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Wow, $1300 for a Honda MB5? Should’a bought one in 1983!

Peter Tanshanomi January 3, 2012 Two-Wheel Tuesday 28 Comments

Honda MB5 Ebay Auction
Hooniverse regulars know that Honda’s micro-hoonable MB5 is a favorite around here. Like an adorable puppy who tries to bark imposingly like a big dog, the MB5 could be the most enchanting 50cc bike ever mass-produced. Unfortunately for U.S. bikers, it was only sold for a single year on this side of the Atlantic, so nice examples are getting hard to find. Thus, thanks to those twin brothers, Supply and Demand, the value of MB5s keeps climbing. There’s one on Ebay right now that’s got a stiff $1300 buy-it-now price. What makes the asking price so remarkable is that in 1983, Honda slashed the MSRP on year-old leftover MB5s from $798 to $398 to move the many, many unsold crates clogging their warehouses.

$1300 is a lot of money for a bike that can’t drive 55 (in stock trim, anyway), and nobody has yet decided to snap up this clean-looking example at that price, so perhaps it’s a bit too steep. But the seller is Old School Cycles, an experienced Texas purveyor of unusual used bikes that keeps listing one neat moto-find after another — and seems to have a good feel for the realistic top dollar used bikes can generate.

Assuming this bike sold as a leftover, and goes for the $1.3K asking price, that would be an 11.25% a 7.8% annualized appreciation on the original investment over the last 29 years. Not too shabby.

You can check out the Ebay auction page HERE.

  • I don't know if I would call Supply and Demand twins, but…

    This price is really impressive. Would a collector buy it and store it? That would be such a waste.

  • BradleyBrownell

    I bought mine at 900 just over a year ago. It wasn't a collector, though, more a rider. I've put a few thousand on the odometer since!

  • Matt

    Gotta factor in inflation. $398 in 1983 = ~$900 now. The appreciation isn't worth 28 years worth of storage.

    • Thanks for figuring that one. Is this a ball park figure or is there site with inflation information? This is a subject that comes up regularly and it would be nice to have a handy reference…

      • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a rather slick inflation calculator.

        "$398.00 in 1983 has the same buying power as: $904.01 in 2011"

        • fodder650

          Well that's bookmarked. Just out of curiousity I checked my current homes value against inflation. $195,000 in 1996 is now $218,823.66. That's pretty steep for only 5 years

          • FЯeeMan

            Which inter-mountain West state are you living in that it's only 2001? I do know Idaho regularly runs about 10 years behind…

            • fodder650

              Time moves slower here in Pennsylvania

              • pj134


                (I got to use it twice today)

        • Cool, thanks.

        • Dr. Fine

          And DollarTimes.com says that's an annual inflation rate of 2.96%

    • 2cver

      This also doesn't account for condition. $398 was for a brand new bike. $1300 is for one that is nice but used and aged. If you look at what actually sold on Ebay, a bike with only 107 miles sold for $1235. Therefore, a 1000 mile bike should sell for about $900.

  • tiberiusẅisë

    Too bad they didn't have pedals. That would have been vastly superior to my Puch Maxi-Luxe and would have given my friend's Peugeot TSM a nice spanking.

    • 5 speed manual = not moped legal, even with pedals.

      • tiberiusẅisë

        It would never work today but back in the early Eighties I bet you could have gotten away with it by producing models with a different transmission. Many friends bought the 2 HP bikes and had no problem registering them despite NJ's law requiring them to be 1.5. There was no VIN differentiation. Another friend had a Honda Express. No pedals, no dice.

        BTW, how did Peugeot get away with the CVT?

        • Most legislative bodies define mopeds as having a centrifugal auto clutch, no more than 50cc displacement, and a top speed no greater than 30 (sometimes 35) MPH. (I believe in many SI countries, it's 50 KPH.)

  • mnm4ever

    Nah… I used to have an Aprilia RS50, with the "big bore' 80cc upgrade kit fitted. Now THAT was a fun 50cc bike, and looked awesome too. Then again, I think I sold that for $3k or so, so maybe when you figure in the price, the MB5 is a way better value, but the RS50 is way more fun!

    • WorldWeary

      The RS50 was a hot 50cc bike, yes. It looked like any other ‘rice rocket’ though. The MB5 however, looked like a mini-Ducati with it’s unique frame. Very eye-catching and gorgeous.

  • Maymar

    I know Honda had to drop prices on some of their CBR125Rs by about a third (to about $2500) in the past couple of years (since they flooded the market with the things after the initial run sold out). If it'd dropped to half, I may have pulled the trigger (and still may on a used one, just to finally get my full motorcycle license this summer).

  • CJinSD

    If a $398 bike were to appreciate at an annual rate of 11.25% for 29 years, it would be worth $8,761.60
    The asking price for this one would represent annualized appreciation of 4.17%.

    I'm familiar with MB5s, but I didn't realize that the Honda Two Wheel Deal included them. There were plenty of $416 Urban Expresses in my neighborhood during the promotion, and I got what seemed like a deal on a leftover PA50, but an MB5 would have ruled!

    • A static asset is not a monetary investment — because there is no reinvestment of the appreciation, it does not compound. So you must look only at a simple increase in value each year.

      I did take advantage of the $398 price that year, and I felt truly lucky. I was a PFC in the Army and my MB5 was my sole transportation for 4-5 months.

      • CJinSD

        Assuming 29 years of non-compounding appreciation, then it appreciated by $902 in 29 years, or an average of $31.10 a year. That's 7.8% of $398, not 11.25%. Glad you got you bargain MB5. I lived in the Netherlands in 1984, and I bet my friends there would have thought I was full of it if I'd told them you could buy one in the US for a fraction of what they were paying. Of course it was also a fraction of what we were supposed to pay.

        • Thanks for correcting me. I edited the text.

  • kevin

    wow im lost for words as i sit here reading up on 82 MB5 because i just traded labor for 1982 mb5 that runs. anybody intrested in this rare bike? e-mail kfunden@comcast.net

    • Debbie Bond

      Hey, call or email if you want to sell your MB 5

      ~Debbie 919-828-5846

  • r hynes

    hi, i have a 1982 mb5 runs perfect , in great condition with only 444 kms on it that's 266 miles , stored since 1982 , its for sale one owner ……………. contact me @ rhynes 59@gmail.com

  • darrell

    I have a honda mb5 with 1,333 miles on it all stock

  • WorldWeary

    The Honda MB5 is a 2-stroke classic work of art. Absolutely gorgeous lines to behold, and amazing performance for a measly 50cc bike. I have several bikes, many with more than 750cc, but my MB5 is the most fun to ride here on the local ‘twisties’! And the stares, comments, and conversations I get are priceless! They used to sell for around $599 new, but Honda lowered the price to $399 when they weren’t selling as planned (can you believe that?!).