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I am looking for a motorcycle to fix-up. And I don't know how to go about getting the actual bike to start on? Answered

I am a younger guy who just wants a project to keep me busy. I am kinda limited on cash right now but I am planning on getting a job soon. I do live in central Texas, and I am not sure if I should go to a salvage yard or something to get the bike. Please some advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated because I am new to this and I am not really sure how to do this the right way. Thank you.


Nostalgic Guy

8 years ago

A lot depends on what you want to do with it once you have it & it's up & running.
If you want a road legal bike do you prefer a cruiser, sports or on/off road?
Do you want a scooter or a motorcycle?
Consider the law regarding age & legal limitations on the size of bike you can have as a first time rider.
What is your budget to buy the machine & then additional budget weekly/monthly for parts to fix it up?
What skill level are you at right now? How involved in the build do you want to get? For example do you want something that just needs a bit of general repair like brakes, new tyres & mostly cosmetic work or would you be prepared to take on a major job like an insurance right off?
If you want something that only needs some light work then I would suggest you check out your local bike dealers, you may find a bargain among the bikes they have taken in part exchange I have found plenty like this over the years and usually made a tidy profit on them.
Some dealers may also have access to bikes with more major problems or insurance right offs again I have worked on quite a few of these & again often turned a good profit on them, these take a lot more work & will almost always need an engineer’s report before they can go on the road but it can sometimes be worth the effort & they always make good donor machines, if you can get the right price a donor bike can save as much as 80% on parts.
Breakers yards can be a good source of parts and always bear in mind that the more popular a model of bike was/is the more of them will be available for parts, that real sweet looking Italian road burning footrest scraper from the 80's may be so very tempting but the parts will almost certainly be as rare as rocking horse poop whereas parts for a more mundane Japanese job from the same period will be as easy to find a shells on a beach.
Another thing to consider is the cost of tools, I have seen dozens of bikes damaged by the use of cheap or unsuitable tools, there are some decent budget tools available, but I would only buy them from a manufacturer I already have experience of or are recommended by someone who knows their stuff.
Last but by no means least avoid the cheap clone bikes imported from Asia, parts are a nightmare to get, they fall apart in a stiff breeze rust in a thin fog & have a shorter life span than a disposable razor, they may be copies of successful Japanese bikes but they ARE NOT THE SAME, the build quality is far inferior, the electrics are rubbish, the finish is generally pretty but about as hardwearing as tissue paper & the raw materials are the cheapest they could get away with, AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

acidbassNostalgic Guy

Answer 8 years ago

I found an add on craigslist and it's an older honda cl350 scrambler that just needs to be cleaned and some minor repairs and the guy is willing to give it to me for 100 USD so I'll check it out and I really appreaciate all the advice thanks NG

Nostalgic Guyacidbass

Answer 8 years ago

I would also recommend you get a good easy to follow manual for the bike once you have chosen one.
In the UK my favourite manuals are produced by Haynes they are pretty much the standard after market manual here, the beauty of them is that they are written in a way that does not assume expert or professional knowledge unlike most manuals produced for the trade, they also often suggest alternatives for some of the more specialist tools that can sometimes be required.
I believe the US equivalent would be Clymer manuals who do produce a manual for the CL350.

The CL350 had more or less the same motor as the CB350, I have had a few of the Honda CB series twins from the 70’s & 80’s, they are great motors to work on.

Just make sure before you test ride it you have all your work checked over by someone who knows bikes or better yet get them to give you a hand, in my experience most motorcyclists are happy to pass on their knowledge.
Have fun, enjoy your bike & BE SAFE.


8 years ago

If you are looking for something inexpensive and and not too complicated, consider starting with a scooter. A 2-cycle engine is mechanically less complex than a 4-cycle engine and generally less expensive to repair.
For a beginner, I would make these recommendations:
Before making your purchase research the value of running scooters of comparable make, year and size.
Make sure the seller has the proper ownership papers; title, registration, etc.
If the engine is seized (frozen up) DON'T buy it unless it is only for donor parts.
A scooter with a centrifugal clutch is easier and cheaper to repair than a regular transmission.
Make sure you have or can get or borrow the proper tools(most foreign scooters and MC's will use metric sized tools)
Get a service manual or at minimum an owner's manual, you can find many of them online or at the library.
Check local dealerships and salvage yards for parts availability and prices.
The price of parts and purchase price of the scooter should not exceed the wholesale value of the scooter unless you just love the ride and intend to keep it for your personal use. Whether you want to figure in the value of your labor or not, is up to you.
It helps immensely if you have someone who can guide you or offer advice on the repairs.
Don't rush the project, the saying "Haste makes waste," is never more true for your first attempt.
Google is your friend. Its amazing how much information is available on the net for repairing and restoring scooters and cycles.
Read up on the general principles of motorcycle mechanics and internal combustion engines, particularly those specific to the type of engine on the scooter or MC you are considering.
Don't get frustrated, the first time through is always the most difficult. As you encounter problems, and you will, don't give up, you'll get it if you keep at it.
Enjoy what you're doing and learn from the experience.


Answer 8 years ago


The only thing I'd like to add is if you've never rebuilt a motorcycle before then get one that is already in reasonable shape.  Otherwise it may have so many things wrong with it you may never get it running again.  A basket case will absorb ALL of your money, time, patience and after an amazingly small time, won't be fun anymore.


Answer 8 years ago

+1 for everything Burf posted.

If money is an issue, start with one that runs. A lot of motorcycles & scooters tend to get pushed aside when the new wears off or when things start falling apart -- cables break, things vibrate loose, dings and dents tend to show, switches corrode, etc. As long as you begin with a motor that is basically sound, fixing all the accessory things can be reasonably easy. If the bike has been stored for a long time, start by cleaning the gas tank, replacing the fuel filter, replacing the fuel lines, and cleaning the carb.