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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

My first post so please go easy on me :)

I'm yet to buy a classic bike and so I'm doing some research and wanted to ask what's the ONE thing you wish you'd known before you went out and bought a classic bike?

Also, whats the number 1 biggest challenge related to owning a Classic bike would you say?

I'm looking for some honest feedback and appreciate the time in helping me out here. Thank you all.
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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How many other people are bidding for that same exact rare part on Ebay.

The fact that you can buy a restored classic for far less than you can restore one, doubly so if you assign any value to your labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How many other people are bidding for that same exact rare part on Ebay.

The fact that you can buy a restored classic for far less than you can restore one, doubly so if you assign any value to your labor.
Good point! I bet a lot of people don't take into consideration their time spent on restoration! Obviously if it's a hobby some don't mind "tinkering" in the garage or workshop - but I totally get your point!
 

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Vintage Rider
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422 Posts
Stay focused on finding something that is as complete as possible, as well as unmolested. Unless your just looking for a project to cafe, and then you'll loose your a$$ quickly, if you start out with a nice survivor.
Also being able to do your own work is mandatory. If you don't understand electrical components and ignition systems you'll be in a world of hurt. How carburetors work, is also a huge plus.
 

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Pale Rider
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528 Posts
Availability of parts is paramount. If you have a particular bike model and year in mind, do some homework to see what parts are available. No parts, and it becomes a paperweight.

What mod's do you want? There are vintage mod's which can make a great ride, even better. For example, I bought a 1979 Honda CB750K, in 2006. It had a Vetter Vindicator fairing, but I wanted the lowers, and saddlebags. I was able to adapt a pair of Vetter Lowers to fit it because it required only a little cutting, and the correct Lowers just don't exist anymore. Saddlebags were easy, but I had to look beyond the "fits these bikes only", headings on catalog sites -- I had to interpolate what would/would not work based on my knowledge, and what I could discern from the catalog photo's online. Everything worked, fit, and functioned. It was a beautiful bike, and fun to ride. Got a lot of compliments on it, too.

I knew, going into it, that parts would be challenging to find, but you'd be amazed what pops up on e-Bay... I bought a 1983 Kawasaki 440LTD, in 2009, and I found a pair of engine guard bars ("crash bars") on e-Bay for it: custom fit, no substituting on these. I also found a Vetter QuickSilver fairing, and the correct mounting bracket for that model bike.

Be sure to check tire sizes, and availability. My son purchased an older Yamaha sport bike, but we could only find two tires, different makers, to fit it! Nothing else would fit the OEM rims. That bike was not that old, but it just had odd sized rims, which really created issues.

Best of luck with your project. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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I'd say the biggest obstacle with any classic is parts availability and price. Decide what you want and the start researching.

I just a 1967 Honda 305 - would have taken either a Dream (C77) or Superhawk (CB77). I quickly discovered that a pair of repro mufflers would cost more than the restored bike was worth and original mufflers were as scarce as hen's teeth! An original seat in deplorable condition would have cost hundreds of dollars and seats in good shape were nonexistent. So, going in, I knew it wasn't going to be a "restoration" so I just had fun with it.



I have a CB160 awaiting restoration but parts are readily available and a LOT cheaper than the 305 parts.

Know where you are going before you start!
 

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Veteran Member
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3,275 Posts
The real #1 problem is parts availability. But that's been covered.

The next problem is you cannot ride it if you expect to get anywhere on time. Even if you have a reliable classic, you will spent 10 times as long as you should at the gas pump, because everyone will want to look at and talk to you about the bike. :D
 

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American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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That happens with new ones too Lurch. Trust me on that.:)
 

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Yes it does. Especially with a new and relatively rare bike like yours.

The old lady in my garage is a first generation CB750. What I've discovered about these bikes is that every single person over 50 years old has owned one, misses it, and has a story or 10 to tell you about it. :D
 

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Gone.
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Parts availability can sometimes be easier or harder depending on brand and model. The more popular a bike is the more likely there is to be aftermarket part support for it. For example I have a 60 year old motorcycle that I can pick up a catalog and order any and every part on it. A friend of mine has a bike that's only 18 years old and finding any parts at all is a real hassle.

Of course, being able to afford those parts can be another story, and if you're a stickler for all OEM parts you'll have to do some hunting too.
 

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The biggest challenge of owning a classic? You may discover that one is not enough, and your car will never see the inside of your garage again...
 

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Aging & Worn
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When does my 2004 Fatboy qualify for "Classic"Plates? 2014 (ten years)?
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Most places it is 25 years. Check with your DMV
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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And prepare to do the wrenching yourself. There were times I just didn't have time to work on all my vintage bikes, and finding someone willing to work on the old stuff was nearly impossible. And the ones I did find, I usually needed to check their work and repair their screwups. (Needing to readjust a carb and finding my air cleaner missing comes to mind). :mad:
 

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Aging & Worn
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Thanks Lurch. Cages and motorcycles have the same criteria?
 

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On The Road Again!
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Most places it is 25 years. Check with your DMV
Yep, 25 here in Jersey too. Classic registration is a big advantage
here in Jersey. You pay a ONE TIME $24 registration fee and never pay
anything again, ever. A newer bike is $65 a year! I don't know how they
justify that thievery.
 

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Veteran Member
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Thanks Lurch. Cages and motorcycles have the same criteria?
Yes. They make one rule for all vehicles. But be sure to check out the restrictions on the plates. Here in WI we pay a one time fee, then never pay a registration again. But we cannot drive/ride a vehicle with collector, hobby, or antique plates during the month of January. Which isn't a problem, roads are ice, snow, and salt that time of year. But the rule is to help prevent people, who only want the plates to avoid registration fees, from registering any old junker and using it as their daily driver. We also have to have at least one other non-collector vehicle registered with the state. Again, to show that we aren't using the vehicle as our daily vehicle and only doing it to avoid yearly registration fees.
 
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