Top 5 Most Expensive Harleys
If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you’ve spent your fair share of late nights on the internet swooning over the hottest bikes. Rare, vintage, special edition and custom bikes are every rider’s dream.
So, if you like to window shop, you’re in for a treat. We’ve compiled a list of the most badass, expensive Harleys ever built. Continue reading below to find out which bike is number one!
5. 1936 EL Knucklehead
According to Harley-Davidson, this beauty was released in 1936. Its official name was the EL. It later got the nickname “knucklehead” due to the shape of its rocker boxes. They resembled knuckles on a clenched fist.
At the time, this engine was considered to be an advanced piece of machinery. It had a circulating oil system, an overhead valve and a displacement of 61 cubic inches.
It also had more horsepower than previous models. As a result, it was marketed as a sportbike.
Harley also took risks when it came to its design. They chose to go with bolder style choices than previous releases.
One of the most popular paint jobs on the EL Knucklehead was royal blue with pastel yellow accents. It featured a yellow and red graphic on the gas tank and fully flared front and rear fenders.
The Knucklehead also featured wire-wheels with white walls, which beautifully contrasted its black tires.
This bike is quite rare. Not only is it nearing 100 years old, but it was also the first Harley built with the knucklehead engine.
According to NADAguides, the current value of a 1936 EL Knucklehead in excellent condition is $100,000!
Want to know how much your motorcycle is worth? Check out this resource in which we give you step-by-step guidance on how to best price your motorcycle using NADAguides.
4. 1909 Model 5-D Twin
This bike is one of the most beloved Harleys of all time. The 1909 5-D Model Twin is recognized as the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle to feature the V-twin engine.
The 45-degree, air-cooled V-twin engine would become one of the most iconic features on future H-D models.
The 1909 Model 5-D had a 49.5 cubic-inch engine and horsepower of seven. In fact, this motorcycle more closely resembled a bicycle than motorcycles, as we know them today.
Early motorcycles looked more like bicycles with engines. Many of the early American models even still had pedals.
One of the most recognizable versions of the Harley 5-D had a cream paint job, white tires and crimson accents.
The Model 5-D is extremely rare. According to Harley-Davison, only 27 were made.
Today, this motorcycle is worth $400,000!
Want to learn more about vintage bikes? Check out our blog post on the history of Harley-Davidson!
3. The Blue Edition
According to Harley-Davidson, this blue beauty was created for Swiss watch company Carl F. Bucherer in celebration of its 130th business anniversary.
Its design was a collaboration between Bündnerbike custom motorcycle experts and Carl F. Bucherer watchmakers and jewelers. It took over a year for this team of professionals to design and construct it.
The base of this custom build is a 2017 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim. Many of the bike’s custom parts were made by hand, which included handmade bolts and a hand-stitched saddle.
This ride has beautiful gold plating, diamonds and precious rings incorporated to the handlebar grips.
It also has a special version of the Bucherer Patravi TravelTec II timepiece on the right side of the tank. And, the cherry on top is the 5.4-carat six-prong solitaire diamond ring on the left!
The Blue Edition is worth a whopping $1.9 million!
2. Cosmic Starship
This motorcycle is a true work of art. The Cosmic Starship is a Harley-Davidson V-Rod with, perhaps, the best paint job of all time.
The V-Rod is one of the most uniquely designed Harleys, which made it one heck of a canvas. Artist Jack Armstrong took this motorcycle masterpiece and turned it into abstract fine art.
Armstrong is a painter. He created an art style called “cosmic extensionalism.” This is the style in which he painted the V-Rod. The Cosmic Starship and two paintings formed his art triptych (three-part art piece).
During his career Armstrong had the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists, such as Warhol, Basquiat and Keith Haring.
According to the Cosmic Starship website, this bike is “the first and most iconic motorcycle to have ever been painted by an artist.” But, does the price reflect this high claim?
In 2012, Armstrong sold the Cosmic Starship for $3 million dollars! And, the price is expected to increase over time.
The current owners of the motorcycle have acquired all three pieces of the Armstrong cosmic extensionalism triptych. The Cosmic Starship and the two additional pieces are for sale for $15 million dollars!
1. The Captain America
One of the best motorcycle movies of all time is Easy Rider. This film made its debut on July 14, 1969. Last year marked its 50th anniversary!
Easy Rider starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. In the film, the duo embarks on a journey from Los Angeles to New Orleans on two badass choppers. According to Harley-Davidson, these bikes were hand-built and designed by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy.
Fonda rode the most adored motorcycle in the film. It was dubbed the “Captain America” due to its iconic American flag paint job.
Sadly, the bike was partially destroyed in the making of the movie. And, the other motorcycles used in the film were stolen before its release.
Although, the auction house that claims to own the bike says it was later rebuilt by Dan Haggerty.
In 2014, the auction house’s acquisition manager, Brian Chanes, stated that the Captain America motorcycle was worth $1 to $1.2 million dollars!
However, Harley-Davidson states that none of the original bikes used in the film exist today. The company has a replica of the “Captain America” on display in the Harley-Davidson Museum.
For many years, people were unaware of the craftsmen behind the making of the two iconic bikes featured in the film. Many say Vaughs and Hardy did not receive the recognition they deserved.
According to NPR, documentaries on the production of the Easy Rider, 1995’s Born To Be Wild and 1999’s Easy Rider: Shaking The Cage, never even mentioned their names.
It’s speculated that due to racial inequality at the time, the two were not given proper credit for creating the bikes that were described to have popularized American choppers throughout the world.
On the bright side, the hard work and ingenuity of the two are being brought to the light.
All of the motorcycles listed above were labors of love. So much hard work and dedication goes into building and designing a bike that is unique and special enough to be adored by all.
Do you think these bikes are worth their price tags? Let us know your thoughts below!