Harley Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts are some of the most loyal bikers and collectors on earth. They refuse to buy or ride anything but a Harley and will sport the logo on their clothes and own all kinds of Harley paraphernalia. Several Harley museums and stores are dedicated to Harley stuff of all kinds. Adding an antique Harley to your collection will make you the hero of any Harley community.
1. Research the options and what it will costs you to buy a certain kind of antique Harley before you begin your search. Decide if you want a 1946 Chief, a 1957 Sportster or a coveted 1946 Panhead. Once you have narrowed down your options, it will be easier to begin your search.
2. Call the owner of the bike and get as much information as you can before making the trip to look at it. Because of the rarity of HD bikes in good condition and the demand, you may have to travel to find what you are looking for. Ask the owner for pictures and, if possible, a history of who owned the bike and how it was used.
3. Look over the bike carefully in person. Check the oil and transmission fluid levels, and also inspect the engine. Ask the owner to start the bike (if it runs) and listen for any unusual sounds. Look for any damage from past accidents, especially on the front end, since repair work can only cover up so much.
4. Go on a test drive, if the Harley is in working shape. Note any irregularities in ride, alignment or other areas. Check the brake and clutch for any excessive wear. Consider asking a qualified Harley mechanic to assess the bike’s condition, or bring some friends with experience in buying used bikes with you.
5. Take notes on any issues with the bike and include them in your price negotiations. Make sure you get the title and maintenance records from the owner, if you do purchase the bike. Look over all the documents to ascertain that everything is in order.
6. Consider restoring an antique Harley so you can show it off on the road. You will widen your options if you look for a bike that needs work to run or has been left to corrode and age.
7. Make an investment of your purchase by fixing and restoring any parts not in good shape. Unlike other antiques, a Harley Davidson motorcycle increases in value if it has been restored with original parts.