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I’ve wanted to know how to fix motorcycles, particularly older ones, for a while. But before I began, I was curious if this hobby could be done without much (literally) experience.
Based on my research and personal experience, I have the answer to this question: Do you need any experience to repair a motorcycle? To restore a motorcycle, you don’t need to have any experience. You can learn this skill if you have the money, determination, and space. This skill can be learned by many people without the need for formal education.
Most people assume a motorcycle restoration is complicated, when in reality it’s a lot simpler than we realize. This was something I quickly learned from my first motorcycle restoration.
After doing a lot research, I decided to restore my first motorcycle. With zero experience, I’ve restored more than a dozen motorcycles and have learned some useful tips to help you start a motorcycle restoration.
Here are some things you should know before you restore a motorcycle
My first motorcycle restoration was a 1980 Yamaha XS850. I had no clue what I was doing. I was still recovering from surgery, and was unable to work during the summer due to my injury. I was also a college freshman at the time so I had extra time and $500 to spend. I began my first project.
I quickly discovered that there were six main parts to a motorcycle: the fuel, power delivery, exhaust and electrical. Do not try to tackle too many problems at once. Instead, work on one area or system at a given time. Once you tackle and restore one system, you’ll feel so proud of yourself and be motivated to move on to the next system.
While mechanical aptitude is helpful, it is not essential. You will get the job done if you have enough motivation. Remember this: “don’t take anything apart that you can’t put back together.” You should take lots of pictures to show how things bolt together, how the pieces fit together and where gaskets are needed.
When you are taking small parts off, label them like crazy, even if you think you’ll remember where it goes. Use tape flags to attach wires and bolts in plastic bags. This is a must. One of my friends decided to dump all his bolts in a single bucket as he tried to fix a motorcycle. When he was putting everything back together, he came to a dead end because he didn’t know which bolts and pieces went where.
Keep any cosmetics to the last. You don’t want to paint your motorcycle tank and then have it scratched by the screwdriver or wrench you used to attach the handle bars. Make sure you get rid of all the mechanical work so that your cosmetic work shines brightly on your motorcycle. Click here for my recommendations on upgrades for a motorcycle.
This is the Best Motorcycle to Restore With Little or No Experience
Although experience is not necessary to repair a motorcycle To start, I recommend a smaller and older bike such as the CB100 which is a four-stroke or something similar. That way you can get a little practice on something that isn’t worth as much. Click here to view my list of top beginner motorcycles.
When you feel more at ease, you can sell the motorcycle to make a profit and purchase a bigger bike that offers you more challenge. You’re okay initially buying something bigger if you’re comfortable with it, just understand that it is a higher and more expensive risk if you make a big mistake.
Online is the best place to find motorcycles for sale, especially Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These were the sites where I found the majority of my motorcycle projects, with very little trouble from the seller. These platforms make it easy to contact the seller, know their location, and know how far you’ll need to go to get the motorcycle.
It’s also a good idea to look into any local website or newspapers for anything that’s for sale. KSL is a website that allows locals to sell their goods. It’s located in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah.
Is it worth learning how you can restore a motorcycle?
The short answer is: Yes! Yes! If you have the will and the determination, it’s worth it. I could go on and on about pursuing your dreams and accomplishing that self fulfillment, but there’s actually additional value to this.
After I had restored my first motorcycle, it was clear that I could do more. Over a dozen motorcycles were restored and sold for at least $2,000 each. The motorcycle restorations helped me pay for my college education as well as my living costs. That is also how I paid for my wife’s engagement ring.
This hobby will also increase your technical skills. I put my motorcycle restorations on a resume, which was something I was skeptical about at first. But it worked out well. I received many job interviews, several offers of employment in a different field and a lot more comments about my motorcycle restorations from employers. My motorcycle projects were a major topic of conversation with my interviewers.
Restoring a motorcycle will not only increase your technical skills but also help you to understand the workings of a car. While an automobile’s function is obviously more complicated than a bike, the principles of both are similar. After learning how a motorcycle’s battery works, you will be able to understand how a car’s battery works. It will help you understand how power delivery works on motorcycles and how it works in a car.
A complete video series about how to fix a motorcycle has been produced by me. This series was made with beginners in view. I turned a $200 motorcycle into an expensive motorcycle that can be ridden for $5,000. Included are in depth videos with tips and tricks you won’t find anywhere else online as well as hard to tackle components such as wiring, body work, and carb rebuilds. Click here for more information if you’re interested in restoring and building the motorcycle of your dreams!
How hard is it to repair a motorcycle?
It can be challenging to restore a motorcycle. If you have no experience, you’ll certainly encounter a learning curve. However, if you’re determined, there are millions of resources out there to help you learn for free. YouTube and the internet taught me everything I knew about motorcycles and how to restore them.
You will experience frustrations and come to a halt. I can’t tell you how many times this happened to me. It was frustrating, but I persevered and found the answers. It is important to be open to new ideas and willing to seek out help.
There will also be instances where you find a problem that you simply don’t have the resources to fix. One example of such fixes is mounting tires. I always get new tires for my motorcycle projects but I don’t have a tire mount hanging around my garage. Sometimes it’s worth taking your motorcycle to the mechanic to repair specific issues.
The awesome thing about taking your motorcycle to a mechanic is that you get to learn about a specific problem that you’ll probably encounter in the future with another motorcycle. You’ll be able to identify the problem and fix it yourself because of what you learned from the mechanic. Click here for some helpful tips on restoring a motorcycle.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a project motorcycle or already have a motorcycle to restore, give yourself the chance to learn about it and teach yourself how to fix it. It may take time, but don’t let that stop you from learning an incredible skill.
What is more expensive, buying a brand new motorcycle or restoring an old one from scratch? Generally a newer motorcycle will cost you around $5,000 – $10,000 whereas an old motorcycle restoration will cost you between $1,500 – $2,500. It is time-consuming, but it is more affordable in the long term.
What are the first things I should do when restoring a motorcycle? The most basic things, like the spark plugs, carbs and gas, should be your first priority. It’s better to start with smaller things and work your way to bigger fixes. That way you don’t become overwhelmed from the very beginning.