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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really trying to convince myself to buy it. The asking price is $1600 but the thing is missing a tooth on the 4th gear. I don't have a lot of money so I would want to maybe repair it myself even though I know nothing, about anything. I have a few questions regarding this whole idea. How easy/costly is it to repair/replace an old transmission? roughly how much would I pay for a shop to do it?? Is it even smart to get an old bike like this if you're not mechanically inclined? And lastly does anyone have anything to say about these old Suzuki's? How do they perform? Would they make as awesome of a first bike as I imagine? The thing is just so darn cool!

Thanks for any replies at all guys.
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum :)

Old bikes are really cool. We see them on the road and go, "Wow!" Unfortunately, we go "Wow!" because someone who has has thousands of hours in a shop put in the time and effort and sweat and knowhow into it to make it that way.

What you have are actually 2 questions.

1) Should l start with an old bike as my first bike?

In general, the answer to this is no. Your first bike should be one that is in great working order, and very reliable, so that you can learn to ride properly without having to worry about whether or not it starts and stops, and everything in between.

2) Should l buy an old bike if l am not mechanically inclined?

This question can only be answered by you. Are you not mechanically inclined because you have no experience in a shop? Or are you not mechanically inclined because you have tried and tried to learn things but just don't get it, and don't think you ever will, and don't really care, and would just rather pay someone else to do it?

If you want to learn how to turn a wrench, l think an older bike is a fun way to go. I am kind of on the verge of that myself. However, l think you might want to really think about how old and how rare you want to go. For instance, tomorrow l am going to look at a 1985 Honda Nighthawk. Now, it is 30 years old, and will almost certainly become an avenue for me to learn some repairs that l don't currently know how to do. But, there were a buttload of them built, so l am very confident in being able to find parts. Also, it is modern enough to have electronic ignition and such that a bike from the era that you are thinking would not have. Other things to consider...

What resources do you have available? You mentioned not having a lot of money. This is not a good place to start. Motorcycling is not cheap. If you buy a $1600 project bike, that is just the start. Rare parts can be expensive. Now, if you had $2000 total you could go buy yourself a 10 year old Ninja 250, a helmet, some gloves and a pair of boots and be happily on your way. Then maybe down the road you have some more cash and say, "Hey, l still want to find an old bike to restore..."

Besides money, what other resources do you have available? Chances are, if you are not mechanically inclined, then your dad probably isn't either. But maybe you have some friends that tinker with stuff? Having others that can give you pointers is huge. We have a great repair forum here, but there is only so much that you can learn from reading. It is a big help if you know people who will help you along. Hint: don't be afraid to make friends with an old guy. Old guys know some **** ;)

Garage space? Everyone that l know that works on vehicles has a great shop, and at least a reasonable set of tools. I don't know what is in your tool box. You could get a decent set started with the basics for a few hundred dollars and go from there.

Please don't take this as me discouraging you. The idea of fixing and restoring can be fascinating! I have the bug myself. But l think it is important that you know the reality of what you are getting into.

One thing l started doing a while back is reading threads in the repair thread. People have problems and others help them fix it. I find that l can learn a lot just by reading along and seeing what they did, what the problem was, what the solution is. If they are talking about a part and l don't know what it is, l google it to find out what it is and what it does. You will be amazed how much you can pick up this way.
 

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$1,600 for a 44 year old bike with a damaged 4th gear? No way man! Transmission work can be pricey, can you even find the parts?

I think you could spend the money much more wisely somewhere else.
 

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Pale Rider
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The T500 is a two-stroke, with oil injectors -- they smoke... A lot!... They also vibrate... A lot! I rode a 1974 T500 for two years. My Dad kept it running, as he had worked as a professional auto mechanic. It will burn leaded gasoline: either add the lead substitute to the gas tank, every fill-up, or open the fuel injectors a little more, to compensate for the loss of the lead additive in the gas...

I rode my Dad's T500 most days, after school, for 30-45 minutes, to relax, and unwind from the stress of tech school, circa 1984-86. It was easy on the gas, but no one, and I mean, no one, would stay behind me for long, due to the smoky exhaust of the two-stroke engine. I could not tolerate riding it longer than 45 minutes, as the hand grips vibrated so severely -- my hands started to go numb.

The T500 could be de-tuned (modified) to make it a scream-machine, but you had to know what you were doing, to do it properly; done improperly, you would be looking for new parts to return it to factory... Parts for these bikes are not that easy to find, and they can be expensive.

Two-stroke engines have no engine-braking, whatsoever. When you close the gas, the bike keeps going, slowing down very gradually. On a four-stroke engine, closing the throttle causes the engine to slow down, auto-magically slowing the bike down, without touching the brakes -- it helps a great deal in controlling your speed. Also, the '74 had drum brakes, front and rear: drum brakes, alone, from that period, were never great...

I'd add my vote to what Hawk and cmonSTART said. They both offered very solid advice. Your life, your money, your choice. You can always find a project bike later, when you have experience, and more liquid funds to pursue your interest. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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Subversive
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Sadly as nice and cool as these classic bikes are they are a heap of work and a ginormous black hole that will suck all your cash away and keep suckin...

I own a 1981 CB900C and when I first got her she was in need of lots of love and care...and oh yeah, LOTS of work... this will go, you'll fix that and next week something else will go... For a while it was every week or maybe less something else would need to be replaced or fixed.... It's never ending, well almost...

This is NOT what you want to be dealing with as you are learning to ride...

The only exception would be if you found a mint older bike in perfect condition $$$$$$.... I have seen them for sale but they cost big bucks..

You can always pick up something to work on later but for a starter get something that will run and keep running and run well.

You'll be a much happier rider and less broke too...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot for all the advice guys. I am really having second thoughts about getting an old bike now.. But it's a hard bug to shake. I just got my Learner's license today and am going to go start looking at bikes to learn on this week. And Hawkaholic (thanks so much for the big informative message!) I really would like to learn to work on my own bike. But I guess an old one might not be the best place to start?
 

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Subversive
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I really would like to learn to work on my own bike. But I guess an old one might not be the best place to start?

You really want that bike huh?

You realize you can't ride it if it's in pieces on a bench right?

Wouldn't you rather have one you can ride and rely on not to break?

Is it a question of cost? For $1600 or so you could probably find something that will run well...


$1600 sounds a bit high for that one...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I really would like to learn to work on my own bike. But I guess an old one might not be the best place to start?

You really want that bike huh?

You realize you can't ride it if it's in pieces on a bench right?

Wouldn't you rather have one you can ride and rely on not to break?

Is it a question of cost? For $1600 or so you could probably find something that will run well...


$1600 sounds a bit high for that one...
Well I've given up on that one in particular. Now I'm looking at a 74' gt250. It seems to be in better condition at least.. It's just when I got the idea in my head of buying a motorcycle I envisioned long road trips on some old classic bike. And I just haven't seen any bikes made after 1980 that I really like that much.. I guess I'm being stubbornly superficial though. Is it pretty much a guarantee that old bikes will cause a lot of problems? Is it not possible to get it in good working order and then cost along for a few years without any issues popping up?? It just seems ludicrous that they could be so troublesome..
 

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Subversive
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Well I've given up on that one in particular. Now I'm looking at a 74' gt250. It seems to be in better condition at least.. It's just when I got the idea in my head of buying a motorcycle I envisioned long road trips on some old classic bike. And I just haven't seen any bikes made after 1980 that I really like that much.. I guess I'm being stubbornly superficial though. Is it pretty much a guarantee that old bikes will cause a lot of problems? Is it not possible to get it in good working order and then cost along for a few years without any issues popping up?? It just seems ludicrous that they could be so troublesome..
Well it sounds like you want to do two things: work on a bike, learn, but also ride... They aren't mutually exclusive but can be a problem...

If you want to work on one then buy some POS for $300 and roll your sleeves up...

If you want to ride one then I'd say go find one you like that is in good shape whatever that is... But it depends on your budget and taste..

Nothing after 1980? :( Mine is a 1981 but I digress..

If you like the one you mentioned then I'd say there are a lot of cool bikes after 1980 that have a similar look....

If you go for a 30+ year old bike then just be prepared for the unexpected to break or fail... Be prepared for the problem of finding parts... Be aware of this when looking...some bikes are better and some are easier to find parts for.

You can find some folks who have vintage bikes in showroom condition...

Got cash?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I've given up on that one in particular. Now I'm looking at a 74' gt250. It seems to be in better condition at least.. It's just when I got the idea in my head of buying a motorcycle I envisioned long road trips on some old classic bike. And I just haven't seen any bikes made after 1980 that I really like that much.. I guess I'm being stubbornly superficial though. Is it pretty much a guarantee that old bikes will cause a lot of problems? Is it not possible to get it in good working order and then cost along for a few years without any issues popping up?? It just seems ludicrous that they could be so troublesome..
Well it sounds like you want to do two things: work on a bike, learn, but also ride... They aren't mutually exclusive but can be a problem...

If you want to work on one then buy some POS for $300 and roll your sleeves up...

If you want to ride one then I'd say go find one you like that is in good shape whatever that is... But it depends on your budget and taste..

Nothing after 1980?
Mine is a 1981 but I digress..

If you like the one you mentioned then I'd say there are a lot of cool bikes after 1980 that have a similar look....

If you go for a 30+ year old bike then just be prepared for the unexpected to break or fail... Be prepared for the problem of finding parts... Be aware of this when looking...some bikes are better and some are easier to find parts for.

You can find some folks who have vintage bikes in showroom condition...

Got cash?
Haha there are some cool early 80's bikes no doubt, it just seemed like the designs started getting more and more curvy during the 80's. Whereas I prefer the sort of boxy look of the older bikes. What bike do you have btw? I have about $3000 total right.. So I'm not working with a whole lot. I do think these gt250s should be fairly good for parts though. It seems like most of the 70s models were near identical and the parts SHOULD be swappable from model to model, I hope.
 

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Subversive
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What bike do you have btw?
I have a peculiar old Honda model called a CB900C... (it has 10 gears--believe it, or not)

This is her below...

I'd rather have a flat seat....alas...


I have about $3000 total right.. So I'm not working with a whole lot.
You can get a nice bike for that...IMO if you do some looking....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here's a couple of 80s+






I Like both of these but there are lots more...
Oh man those are both awesome looking bikes! Was it only suzuki that kept the 70s styling going into the 80s?? It seems like most Hondas and yamahas I've seen started going for more of a chopper-y vibe (..I really need to work on my motorcycle lingo). Btw that's a darn fine bike you've got. And 10 gears? What the deuce, what kind of sorcery is that! It must be a goddamned power horse though eh? The biggest thing I've ridden so far was an 80
 

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Subversive
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Oh man those are both awesome looking bikes! Was it only suzuki that kept the 70s styling going into the 80s??
Here's a sister bike to mine, the CB900F.... 1980-82...... I like it!




Here's a Kawi...1982



The early 80s still carried over some of the older styling... That 650 Suzuki was a killer... Shaft drive rock solid engine with 40% more HP than its rivals of the time.

Btw that's a darn fine bike you've got. And 10 gears? What the deuce, what kind of sorcery is that! It must be a goddamned power horse though eh? The biggest thing I've ridden so far was an 80

Thanks,

It's a oddball bike... 10 gears is 5 HI and 5 LO.. One for performance the other for cruising... It was a side effect of this bike being a hybrid of a CB750 and a decision to use the GL's shaft drive.

If you can ride that bike that you have well then you probably can handle going up to a mid-sized bike just fine...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well the 80cc I'm speaking of was a little 2 stroke dirtbike which is the closest thing I've come to riding a motorcycle. Those 2 bikes are damn cool too. Would you say the models from the early eighties would be reliable rides? Ones I might not have to maintain and repair constantly? I've been hearing a lot of the same thing lately, that I should forget about old bikes for now and get one no more then 10yrs old. Because apparently that's the only way to have a reliable, no fuss motorcycle to ride and take on road trips n stuff
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Kawasaki actually made KZ's well into the 80's. They are the same standard design. Where do you live Noobymon?
Oh cool I just looked those up. They were made til 84', which is still quite old but I guess maybe more reliable than something from the 70s eh? And I live in Vancouver BC.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well that explains the higher prices...everything is more expensive up there.

Another thing to consider is, some bikes that are imported to Canada are not imported to the US, and vice versa, although there are many that are to both.

How about this one? I wouldn't hesitate to look at it.

http://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rds/mcy/5108569594.html
Ya no kidding, I've thought about going down to Bellingham to get a bike because of how much cheaper they all are down there, not to mention a way better selection too. But I figure it's not worth it with the hassle and costs of registering it over here after.

And that bike looks like a sweet deal. Thanks for linking! I've been scouring cl like mad lately, I don't get how I missed that. I'd probably have to do something about that seat n those bars, but still. Do you know anything about this model? Would it be a dependable, relatively hassle free bike you think?
 
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