NEW NOTE: The response to this instructable has been really good. I hope to do another one related to slightly more advanced/unusual issues related to saving old 2-wheelers. I've had a lot of good suggestions (Tires, exhaust,points, etc.) that I hope to include next go round. Thanks for your enthusiasm and your continued patience!!!
Step 1: Choosing Your Bike : Better Safe than Sorry!
1. Is it all there? Many broken parts can be repaired easily and cheaply, but missing parts must (usually) be replaced. Pay special attention to gauges, side covers, carbs, sprockets, and brakes. Lots of these parts "walk away" while a bike is lying around unused.
2. Is the engine seized? A seized engine may or may not be a big deal. If you buy one with a seized engine, only pay scrap prices as the engine MAY (or may not) be ruined. I'll show in a later "Ible" how to deal with a seized engine.
3. Can you shift through the gears? Transmission work is no small undertaking (but not impossible) for the newbie!
4. Does it have compression? If you can kick it over (or crank it), check for compression.
5. Consider buying a semi-classic, as these machines are easiest to deal with when searching for replacement parts.