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Looking for input - Getting started in Vintage bikes

  • 09 Sep 2009 12:07 PM
    Message # 217165
    Anonymous

    I have been a member for a couple of years.  I would love to hear your opinions on how to get started in the world of vintage bikes.  There are so many cool old bikes out there....what is a good make/model/year to start with?

    Or better yet what to stay away from? 

    I am keeping my eyes open in the newsletter and on the CVMG buy and sell.  I am looking for something to restore but not a complete basket case. 

    Any input would be greatly appreciated

    Celeste

  • 10 Sep 2009 9:33 AM
    Reply # 217456 on 217165
    Deleted user
    Hi Celeste,

    Welcome to the obsession! Before I offer an opinion(and you'll hear many) perhaps answering a few questions first, may point you down a better path.

    1. How is your mechanical ability?
    2. Do you like to wrench or only ride?
    2. What kind of riding do you expect to do?(occasional short rides, daily commuting, longer distance all day rides or all the above?
    3. What's your price range?
    4. What kind of bikes are you more fond of? British, Euro, or Japanese?

    With that said, find the most complete bike you can; preferably a runner. Bikes sold in boxes are tempting price wise, but usually are missing a lot of parts and will generally cost more to build in the end. I would stay away from any obscure and/or limited production models as parts will be more difficult and/or expense to source.


  • 10 Sep 2009 11:23 AM
    Reply # 217520 on 217165
    Anonymous

    1. How is your mechanical ability?

    No problem with a complete tear down provided I can find manuals etc.

    2. Do you like to wrench or only ride?

    Enjoy both.  I have a bike to ride  (2009 BMW R1200R) so the vintage bike would be for fun to restore and ride occasionally

    My former bike was a 1985 Honda Nighthawk CB650SC that I cosmetically restored using a 1984 for parts (tank, seat, speedo etc)


    2. What kind of riding do you expect to do?(occasional short rides, daily commuting, longer distance all day rides or all the above?

    See answer to question 2


    3. What's your price range?

    I would like to stay under $2000 if possible but it would really depend on the bike and what it's status is


    4. What kind of bikes are you more fond of? British, Euro, or Japanese?

    There in lies the issue...love them all...

    I have been toying with the idea of an old Bonneville as we have a 2008 T100 and it would be cool to have both the old and new version.  Or an R class BMW  (old vs new with R1200R) 

    Or something completely different Norton, Guzzi, or Japanese...

    I am concerned about getting something that I cannot get parts for as that would make things a little more difficult as you have stated

     "I would stay away from any obscure and/or limited production models as parts will be more difficult and/or expense to source"

    That is where I need to rely on some of you your knowledge to know what ones I should not persue due to limited availablility of parts. 

     

     

  • 15 Sep 2009 3:02 PM
    Reply # 219014 on 217165
    Deleted user
    Personally, I don't think you can wrong with an early 70's Triumph/BSA. While many 'purists' scoff at the oil in frame(OIF) models, they are relatively cheap, reliable(once you learn the maintenance routine), provide the same riding experience and possibly, better handling than the earlier 'collectables'. Parts availability and prices are pretty good too through swap meets, newsletter want ads, repo. parts through Walridge Motors, used through Cycle Logic, etc. In fact, you'll have an easier time finding parts for these than alot of mid 70's jap. bikes.(...I know)  BMW's have excellent parts availability through the dealers albeit expensive, but I'm sure you already knew that.

    Good luck and let us know what you find!
  • 25 Sep 2009 6:37 PM
    Reply # 222823 on 217165
    Deleted user

    Hi Celeste:

    Just to add my two cents to the good advice that has already been offered. I would take a look at the parts supply before deciding on a machine. There are a number of businesses in Canada dedicated to providing parts for some British bikes ...and at reasonable prices. I just received a couple of catalogues of new replica Harley parts so can state with confidence that anythiung you need to keep that engine running is available!

    The tin work on any of these machines can be very hard to get though. Given your mechanical experience, I would prefer to buy a complete machine that needs an engine rebuild over one with a good engine but needing many other parts.

    Good luck in your search!

    Brian

  • 27 Sep 2009 11:36 AM
    Reply # 223228 on 217165
    Celeste;
         One of the bikes you might want to consider is the Yamaha XS650.  It was the logical follow on to the British twins from the 1960's with a number of refinements including electric start.

         Wrenching is pretty easy, with a modest number of special tools (e.g. cam chain breaker).

         The bikes are plentiful, having been made for 10+ years starting in about 1971 and parts can be ordered from XS650Direct.

         I have both a BSA 650 and Yamaha 650.  They are both fun to ride depending on the mood of the moment.

    Dave


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