Move over eBay. Take a back seat Cycletrader. Motoauct is taking the sting and hassle out of buying and selling old and classic bikes.
Started by two guys named Jason (Jason Delacroix and JasonWilliams), Motoauct bills itself as the “world’s first online vintage motorcycle auction.” But that simple description belies the inherent difficulty in starting any business, and the passion Jason Delacroix has for old bikes.
“I’ve been collecting and restoring motorcycles for over 20 years. Until then, I really didn’t have much experience other than riding dirt bikes owned by other kids in the neighborhood. My parents wouldn’t let me own one.”
Once he was able, Jason bought his first bike off of Craigslist. A 1963 Honda Dream. He got running then rode it to a friend’s house. They eventually started a club called Midnight Restorations.
“We’d work on the bikes in the back of a brewery. Then that small group of guys grew as strangers started bringing their bikes for us to work on.”
As Jason’s technical expertise expanded, that led him to open his own car repair shop. But while his employees worked on cars and trucks, Jason continued to mostly work on bikes. That not only satiated his love of old bikes and the satisfaction of bringing them back to life, it also solved another personal dilemma.
“I have horrible short term gratification issues. My wife doesn’t even know how many bikes I really have.”
The impetus for Motoauct came out of a visit to a Bonhams motorcycle auction. While he and Jason (Williams) were walking through the show area and flipping through the catalog, they were adding up how much money was going to be passed through that one event. They wanted in on the action. But they saw room for improvement.
Why not put the auctions online, focus just on classic and vintage bikes, and build a community component into the process? Decidedly not the eBay or Cycletrader models.
Here’s how Motoauct works. Your bike has to be 25 years or older. Take some nice shots to show off how great it looks, write up a thorough description, then set a realistic price. Once it goes live, each auction runs for seven days. But while that might sound like an eBay model, here’s where that diverges. Motoauct lets the community of experienced motorcycle enthusiasts validate the bike’s condition and correctness. The auction ends when the time runs out.
If a bike has a reserve price, it’s advertised as such, although sellers are discouraged from noting the amount.
Motoauct charges a $98.00 listing fee and tacks on a 6 percent commission to the final price. Potential bidders must register a current credit card to be sure some form of payment is on record to discourage people from bidding and not paying. The seller and winning bidder are given each other’s contact information allowing them to work out payment and shipping options on their own. Keeping it simple for everyone.
Reaction, so far, has been positive. Jason said they did what he calls a soft, soft launch at the Quail Lodge Motorcycle Gathering in May 2017, then had a more significant effort at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, Calif in November.
He pointed out that while traffic to the site has been solid – 300 to 400 hits a day – they’ve only sold a couple of units so far. But a quick look at the site and you’ll see this isn’t a typical listing of eBay finds. It’s an eclectic mix. From a 1982 Gold Wing to a 1971 Yamaha DS7 to a 1966 Norton Atlas 750.
“This is exactly what we envisioned when we started the site. A platform that makes things easy for buyers and sellers while encouraging community and interaction among vintage motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the world.”
That vision has yet to become self-sustaining. Both Jasons are keeping their day jobs – Jason D. managing a microbrewery and Jason W. in medical sales. But given the growing popularity of older bikes and the retro look of newer bikes, that’s a situation that may not last for long.
“The important part is that our member base is growing exponentially. The point of critical mass is hopefully soon, when those members are converted into participants on Motoauct.”
Given how passionate Jason is about this project and the bikes he sees come to life on the site, that day may happen sooner than later.
Jason with one of his own project bikes - a 1975 Norton Commando MK3.