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Antique, Vintage, and Historic Motorcycle Parts

Motorcycles have been in production since the early 1890s, quickly spreading all over Europe and into the US. Triumph, Indian, and Harley Davidson are among some of the first companies to mass-produce motorcycles for public use, kick-starting a pastime that would ignite a lasting passion for riding and biker culture. As such, the nostalgia and historical appeal of vintage motorcycles drives a need for the parts enthusiasts require to restore them, customize them, and keep them running.

What is the difference between antique, vintage, and historic?

Most things designated as "antiques" are at least 100 years old, but antique motorcycles, due to the age of the technology itself, only have to be 35 years or older to have that title. Vintage is a term that is applied loosely and implies a style that is at least 20 years old, typically. "Historic" is a registration type that you can file when registering your motorcycle. The exact designation varies by state in the US, but a historic registration is typically granted to vehicles that are 20-30 years old.

What are other uses for vintage motorcycle parts?

Vintage motorcycle parts are primarily used to restore vintage motorcycles, but the increased popularity of both vintage and industrial elements in art and interior decor have given these parts new places to shine. Additionally, the rise in steampunk fiction has also seen new life given to old items. Gears, springs, wheels, and other parts are used by crafters and designers to create fantastical light fixtures, wall installations, and furniture embellishments.

What qualifies as a classic motorcycle?

Classic is both an indicator of age and style. Classic motorcycles are at least considered vintage by their years but must also adhere to a simple aesthetic. They reflect a spare and utilitarian yet elegant styling that is the hallmark of post World War II. They are less about customization, overt flashiness, and speed and more about a respectful nod to the past. Parts sought out for classic bikes replicate exactly the original stock parts, including finish and function.

Is it possible to customize vintage motorcycles?

Almost any bike can be customized to fit your particular preferences in regards to looks and performance with aftermarket parts. The older the motorcycle, the less likely you will be able to retrofit it for performance enhancements. However, in the realm of style, there are several options. Harley Davidson motorcycles are well known for their ability to be customized due to their enduring popularity and the bike culture that has built up around them. Shovelheads, Panheads, and Knuckleheads are favorites for those who like to create custom motorcycles from vintage bikes. Indian motorcycles are also very popular for this purpose with parts widely available from both aftermarket manufacturers, enthusiasts, and collectors.