India is one of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world. Millions buy new bikes every year. But no buyer of a new bike matches the passion of the collectors who scour the internet and junkyards for classic two-wheelers from iconic brands like the Czech-made Jawa, which led to a,India is one of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world. Millions buy new bikes every year. But no buyer of a new bike matches the passion of the collectors who scour the internet and junkyards for classic two-wheelers from iconic brands like the Czech-made Jawa, which led to a Twitter frenzy when Anand Mahindra announced hes bringing it back to India this year.Who are these buyers who cling on to the past? What are some of the machines that attract top prices?Lets begin with brands like Harley-Davidson and Indian. Bikes like these command incredible sums, and basket cases go for lakhs. Naturally, collectors are wealthy, and they spend huge amounts to restore these motors, as authentic parts have to be imported or handmade here.The restored bikes are works of art and frequently win events like the Cartier Concours, as industrialist Arjun Oberoi’s Indian Chief did last year. Found in a dilapidated condition in a barn, it took master restorer Gurmukh Singh nearly two years to restore. Manufacturers like Triumph also come forward to help owners restore classic bikesBritish brands like BSA and Triumph have a similar cult following, and models like the BSA Golden Flash and Triumph Cub are collectors items.While manufacturers like Triumph also come forward to help owners restore classic bikes, most owners of these machines remain dependent on master craftsmen to get their bikes going. This is where practical classics come in. BSA has a cult following, and models like the BSA Golden Flash are collectors’ itemsA few weeks ago, Bangalore hosted the annual Jawa Yezdi Day event. The event was organised by the Bangalore Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club (BJYMC). The club is run by enthusiasts and there is minimal intrusion of money matters. If you have a Jawa or Yezdi and it has a PUC certificate, you are welcome to participate. This is what our country needs. Honest organisations which are best referred to as non-profit.advertisementThe owners of these Jawa and Yezdi bikes are real enthusiasts. They go out hunting for parts and spend hours at workshops to get their bikes going. Bikes like the Yezdi 350 Twin have become collectors items and owners are rather passionate about their bikes. For example, one of the founders of BJYMC, Brian Amanna, already owned a Jawa 250. It belonged to his father, and he always wanted to own a Twin. After years of searching, he found one and restored it himself.Royal Enfield has its fair share of collectors, too, and not only the ubiquitous Bullet but also models like the Crusader. It was made in India at the Madras factory and sported a 175 cc Villers two-stroke single motor, a rarity for a company that otherwise uses four-stroke 350 and 500 cc engines. In the collecting game, rare means money, so Crusaders command high prices. Royal Enfield has a fair share of collectors, too, and not only the ubiquitous Bullet but also models like the CrusaderWhen it comes to scooters, models from Lambretta and Vespa rule the market today. Thanks to both brands being present in India at one point of time, spares are relatively easy to find. However, there is a massive difference between the prices of various models. While Italian Lambys like the LD-series command lakhs even as basket cases, scooters like the LI-series are more affordable. This is primarily because the same models were once made in India under licence from Innocenti by Scooters India Limited. The LI-series were rebranded as Vijai Supers. Same goes for Vespa. Models like the VBB and VBA were made by Bajaj Auto. Italian Lambretta LI-series was rebranded as Vijai SuperWhether you do it yourself or have someone else restore your bike, the experience is addictive, as Raj Awasthi, owner of a fleet of classic scooters, points out. Every time I buy a scooter, I promise to myself that it will be the last one. And then I spot another one and the story goes on and on, he says.Most such bikes have expired registrations, and there’s no way to get them renewed. But there may be a solution on the way, with Maharashtra allowing vintage vehicles on the roads if their owners pay a green tax and get them retested every five years.