TOM WHITE’S TEN MOST COLLECTIBLE MOTOCROSS BIKES: NUMBER TEN

 

T0P-10-CLASSIC-MX-BIKESBy Tom White

What’s so special about these early motocross bikes? First, let’s consider that the sport of motocross is only 49 years old in America. In the fall of 1966, Edison Dye first brought motocross to America. He brought over World Champion Torsten Hallman to showcase the Husqvarnas that Mr. Dye hoped to sell “lots of.” During the seven-race series, the best American “scrambles” riders were invited to race against Torsten, who won 23 straight motos, often lapping the field on tracks that he had to design himself. Ever the promoter, Edison Dye, brought over seven Europeans in 1967, including Hallman, Roger DeCoster and Joel Robert, to compete in the first Inter-Am series. Dye’s Barnum-and-Bailey promotions worked. America went motocross wild.

Not only were Husqvarnas selling like hotcakes, but other brands like Greeves, CZ, Bultaco, Ossa, BSA and Maico were flying out the showroom doors. Each brand had its own approach to building the best possible machine for a motocross track. Most had two-stroke engines, but everything else on the bikes was totally unique. This was the golden age of motocross development.

Today, the 40- to 60-year-old group that was around at the beginning of the sport is paying ridiculous prices for the bikes of their youth—or the bikes they dreamed of owning in their youth. With high-profile motorcycle auctions, classic bike shows and eBay hawking every old bike on the planet, investors are not just snapping up the best bikes, they are also raising the prices of the “not best” bikes at the same time. I know this firsthand, because my museum, The Early Years of Motocross Museum, has over 140 of these machines, hundreds of posters, and walls covered with memorabilia from the earliest years of our sport. The majority of the motorcycles in my collection were manufactured between 1965 and 1974. I consider these years the most collectible because of the lower production numbers and the uniqueness of each brand.

If you want to be a collector, I’m here to help. Here is my list of the top 10 most collectible motocross machines. These aren’t necessarily the 10 most expensive classic bikes you can buy, but they are the foundation of a great collection. I have included the approximate value of each machine, but condition and provenance can raise or lower the prices significantly. This is number 10 on my list.

NUMBER 10: 1968 BSA B44 METISSE 500

The Rickman Metisse frame was the state-of-the-art chassis in the 1960s. The Rickman brothers were both GP riders and knew exactly what they wanted out of a chassis.The BSA B44 engine, with its Westlake top end, was arguably the lightest and most powerful engine available.

To this day, in AHRMA events, several competitors prefer this motorcycle because of its tractable power, light weight (for a four-stroke) and precise handling. Estimated value: $14,000.

 

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