Interview – Tim Graber

In Interview by Abhi0 Comments

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Tim Graber is the proprietor of Classic Motorcycle Consignments, one of the world’s first online consignment shops for motorcycles. I could go on and on about the quality of the bikes he features, but it’s probably best for me to just show you the list of motorcycles that he’s sold. I suspect he’s got a similar taste in motorcycles as most of you, so I thought I’d hit him with the usual questions about what it’s like to live and breathe classic motorcycles.

1.) How did you get started with motorcycles – how did you learn, and what was your first bike?
Double questions already? My first bike was a 305 Honda Scrambler that was my only transportation in 1969 in LA as I was going to college, married with a child.

Honda CL77 305 Scrambler - Left Side

I had a driver turn left in front of me and lost the bike. I was uninjured but went to a car for quite a while. I took up motorcycles again in the 80’s so that I could play with the old boys I met in the Horseless Carriage Club Of America. My first ride there was a 1913 Excelsior twin. I fell in love with the vintage rides and never looked back.

2.) Assume for a moment that money is no object, and importation laws aren’t a problem. What’s the next bike you’d buy, and what would you do with it?
1939 Crocker Hemi. Ride the H out of it and polish as I could. Nothing better than having a million dollar bike between your legs!

Tim Graber - Crocker Right Side

3.) What’s the most memorable motorcycle trip you’ve ever taken?
I was a tour guide for California Sunriders for 3 years. It was an incredible journey across America on Route 66. The clients knew more about Route 66 than I so I immediately studied up on the history and enjoyed every one of the 20 trips I did as an adult babysitter! I have had many great motorcycle trips here and into Mexico.

4.) Do you listen to music while riding? If no, why not? If yes, what are some of your favorite tunes when you’re on your bike?
No music when riding in town. Too much to deal with and music takes my attention out of the game sometimes. No music when I am riding the classics. I enjoy the sound of the machinery too much.

5.) What’s your favorite piece of gear?
I am simple in that regard so just a good ¾ helmet and a neck warmer for the most part. On tour I had a full electronic hook up including early Bluetooth for the phone and XM.

Tim Graber - Indian Chief

6.) You have $25,000 to spend on anything in the world of motorcycles – 1 new bike, several old bikes, track days, a trip, you name it. How do you spend it?
I have a happy vision of my motorcycle world. For $25k I could invest in quality antiques but I think I would have Abhi show me his world!

7.) How did you transition from someone who’s passionate about motorcycles to someone who makes his living in the industry? When did you know that Classic Motorcycle Consignments was going to work out?
I was having great fun working with the old timers on the old machines. I became president of SoCal AMCA to give back to that community. The old guys started asking me to help buy and sell in today’s technology so a helping hand became a time expense, and increased knowledge base and then a business in retirement. When I detailed my idea to a friend with a large collection he immediately asked me to sell his 1930 Indian 101 Scout. I knew then that the idea had legs.

8.) What do you look for in the motorcycles you accept for consignment?
Value, honest evaluations, good relationships with buyers and sellers.

Tim Graber - Judge

9.) What’s your favorite bike that you’ve consigned?
Well I do not know about favorite. I have had great exposure. The 1957 Maserati was most unique because I did not know they were made. The research itself was most enlightening. The seller was in France and the buyer was in New Zealand. It is a great story of putting the deal together and having a great outcome, happy clients!

10.) What do you expect from the future of motorcycling, good or bad?
I hope for minimally restrictive access to the roadways for motorcyclists. Some current events have made it difficult for Government not to intervene on our freedom. I see technology assisting in the growth of safe rides but also in the distraction to riders. Hopefully true common sense will prevail and boys can be boys without too much negative side effects! The early machines are still learning opportunities about mechanical engines that can be tuned by the common man with minimal tools. A very good lesson learned. Everyone should understand the value of dirty and oily hands!

If you liked what Tim had to say, check out Classic Motorcycle Consignments!

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