principal organizer of numerous prominent motorcycle shows around the country.

One of the most popular Triumph motorcycles is the Bonneville, which were lightweight and known for their excellent handling. That said, by the mid-1970s the brand had largely lost its luster. "I was at a motorcycle magazine and we had a new Bonneville come in at the time and they were pretty archaic, especially compared to the Japanese bikes," says John L. Stein, a long time automotive journalist and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles." "It was two different planets."

Keep reading to meet the king of the road.