5 Considerations to Make before Restoring a Classic Bike
Restoring a classic bike is a bit like restoring a classic car, but it’s really more dissimilar. There are quite a few differences involved, and you’ll need to understand what they are and how they are likely to impact your experience before you start the project.
Do You Have a Professional to Help You?
Unless you’re a confirmed “gear head” chances are good that you lack the tools and experience necessary to restore many classic motorcycles. Bike manufacturing has changed dramatically over the years, and even if you’re the owner of a modern bike and you do all your maintenance work yourself, you likely don’t have what you need to get the job done. That means you need to have a trusted professional to lend a hand (or to handle most of the job,depending on the circumstances). Do you know such a professional? And,remember, you need a true specialist, not just a mechanic down at the corner auto shop.
Is There a Restoration Manual Available?
Many classic bikes have manuals that show how they can be restored, common problems experienced in the process and the like. If the model you’re contemplating doesn’t have such a manual, the need for a seasoned specialist redoubles.
Do You Have the Space?
Restoring a classic bike generally requires a full tear-down. That means you not only need space for the bike as assembled, but space for all the parts once it has been torn apart. Your garage might be the ideal place, but if you share that space with your spouse or your children, or you use it for storing items that cannot be easily moved, you’ll need to rethink things. Not only will you need ample storage space for parts, but you’ll need enough room that you can photograph every single part as it’s removed so you can put it all back together again when you’re done.
What Level of Restoration Can You Afford?
Every motorcycle restoration is unique, but you’ll need to determine just how far you can go. Are you looking for concourse level restoration, with full chroming and everything? Will you be sandblasting and repainting all relevant parts? This can be quite costly, particularly if you need to have components re-chromed. Determine just how much you can afford in the way of restoration before stating the project. You might find that you need to lower your sights to something slightly under concourse level.
Can You Restore the Engine?
There’s little point in restoring the body of a bike if you’re not going to rework the engine, as well. Do you have the tools and knowledge necessary?Can you source all the O-rings, gaskets and other pieces that will need to be replaced? What about damaged parts – can you source replacements for those?
Restoring a classic bike can be a labour of love, and if you follow these brief tips, you’ll be well prepared entering the project.