New to Motorcycles – Tips and Suggestions when looking for a project

I have had this strange fascination with cafe bikes and mid-70s sport bikes since an old co-worker introduced me to his two Moto Guzzi bikes about 10 years ago.  Listening to that 850 Le Mans rumble in his shed planted a seed in the back of my mind that has been waiting to sprout.  I have since tried getting a motorcycle on a number of occasions but something always came up (married, kids, etc..).

The time has come for me to finally pick up a project after a year of reading restoration stories and general “how-tos” (including many of yours!).  I am a very competent mechanical person, one that works on my own car, takes apart broken things to solder wires and put them back together, and has the patience to take a long time to do something right the first time.  However, when it comes to motorcycles, I really have no idea where to start or what to look for!

I would love to find a $500 barn-bike I can completely disassemble, clean and restore, then rebuild to my specifications.

What advice do you have for a newcomer to the vintage/restoration bike building world?
Thanks, Todd

Response from a Reader:
Todd,do you have a certain kind, brand model in mind? if so research parts availability cost etc. be realistic ducatis even small ones are way more expensive than hondas. visit different sites to get ideas. remember single cylinder or twins are easier and cheaper generally than multis. if your looking to buy online look at pics carefully, scale the pic up to 200% and move it around how rusty are things etc. if your looking at and old bike most likely at a min you will need all new cables tires and tubes battery carb rebuild kit points and condensor, plugs, grips maybe a seat cover a repair manual. dont let this scare you this is half the fun researching customizing tracking down parts etc. remember also there is nothing wrong with small bikes moto guzzi made some pretty sweet bikes under 350cc. I am in the process of cafing a1967 kawasaki c2tr 120 roadrunner $250. I just got 1967 honda cb160 running for my brother $350. did the same thing for him 6 months ago on a 1971 ct90 with 1260 original miles $600 have a 1966 suzuki k15 hillbilly $250 waiting after the roadrunner is done, also a honda xl500 cafe project $500 after that. If you respond I will continue this on how i generally go about the process. hope this helps someone

Evan Fell

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