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Why American Pickers Dropped $40k On Two Motorcycles

History is home to plenty of educational shows but few are quite as fun as "American Pickers." With over 20 seasons, the show has more than proven itself worthy of its loyal fan base. The series follows its hosts, Mike Wolfe and originally Frank Fritz, now Robbie Wolfe, on their adventures across the country, often to very out-of-the-way places. However, these rural areas are where history is hiding, and the pickers are ready to find it.

The best finds on "American Pickers" aren't just exciting because of their rarity or worth. These items have historical value that allows viewers to get a glimpse into America's past by way of something that has been buried in the back of someone's barn for decades. The hosts do have their favorites, of course. Mike Wolfe, for example, has been known to have a passion for vintage motorcycles. Anytime he comes across them on the show, the whole episode takes a turn down a path of child-like excitement.

Excitement or no, the "American Pickers" are a practical crew, and it's rare to see them drop huge amounts of money at one pick. That's why a Season 11 episode in which the guys spend $40,000 dollars on a couple of motorcycles is still noteworthy.

The two bikes were rare Indian model motorcycles

In Season 11 of "American Pickers," Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz spent $40,000 on a pair of bikes in a single episode. While the bikes aren't the most expensive find on "American Pickers," it's still a remarkable amount of money for Mike and Frank to drop. The reason for the big purchase is the rarity of the bikes themselves. One bike, which ran up $30,000 of the budget, is a 1939 Indian Four motorcycle, aka the aristocrat. Being an Indian motorcycle already makes this bike an exciting find, but this model, in particular, is especially rare. As Mike explains, between 1939 and 1945, Indian halted production on the popular Chief bike, making the expensive Indian Four the next option.

The second bike is a Rigid Chief Indian that the owner put together with pieces of other Indian bikes. While it doesn't carry a $30,000 price tag, the $10,000 it adds to the deal of the day is still a lot of money. Ultimately, the group settles on $40,000 for the two bikes.

Wolfe's passion for Indian motorcycles should be well known to "American Pickers" fans, who may remember seeing the brand appear on the show previously, such as the time the crew spent over $8,000 on some Indian motorcycle motors. An Instagram post by Wolfe from 2022 further displays his love of the brand. "One of the earliest Indian Motorcycle pieces of Advertising I have ever come across," Wolfe wrote as the caption to an image of an old leather sign nailed to a piece of plywood. "Very large leather, I'm guessing it was for a trade show or maybe even a race. Amazing it has survived all of these years." 

It's no surprise to long-time viewers that Wolfe would spend so much money on a couple of old, rare Indian bikes.