Over the years many messages have arrived asking something like:Hi Mark,Unfortunately there is no universal reply. A wide range of variables determine the value of a motorcycle - model, year, completeness, mechanical condition, cosmetic condition, originality, location, history, and documentation are just a few. Greeves ARE rare! While Greeves rarity makes them "valuable" the market is fairly small and establishing a fair value is somewhat challenging.
I've recently acquired a Greeves motorcycle (from relative, neighbor, friend, garage sale, etc.). I know nothing about the motorcycle; however, I have been told that Greeves are quite rare and valuable. I would like to sell the motorcycle. Can you tell me what it is worth?
New Greeves Owner
I "acquired" most of my Greeves from the same owner. We met while I was looking for a vintage bike (a BMW R69s) and evolved into good friends. I appreciated the Greeves quirkiness - innovative and mechanically sophisticated where needed and down right utilitarian everywhere else. He acquired the Greeves while a Greeves dealer, rider, and desert racer and the bikes had as much sentimental as monitory value. He wanted them to "go to a good home". Our negotiated fair value was probably lower than market value. My story is somewhat unique.
As much as I hate to say it. Web auctions are probably your best bet to buy or sell a Greeves today. The internet auctions have definitely expanded the Greeves market, bringing together a much larger group of potential buyers and sellers. With the expanded market, establishing a fair value is automatic - put the item up for sale and the bidders establish the market price. I personally have never bought or sold anything over the internet, but it works for lots of people.
If you have a bike for sale go ahead and contact me. I'll be happy to help you identify the bike and exchange information. If you ask I'll even let you know what I think a fair market price would be. Please don't be offended if my fair price is less than what you are expecting for your "valuable" Greeves. To make the process easier send as much information as possible - pictures, history, ID number, location, etc. Also, let me know if you are looking to buy a Greeves, I frequently pass along tips between potential buyers and sellers.
I'm ever optimistic that someone will e-mail me about a Greeves they want to "go to a good home" (at a reasonable price, of course - preferably free). Unfortunately, this has only occurred once. :-) By all means let me know if you have a Greeves that you want to "go to a good home".
Note: Below are a few observation about Greeves owners. This section was written several years ago before the internet auction paradigm shift. You may find it entertaining in any case.
Mark Hanna, The Unintentional Greeves Collector
You can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
FINDING A BUYER
Greeves owners can be classified in there basic categories - Accidental, Racer/Rider, and Collector. The accidental owner knows very little about his Greeves. He acquired the bike from a relative, neighbor, friend, garage sale, etc. Generally, the accidental owner has not started his bike. He may not know much about the bike, but he does know that his "Greeves is quite rare and valuable." Being an accidental owner is not necessarily a bad thing. Many Greeves owners start this way, including me, and have have grown to love their unique vintage machines. Obviously, accidental owners are not going to pay out big bucks.
The Racer/Rider is by far the most prevalent Greeves owner. These owners are well educated about their machines. Often they have owned Greeves since they were sold new in dealerships and are expert mechanics. The Racer/Rider is interested in using the bike as it was intend - ridden hard and fast. Mechanical condition is by far the most important consideration. If the seller's bike is not running, he can forget getting a good price from these knowledgeable owners. Greeves left unattended for long periods have a nasty predisposition to engine seizure due to crank pitting. Greeves engines use caged roller bearings running directly on the crankshaft. If condensation has damaged the crank bearing surface, the entire crankshaft must be replaced - $1,200+ in parts alone. Ouch! Racer/Riders are CHEAP. They usually have a network of fellow Greeves owners and have ready access to good mechanically sound bikes. For example, many of these Racers/Riders are members of AHRMA and actively compete in local and national vintage motorcycle races where there is ample opportunity to network with other owners.
Collectors, the holy grail of Greeves sellers, are few and far between. I personally only know of one. Collectors are concerned that the bike be "original", in great cosmetic condition, and unrestored. They also want a detailed history of the bike - previous owners, races entered, documentation, etc. A juicy history may make up for use, but the history and condition must be consistent. If the seller's Greeves is not in outstanding condition with a well documented history, forget about getting the big bucks from the collector. To reach these owners the seller will probably need to take the bike to vintage motorcycle shows, auctions, races, etc.