For those of you who don’t know the Classified Moto story, it’s hard to understand just how much we’re living the dream. When I get up every day to start my to-do list, I feel like I’ve won some sort of lottery. Granted there are off days, as with any other occupation, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between. And the fact that we have been overwhelmed with bike orders is both humbling and awesome in the most deluxe way.
A while back we shut down our Build Request Queue reluctantly to get a handle on the 15 or so bikes we had on our plate. Monday (2/18) at midnight, we’re cranking the request line back up. Yes, we have made great progress on current projects, but mostly, I just can’t deal with turning customers away anymore, lest they decide they’d rather have a Harley or a new Corvette or flying lessons or a home theater or a vacation in the tropics…
So, if you — like Phil Collins — have been waiting for this moment all your life, then read on. This post is intended to lay out the process and answer some of your burning questions so you’ll be ready to pounce when we go live in just 12 hours. We will only be taking on eight to 10 builds for this next round, depending on the types of projects we book.
PRICING: We have developed a loose but effective structure for pricing our builds based on the level of complexity involved. We have four Build Levels — Level 1 being the least complex (generally) and Level 4 being the most. Obviously there are many factors in determining price, but our ballpark range historically (and recently) has been about $7,500 to $17,000 USD. We still believe we can build a Level 1 for as little as $6,000 but customers generally gravitate towards upgrades. So do we.
THINGS THAT AFFECT PRICING: There’s a lot of good info contained in the Build Request listing in our online store. Please look it over for starters. Some of it is worth repeating here. Our approach to customizing bikes focuses primarily on using unexpected platforms that in and of themselves aren’t rare or exotic. Generally that translates to using a “cheap” bike to begin the process. That way you’re paying for the work and components that make a bike Classified (as opposed to all your money going into the base bike with none left over to customize.)
Our successful formula is to purchase the platform bike and have it in good running condition for $1,200. Then start the process of Classifying it. The funny thing is that bikes like the Virago which used to be plentiful are becoming sought after for customization. Hmmmm.
Anyway, there are still plenty of bikes out there to be had at bargain prices, but the price of the platform bike definitely affects the overall build price. That said, all of the ballpark prices we give include purchasing the bike.
This brings us to customer-supplied bikes. We give a credit if you supply a good working bike to begin the build (generally $1,200 for Level 2-4 bikes and slightly more for Level 1 builds). This assumes that the bike needs nothing before we can start modifying it. Example: You have a nice, running, mechanically sound 1978 XS750 to use for a Level 2 build. We would credit you $1,200 towards the going rate of around $9,000. Technically, it works the same for a ’52 Vincent Black Lightning — $1,200 if it’s a good runner, less if it’s not. The important thing here is to free your mind of thoughts that we might pay you the value of an exotic bike that we’re building out for you. You might sense that I’ve run into this expectation before!
Big ticket items that can drive the price of your project up include custom stainless exhausts, custom tanks, major engine work (performance machining, etc.), high end aftermarket component requests (think Ohlins forks, certain wheels, etc.), intricate/commissioned paintwork and the like.
It’s mostly common sense, but of course there’s room for discussion and interpretation. Feel free to email me with questions before you purchase your build request.
PROCESS AND PAYMENTS: Once you have absorbed all the info you can about Classified Moto and our type of work, and you have a pretty good idea of the price range you’re entertaining, you can take the plunge and order the Build Request. This is a $250 item in our online store and basically acts as a good faith gesture that you are a serious buyer. The fee reserves your chronological place in the queue and kicks off the rendering and final estimating process. It also includes a large printout of your rendering complete with handwritten notes about your build. The $250 fee is then applied to your overall build cost. If you decide not to go through with the build, the fee is not refunded.
Once you’re in the queue, we begin more specific conversations about your build, including timing, components, special considerations and payment/delivery schedule. From these discussions, we will develop and refine a rendering which will serve as the touchstone for the build. Deviations from the final rendering are common based on suggestions by both parties, but generally require adjustments to the budget.
We have had great luck with the following payment structure. Once we have settled on a direction, the buyer makes an initial payment to cover the purchase of the platform bike (if not supplied by the customer). This amount is usually based on a range of actual listings (Craigslist, eBay, etc.) and paid upfront so we can move quickly to get the best bike.
After this initial payment, the balance of the build costs are divided into three equal payments spaced evenly over the course of the project. The final payment is due upon delivery. The nice thing is that you can set your own target delivery date to suit your comfort level from five to 12 months. Prices do not include shipping. We do ship internationally, but rely on our international customers to research their country’s requirements regarding delivery. We will assist in any way we can, but ultimately the buyer is responsible for making arrangements.
Please note that the target timeline begins when we have settled on a direction and the final estimate is approved (not from the time you purchase the Build Request). We’ll do our best to nail down a direction within 90 days of purchasing the build request. Bear in mind that the build request is essentially a waiting list and sometimes it’s a little heavier on the ‘waiting’ part. If you are in a tremendous hurry for your new Classified Moto, then contact us before reserving your spot.
That’s all I can manage to spout about this subject for now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Email me with questions and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP — firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned. There’s always something happening lately, including some big news. —JR
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