What’s The Difference Between Classic, Antique And Vintage Motorcycles?

classic motorcycle

Motorcycles come in various genres and it can be difficult to keep up as there are a lot. You have the classics, modern classics, vintage, naked, retro, UJM, antiques, and many others. For today, we are going to focus on older motorcycles. Those that are different from the modern-day and high-tech motorcycles of today. Let’s take a closer look at the classics, antiques, and vintage motorcycles.  

Although these three may seem the same for some, there are still some differences. However, some may interchange the terms as there is really no standard classifying whether a motorcycle falls in the classic, antique or vintage category. Nevertheless, such information found below are still good to know as a motorcycle enthusiast. 

Defining Classic, Antique And Vintage

Those in the United Kingdom have a more specific definition of the three terms used for motorcycles. It is based on the year that the motorcycle was created. Additionally, they also use the term “veteran” for the motorcycles that were built before 1915. Those that were built after Jan 1, 1915 are those that were called vintage motorcycles. 

Contrary to the clearer definition the UK has, those in the US don’t really clearly define motorcycles as classic, antique or vintage. The terms are used interchangeably and that causes confusion. The main reason for knowing in which category your motorcycle falls into is due to insurance. 

The Classic Motorcycle

Calling a motorcycle a classic may not only refer to the age of the motorcycle. Some even call a new and modern motorcycle a classic because of how it looks or due to the style. Classic motorcycles are simple. They could have a two-cylinder engine, double support on the rear wheels and single headlights. When motorcycles already have liquid cooling, fairings or cast wheels, they are likely not to be called classics anymore. 

However, motorcycle enthusiasts have a general consensus that the motorcycles with an age of over 25 could be considered as a classic. These classic motorcycles also look traditional and simple. An example of a classic motorcycle is the Triumph Bonneville.

The Vintage Motorcycle

The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association has the only official designation of what a vintage motorcycle is. However, it designates vintage motorcycles into two more different kinds depending on what racing type the bike is used for. Those that are used for motocross and built before 1975 are defined as vintage. Additionally, those that were built after 1975 but are used for road racing are also defined as vintage motorcycles. 

When it comes to insurance, some insurance companies may use the terms classic and vintage interchangeably. In some insurance providers, a classic motorcycle that has been customized a lot would be considered as vintage. 

The Antique Motorcycle

In the U.S, an antique motorcycle is defined as one that is 35 years or older. However, there are still states in the US that allow registration or licensing of motorcycles as antiques when those are 20 years and older. This is the reason why antique motorcycles are still not clearly defined. 

To further add to the confusion, there are also some states that categorize motorcycles as historical. They’d be registered or licensed as such when it reaches a certain age and is considered as a collector’s item. If it falls under this category, it is only used for parades, car shows or historical club activities. 

Motorcycle License And Insurance

The category in which your old motorcycle falls into can vary from one state to another. However,  it is still best to have your motorcycle licensed and insured. These are must haves before you take a ride with it because you are using public highways and roads. Not having them licensed and insured is illegal whether you are riding it everyday or once a year. 

You should also remember that not all insurance providers will have policies for classic, vintage or antique motorcycles. However, that doesn’t mean you should just go for the ones who offer them. Control your itch to ride your motorcycle immediately in the open road. 

We understand how exciting it feels to hop on your classic, vintage, or antique motorcycle and go around with it. Don’t just get insured just for the sake of getting insured. Learn to compare what various insurance companies have to offer. Once your motorcycle is licensed and insured, don’t forget to ride safely.

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