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Discussion Starter #1
I love the look of a lot of vintage Indian bikes. (Though for my first bike I don't want more than 250cc). But do vintage bikes require extra experience in terms of caring for them and riding them?

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Commute Racer
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Give yourself every advantage as a beginner. Get the easiest bike to ride and care for that your wallet can support.

You don't want to be that guy who quits riding after 1 season because his bike sat in the garage too often to make it worth keeping.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Def glad I asked. I will put my vintage bike hopes off until I am more experienced. Best for my saftey and my wallet :) but I will admire pictures of them still

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Looking at pictures is good! I have been riding 50 years and do a lot of my own mechanical work but know full well that a 1903-1920 Indian or Harley is WELL beyond what I can afford to buy, feed, or maintain! I dabble with 1960s Hondas instead and even they soak up a lot of money and time before they are ride-able. The old stuff you take on because you like tinkering and the riding is secondary.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Looking at pictures is good! I have been riding 50 years and do a lot of my own mechanical work but know full well that a 1903-1920 Indian or Harley is WELL beyond what I can afford to buy, feed, or maintain! I dabble with 1960s Hondas instead and even they soak up a lot of money and time before they are ride-able. The old stuff you take on because you like tinkering and the riding is secondary.
That is good to know. I don't have any tinkering experience so they may be something I admire from a distance.

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Gone
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Jay Leno has a lot of vintage motorcycles. But he can likely afford them.

The costs to restore and maintain really old bikes will often surpass their actual value by quite a bit.

If you have to pay someone to do the work, you might as well buy new in many cases. It will be cheaper.
 

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Gone.
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In addition to buying and maintaining a vintage bike, depending on what it is you might also be challenged in just riding it, even if it's in top mechanical condition. For example you might need to be able to work a rocker clutch....with your foot! While shifting gears with your hand. If your vintage bike has a normal clutch and footshift, the gear selector might be on the right hand side.

And that vintage Indian you are admiring likely has the throttle on the left hand grip, and when you rotate the right hand grip that controls the spark advance. Twist your right wrist at the wrong time and you can foul out your plugs and you're coasting to a stop at the side of the road.

You might also have to learn to adjust your own engine oiler. Many old bikes had a total loss system, where you hand pumped oil into the engine at a steady rate, then stopped to drain it out every 500 miles or so.

The list goes on and on, and you certainly ARE capable of owning and operating a nice vintage bike, but you'll likely want to start learning to ride and wrench on something a little more modern.
 
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