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#33046 - 01/30/08 4:53 pm BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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wallyc Offline
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Oakland, CA USA
I am looking into a "restored" BSA rocket three. The asking price is 12k. There have been a couple of R3's on eBay, one did not sell for apx 6,400, the other is back as a buy it now for 8,400. What is the value (investment or otherwise) of these bikes? Is a restored model (probably not concourse, but very close)worth as an investment 12k? The shipping alone to get the bike to me would be roughly 1,500.00 I am interested in purchasing, but need to know if I can expect the value to be in the bike. I look at these types of purchases more now than ever as investments since I have two young children, and live in CALI where the market is poor at best. I always consider worst case scenario -fire sale price - for my assets. Any advice - realistic comparisons to past sales? thanks a bunch


55 road rocket
58 super rocket
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67 victor ss
67 spitfire mk 3
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#33047 - 01/30/08 5:21 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Britbodger R.I.P. Offline
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Houston Texas
Price seems very high to me. I would have thought maximum $6-7000 for a fully restored one. A few years ago they brought much less in the USA but for some reason their value seems to have a appreciated a lot recently. They seem quite sought after in Australia and New Zealand. I think it has something to do with the culture in the different countries. The triples are complicated compared with the twins and seems like there are not many shops who are willing to work on them in the USA.

Having said all that, I don't think that they are all that difficult to work on once you get to know them and accept that they have more parts than a twin. And once sorted they are an absolutely a delight to ride in my humble opinion. Worthwhile improvements include first and foremost a 5-speed (expensive to buy but very easy to retro-ft), electronic ignition and other minor components. I've gone beyond that by retrofitting with 3 into 1 header and sintered bronze clutch plate (works great)

BTW Is it a Mk I or II? The Mk II fetches more money although I'm one of the few who prefer the Mk I. Don't like the Vetter version but thats just me. Oops! Just re-read the post title - see that its a Mk I.

My beerchug

P.S. I can post (re-post) a photo of mine if interested laugh .

#33048 - 01/30/08 5:38 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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North Georgia, USA
Wally -
1) At $12K, the "investment" is all for the seller, not the buyer. That's a REALLY high price and it would have to come with some very special documentation or serial numbers before I'd pay anything like that. In my experience, these machine's prices lag behind the twins, so a lovely example (9 of 10) would fetch about half that.

2) The 3-cyl machines have a limited, but granted very vocal, base of fans. It's one of those machines you either love or hate, there doesn't seem to be any middle position. The most vocal of the lot are cafe riders, who could care less about "stock" or "restored" and more about the HP. So there's no appeal to 80% of your potential buyer base.

3) These are not simply twins with another cylinder. They can be extremely hard to work on and very touchy. Since you've not expressed any previous experience with 3-cyl machines, then I would say beware. About the only thing in common with your twin is your helmet and gloves. bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#33049 - 01/30/08 5:51 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Houston Texas
Quote:
About the only thing in common with your twin is your helmet and gloves.
And oil leaks except more of em like 3/2= 1.1/2 times as many laugh

Think have most of them cured on my R3 though with copper rocker box gaskets and correct assembly of them infamous pushrod tubes.

My further 2c

#33050 - 01/30/08 6:29 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Ghost Offline
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The Planet - Zongo
If you have more money than sense, go ahead and blow a chunk of your childrens inheritance.

If your kids are like anyone else's, they won't know how to appreciate the magnificience of a BSA. For them it is just Dad's old toy that took up space in the garage where they should have been allowed to park their electric scooter.

#33051 - 01/30/08 6:40 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Houston Texas
Very wise words from planet Zongo :rolleyes: laugh

#33052 - 01/30/08 6:44 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Seattle
I guess the corollary is: Do you have the money? What are you saving it for? Do you want the bike? Will you be able to find another one like it?

I've seen advertised prices over $10K for concourse R3's. There was even that one that had something like 30 miles on it that went for twice that. They seem to go for over 6K pounds in the UK for nice ones. I wonder, though, why you would need to get one from overseas if they seem to be more common here...


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#33053 - 01/30/08 8:28 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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johnm Online content
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I think the reason Rocket 3 are sought after down here is that they are very rare in NZ at least.

Someone may correct me but I think Im right in saying the BSA 111 was never sold over the counter in NZ. Tridents were very common but not the BSA.

So I think all are imports mainly from the State.

Another reason may be that now there are now several very fast Rocket 111s in NZ open classic racing now. Generally they are the bike that wins.

That said US$ 12 k is NZ$ 16 k and that is a lot of money. It would have to be something special with a good history to get that sort of money.

#33054 - 01/30/08 8:37 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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wallyc Offline
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I am in Cali, and the bike is on the east coast, in Canada. I had a suspicion that the price was pretty high, but I think I can see from the posts that this would have to be in almost perfect condition with an exceptional documented history. I simply thought, as most people do at times, that I could have my cake and eat it too -in other words - ride the bike for a bit here and there, keeping it stored inside and maintained, and if I get tired of it, or get in a cash crunch, possible profit, as I have with cars and other motorcycles, etc. Does anyone think that the following bike is worth the money? http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120216919742
I really wanted to feel the extra power from the triple, as I rode my friends rocket three several years ago, and man, was it a blast to ride - felt like a very strong and responsive machine.....thanks again guys!!!!


55 road rocket
58 super rocket
39 m20
67 victor ss
67 spitfire mk 3
65 l rocket
65 t rocket
#33056 - 01/31/08 3:17 am Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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there are better deals around. post your question over at www.triplesoline.com

#33057 - 01/31/08 5:31 am Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Rick Willmore Offline
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New Zealand
12000 seems like an awful lot of US dollars for a Mk1 Rocket 3, however restored. Still its worth what a punter will pay.

Quote:
What is the value (investment or otherwise) of these bikes?
How long is a piece of string?

There is however, a specific formula worked out by some eminent investmant advisors, which states that the annual increase in the value of your BSA/Triumph Triple investment, is exactly 43.2% of the money, time and effort expended on it in that year.
This can also be simplified as the "$2000 Rule". This rule says that whatever triple you buy, no matter how 'restored' the previous owner says it is, you will immediately spend another $2000 on it. (NZ$ that is of course, so that would be US$1500)

In other words, as a financial investment it lags somewhere behind putting your cash in a plastic bag then burying it in the woods, or investing in sub-prime mortgages.

In saying that however if you really like it and you really want it, buy it. Ride the wheels off it, pull it apart every few months for minor maintenance and enjoy it. I bought my '69 Rocket 3 for what I thought was top dollar at the time, because I have wanted one for 33 years and now I've got one. They have been selling for a lot more since, but I have no interest at all in what it'll finally be worth to my benificiaries when I finally depart this world.

Its hard to put any definitive value on any model of bike, but down here good Mk1 R3'ss have been selling in NZ for the equivalent of about US$11-12K. Much as I love my '69 A75 they are 'rarish', not rare, and probably never destined to be worth as much as some real collectors item bikes. Mk11's are indeed more rare, only 1700 or so were built as opposed to approx 3500 Mk 1's. The 203 genuine 5 speed '71 A75V's and A75RV's are rarer again, and I know of one unrestored but original, A75RV that just changed hands in NZ for considerably more than that '69 you are looking at.

Johnm says
Quote:
Someone may correct me but I think Im right in saying the BSA 111 was never sold over the counter in NZ.
Hey John, Sorry to be that guy, but there were 8 sold new here from memory, I have read Colemans import records, which John Cochrane from the BSAOC has.

Bantam Menace says
Quote:
all you need is it to blow big style and it give you a lovely glossy rear tyre.
Bantam, I'm not so sure that that's just a triple problem. As long as those stupid motorcycle designers keep putting the engine directly in front of the back wheel, that's going to be a huge risk. Unless you have a pre-mix 2 stroke of course.

cheers
Rick


'71 BSA Firebird/Lightning
'03 BMW R1150R Rockster
'76 Montesa 348 'Malcolm Rathmell' Cota
#33058 - 01/31/08 6:38 am Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Kevin (NZ). Offline
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Kevin (NZ).  Offline
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Christchurch, NZ
Canadian Rocket III



For Sale: BSA Rocket 3 1969
I have a 99.9% all original restoration. rebuilt motor, trans & clutch. Everything works very well and bike got 0 miles. Matching numbers. Asking $12,000 Canadian. Bike is located in Montréal, Québec.
More pictures available on requested. You can contact me at: vitara02@gmail.com


Why, Y, Dash Y..



#33059 - 01/31/08 2:11 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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D.W.R. Online content
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Winston-Salem N.C.
Unless it's a truly "rare" model, don't ever let "investment value" inter your mind when looking at any Brit bike. My 71 R3 has at least doubled in value since I bought 6 years ago, I'm only "a little " in the hole now after what I've spent on it! Next year, it could tumble to a BIG loss. As Bodger said, they need "improvements" to be a nice road bike. They can be darned nice if set-up properly, I love mine! Which brings us to why you buy a triple, because you just "gotta have one". High dollor Brits are seldom gonna return anything later, you got to "ride the value" back out of them!
Don R.


Some old BSAs
#33060 - 01/31/08 2:34 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Valk Offline
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Bethesda, MD
check out the one at Michaels's - http://www.michaelsmotorcycles.com/ - world's best??
Peter


'56 Road Rocket
'66 Lightningbolt
'98 Valk
#33061 - 01/31/08 3:51 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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wallyc Offline
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Oakland, CA USA
kevin from new zealand found the bike I am looking at.

Let me clarify. This has nothing to do with holding on to this or any other bike until I pass away. To be clear, If I had a medical emergency, or my kids needed braces, private school or something, I lost my job, the list goes on and on, then I would have to rid myself of some of my "toys." I am pretty comfortable with investment returns with other objects, and even other BSA's, property, etc, but want to know, from someone who looks at these as an investment, soley, if the bike will appreciate and when would the resale value catch up with the price I have to pay now for the machine. What is the possible "fire sale" value for this particular model? Thanks for the responses.


55 road rocket
58 super rocket
39 m20
67 victor ss
67 spitfire mk 3
65 l rocket
65 t rocket
#33062 - 01/31/08 5:29 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Lannis Online content
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Central Virginia
Quote:
Originally posted by wallyc:
etc, but want to know, from someone who looks at these as an investment, soley, if the bike will appreciate and when would the resale value catch up with the price I have to pay now for the machine. What is the possible "fire sale" value for this particular model? Thanks for the responses.
wallyc -

In 1987, you could buy a nice, drivable 6-cylinder XKE Jaguar roadster for about $15,000 in the USA.

About 1990, the value rocketed. By 1991, the same car that could have been bought for $15,000 would sell quickly for $75,000.

Around 1995, the value started falling, and around 1999 you could buy that same Jag for about $45,000.

Today, they've gone back up into the $100,000 range.

It's like asking "What would be a good company to buy shares in that will appreciate 10% a year for the next couple years?"

People can give you advice, but you have to weigh the ins and outs of it and decide what to do. Nobody who's going to answer actually KNOWS what it's going to do.

There COULD be a world-wide recession based on oil prices or something, and the RIII you pay $10,000 for today couldn't be given away at $3000 this time two years from now ....

One more example - nice rideable Panhead Harleys from the 50's were selling for $15,000 to $18,000 7 years ago (per my old Walnecks' from that time). They're the same price today ....

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#33063 - 01/31/08 5:32 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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RF Whatley Online content
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RF Whatley  Online Content
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North Georgia, USA
Wally -
Part of the definition of "investment" to me is that it can be made "liquid" within a reasonable time. I don't know of a 3-cyl that fits that description simply because the potential list of customers is so small. Personally, I would have a look at the closed auctions for similar machines on eBay AND the J Wood & Co. Add maybe 5-10% for future sales growth to those numbers and there you'll have it.

http://www.jwoodandcompany.com/

Another consideration is that a Rocket-3 needs a 5-speed gearbox to use all that HP, and then requires a front disc brake to keep you alive when you use that HP. So this bike, while eye-poppingly beautiful, is never going to be a dual purpose "investment" and "performer".

If you want a thrill from a 3-cyl, then look at the pre-2000 Hinckleys. Those 900cc triples can be had for under $3000, and with 3 discs and a mono-shock frame, you'll live to tell the story.

Just my 2 cents. bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#33064 - 01/31/08 5:44 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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leon bee Offline
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arkansas
I hope there aren't many here on this board who look at these bikes solely as an investment.

#33066 - 01/31/08 6:07 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Alex Offline
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Alex  Offline

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Seattle
Quote:
Originally posted by RF Whatley:

If you want a thrill from a 3-cyl, then look at the pre-2000 Hinckleys. Those 900cc triples can be had for under $3000, and with 3 discs and a mono-shock frame, you'll live to tell the story.
...and I'm sure prices on those will skyrocket soon, too. laughing


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#33067 - 01/31/08 8:17 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,395
johnm Online content
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New Zealand
"quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Someone may correct me but I think Im right in saying the BSA 111 was never sold over the counter in NZ.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey John, Sorry to be that guy, but there were 8 sold new here from memory, I have read Colemans import records, which John Cochrane from the BSAOC has. "

Hi Rick,

Thanks for that. You learn something every day!

And at that time I only lived a few km up the way from Colemans shop in Wanganui. They sure did keep them well hidden!

Thinking back my brother had a friend with an early Rocket 111. It was in Wanganui but I thought he had bought it back from Australia.

While I have aways been an AMC and Norton person I remember a photograph in a newspaper published when I was about 16 of a Rocket 111. I just couldn't imagine that anyone would ever have enough money to buy a machine like that. It seemed to belong to another world.

#33068 - 01/31/08 8:57 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Rick Willmore Offline
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New Zealand
Hey John,
It was Robert not John Cochrane has those records. all neatly printed out in an old exercise book. Very cool.
Most of those 8 Rocket 3s would have gone to customers throughout NZ I guess, and never would have made it to Colemans showroom.
I too, never thought anyone could afford to buy something so exotic, so when I could afford it I did.

Quote:
a Rocket-3 needs a 5-speed gearbox to use all that HP, and then requires a front disc brake to keep you alive when you use that HP.
My own opinion, whilst a Rocket 3 may benefit from both, it needs neither. Mine does have a 5 speed, which is notchy by comparison to the 4 speed.
Really what British bike wouldnt be improved by adding a disc. But would you do that? If you ride to the conditions its fine. The R3 would outbrake that new HD I had in the 90's incidentally.

Quote:
If you want a thrill from a 3-cyl, then look at the pre-2000 Hinckleys.
I bought one of these in 93, good bike too. It was very modern and functional, (read Japanese) but i sold it because it was just that bit bland, plasticy and non-descript. I couldnt learn to love it, or even think of a good reason to keep it after a couple of years.
Would I buy another one? If it was really, really cheap, yes.
Would I swap a crateload of them for my Rocket 3? Ahhhh no!

cheers
Rick


'71 BSA Firebird/Lightning
'03 BMW R1150R Rockster
'76 Montesa 348 'Malcolm Rathmell' Cota
#33069 - 01/31/08 11:19 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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wallyc Offline
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Oakland, CA USA
RF , thanks for the advice. You answered my question. Leon, I disagree, I hope there are many people here who might think of these things as investments; investing time, effort and energy to ride, give advice, etc. These are investments which should be considered seriously and treated as such. I would love to look at your financial planning and retirement portfolio - everything one owns could be considered an asset or a liability, albeit, some things are are reserved in a special misc category, just for fun. When I am considering spending that kind of money, it better not be akin to digging a hole and burying it in the back yard.
Thanks to all for the sound advise - I think I may put the purchase on hold and start looking locally and at swap meets, etc.


55 road rocket
58 super rocket
39 m20
67 victor ss
67 spitfire mk 3
65 l rocket
65 t rocket
#33070 - 01/31/08 11:51 pm Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Ghost Offline
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The Planet - Zongo
Out on the planet Zongo, we have a sub species called the 'collectors'. These folks gather about them great quantities of whatever tickles their fancy at the time. Motorcycles...exotic cars...herds of redheads...boats...airplanes...booze...all kinds of things. Then the heart attack hits or the anyurseum pops or the friendly federal IRS boys visit or the divorce papers are served.

Then all their expensive crap is sold off for ten cents on the dollar at the estate auction. From what I've seen here, it's much the same. And we laugh at their avarice and gawk in wonder at their accumulations.

In the meantime, those who limited their possessions to a reasonable level chug around the streets and fields enjoying a simpler and longer life, all the while serenading the damsels with hymns on the virtue of less can be more.

#33071 - 02/01/08 12:38 am Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Rick Willmore Offline
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New Zealand
Ghost, your a poet for sure.

Those redheads will pop an artery every time, usually best to cut just one from the herd.


'71 BSA Firebird/Lightning
'03 BMW R1150R Rockster
'76 Montesa 348 'Malcolm Rathmell' Cota
#33072 - 02/01/08 1:45 am Re: BSA 1969 Rocket Three Considerations for Purchase  
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Stuart Online content
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Scotland
Hi,

Quote:
Originally posted by wallyc:
start looking locally
I second the advice about Triples On line; also, if you contact Kim, the webmaster, he and a few other TOL regulars live in CA so might be able to give you local advice about prices, etc.

Hth.

Regards,

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