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skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 12:26 a.m.

Ever since I've been watching Jays Garage my interest in old bikes has perked. Last night I rented the movie "Benjamin Button" and his bike looked way awesome. I think it's an Indian.

I have never been into motorcycles until now. I still do not like crotch rockets, Harleys or any other modern motorcycle but Jays Suzuki Hustler, Vincent and the Indian in Benjamin Button make me want to own one.

Are these bikes expensive? I'm sure the Vincent is. Maybe I can start on a more basic bike (cheaper, safer, easier to work on). Where do I find bikes like this? Any suggestions on which ones to hunt for or start with? Most of these bikes are from the 30s-50s so I'm assuming they are hard to find.

Thanks.

(Sorry for those of you who read this post in the Grassroots section already. Never noticed the Sprockets section!)

skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 1:22 a.m.

double post

skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 1:22 a.m.

I had a look around Craigslist (I know I won't find anything vintage) and on the "show us your bikes" thread on this site and decided I don't want anything newer than the 60's. I want old tech, simple and small-medium in size. I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking for when searching so I'm basically going off looks. I like Grinch77s bike: Photobucket

I like the matte black paint and simple shape. Just frame, motor, suspension, brakes and steering. The only thing I'd do differently is the modern looking muffler.

I haven't done any real research in terms of pricing for the vintage bikes I mentioned in my first post....to be honest I'm scared of the prices. I'd rather hear it from you guys.

914Driver
914Driver Dork
5/13/09 5:48 a.m.

Indians and Harleys are waaay out of my budget as is most anything Vintage. Bear in mind that vintage bikes have vintage electronics and vintage (drum) brakes. Not a horrible thing, just gotta plan ahead.

The bike you show above is not vintage, cool as hell but not old. There may be other names for it but in my mind that's a Hooligan bike, a squid stripped of plastic and has MX bars. Wheelies-R-Us....

Are you handy?

Dan

914Driver
914Driver Dork
5/13/09 6:15 a.m.

16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
5/13/09 7:25 a.m.

If you want old tech and cool looks I'd either go with the bike that Dan has for sale right there ^, or look for a '70s Honda. As a beginner you may want to start out with something small, like a CB350. Here's a pic of my lightly modded '71 CB750, to give you some idea of what the old Honda's look like.

CrackMonkey
CrackMonkey HalfDork
5/13/09 7:33 a.m.

Indians and other similar bikes from that era are super expensive. Even total basket-cases.

Older Harleys from the 50s and 60s are expensive if in good condition. You still run across the occasional "barnyard" find, but like cars, that's the exception, not the rule.

Triumphs from the 60s and 70s can be affordable. Most of them are standards, so you can accessorize in a few different ways (cafe racer, touring, bobber/chopper, whatever). Lots of support, active clubs, and a little less common than Harleys of the era, so you'll stand out in the crowd. My neighbor restored an old Bonneville - sweet bike. His roommate has a new Thruxton - basically a modern Bonneville with factory cafe racer kit. Also nice.

Early Hondas (and other Japanese bikes) from the 60s and 70s are plentiful, cheap, and easy to restore. They're great for a first-time bike project. Like the Triumph, you can style them in several ways and at half the cost of a brit bike or H-D.

If you don't really know what you want, you should shoot a note to Motorcycle Classics and have them send a few back issues (or just subscribe). They cover bikes from the 60s through the 80s. Sometimes something older will sneak in. But, most of the stuff they cover is obtainable, which is key.

ChristianL
ChristianL New Reader
5/13/09 7:45 a.m.

If you've never owned a bike before, I don't recommend finding an old one and trying to restore it (or expect to ride it with just a little work). I used to work at a motorcycle shop and, trust me, there's nothing that deteriorates and "dangerfies" itself faster than an improperly stored motorcycle.

If you're looking for something that looks vintage, won't break the bank, and actually is brand new, check out Royal Enfields. Our shop used to sell them new, and they were great bikes if they were set up right. Now that the '08 models have come out with the Classic design but with the Electra's motor, they're the best of both worlds. Plus, brand-new, they can be had for a little over $4k. If you add the Continental or Scrambler kits, you can have a vintage cafe racer looking bike for under $7k total.

Appleseed
Appleseed HalfDork
5/13/09 3:01 p.m.
  • 1 for above. If you want new bike old look, Enfield is the way to go. But if you're just learning, but really want a new bike, I'd look at Suzuki's new TU250. Small, but it looks like a 70s Japanese standard.

Mental
Mental SuperDork
5/13/09 3:20 p.m.

Another for the Enfields. I still need to ad one to my collection.

Also, the 70's era BMWs, they aren't as cheap as the cool stuff 914 and 16V posted up, but have a unique look and can also go in several resto-mod directions

also you might be able to find a Ural, or Dnper as well. But honestly, unless you are all into turning your own wrenches and resurecting one, the Enfeild really is the way to go.

skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 3:23 p.m.

That Honda looks sweet. With some matte black paint and some powder coating it would really fit the bill. Honda CB350 or 750, have to remember that.

Im checking out a forum called Triumphrat.net. I like that the bike is British. It conjures images of cruising through the b-roads.

914driver- I am pretty handy, however, I've never tackled anything carbed or this old. Most of my automotive knowledge comes from working on my B13 SE-Rs and NX2000.

ChristianL- I don't think I want to buy a new bike right off the bat. I may look into if I really get the sprocket bug.

By the way, what the heck is a cafe racer?

skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 3:33 p.m.

I like the look of the Suzuki but I'm not digging the back seat. I would never take my girlfriend on the bike with me. I've always had the opinion that motorcycles are serious hazards to ones health. Too many stupid unaware drivers. Why would I drive one then? Well....its worth the risk I think. But I wouldn't want to endanger a loved ones life along with mine.

I'm sure I'd be able to modify the look of the bike, right?

I'll look into Enfields some more today.

Also, I just read an article about the Suzuki TU250 and it is described as a beginners bike. Man, that sucks. I don't want to go cruising down the road and have other riders think "that guy is a newb." I guess getting an old one is still the way to go for me. They aren't super fast so I won't die (right away), they have the look, I like working on something and making it mine, and as stupid as it sounds I still want the street cred (it hurts to say it).

skullsroad
skullsroad New Reader
5/13/09 4:05 p.m.

Founds some Hondas on CL I like. Give me your opinons!!

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/mcy/1163071069.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/mcy/1159713521.html

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/mcy/1168821537.html I would want to do some serious exterior modding on this one. i.e. Get rid of the huge seat, paint the tank and go to single exhaust.

Triumphs seem to be going for a lot more than Hondas. I found this interesting one but at 199cc I don't know how I would be able to use it. http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/mcy/1165937720.html

Found out that Enfields are not sold in CA due to our satanic SMOG laws.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
5/13/09 4:25 p.m.

if that '76 CB750 really has 'solid stock exhaust', the pipes are worth a wad to someone doing a restoration. The OE mufflers would rust badly right at the point where it bends up.

The OE exhaust has Honda part numbers stamped into the mufflers, replacements do not.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf Reader
5/13/09 4:31 p.m.

For you Enfeild nuts (and some older HD and Indians) check out http://www.enfieldracing.com/

This guy Bruce flys. It's aways nice to see him on the track with the other vintage guys.

I resently had one of his EDISON SPLITDORF "RM" MAGNETO CAP in my hand and all i can say is WOW. Nice work.

His Rubber ducky carb floats are great and PEEK manifoild seals too. Both are used in my 1952 Model K harley.

44Dwarf

No I don't work for them, but I love there products and there a stand up crew.

Mental
Mental SuperDork
5/13/09 5:31 p.m.
skullsroad wrote: ...Also, I just read an article about the Suzuki TU250 and it is described as a beginners bike. Man, that sucks. I don't want to go cruising down the road and have other riders think "that guy is a newb." I guess getting an old one is still the way to go for me. They aren't super fast so I won't die (right away), they have the look, I like working on something and making it mine, and as stupid as it sounds I still want the street cred (it hurts to say it)...

OK seriously. If you are going to ride, get that out of your head now. I see folks on small bikes or beginners bikes and I think "Good, that rider is starting smart." My buddy has been riding for 20 years and swears by his Ninja 250.

If you want cred, wear the right gear and hang with the right riders. If you feel you are getting dissed becuase of your bike, get a new crew.

I know that sounds harsh, but I see to many kids end up smeared becuase of this exact thinging, I know your aren't looking at sportbikes, but its the mentality that gets peaple hurt.

Now, a cafe racer;

wiki definition

another good link

jwdmotorsports
jwdmotorsports Reader
5/13/09 8:33 p.m.

I just bought this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150343242950&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT&viewitem=

I would look for something along these lines. Needs some work but in good shape.

Woody
Woody Dork
5/13/09 9:41 p.m.
jwdmotorsports wrote: I just bought this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150343242950&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT&viewitem= I would look for something along these lines. Needs some work but in good shape.

Very cool.

psteav
psteav Reader
5/13/09 10:33 p.m.
jwdmotorsports wrote: I just bought this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150343242950&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT&viewitem= I would look for something along these lines. Needs some work but in good shape.

I had one of those! Fun little bike, great to learn on.

Josh
Josh HalfDork
5/13/09 10:56 p.m.

That CB750 you posted can make a great cafe style bike:

http://www.cb750cafe.com/

alex
alex HalfDork
5/14/09 2:31 a.m.

Dammit, Dan. What have I told you about posting that XS? Every time, I get a little weaker...

914Driver
914Driver Dork
5/14/09 5:58 a.m.

Skullsroad, listen to the sage and experienced Mental, words of wisdom right there. The last thing you want to do is drive over your head. Don't knuckle to peer pressure, guard rails don't care.

Starter bikes are your friend for a few good reasons: 1) easy to drive, cheap to run, parts availability. 2) After one year in the saddle you can sell it for what you paid for it. Everybody wants one for their kid, wife, girlfriend whatever to learn on.

alex wrote: Dammit, Dan. What have I told you about posting that XS? Every time, I get a little weaker...

Me too. I just saw a Cadillac Limo, hugass stretch that would make a nice tow truck. $550 and 1/2 mile from my house. Maybe the Bobber is getting cheaper....

Dan

ChristianL
ChristianL New Reader
5/14/09 7:55 a.m.
914Driver wrote: Skullsroad, listen to the sage and experienced Mental, words of wisdom right there. The last thing you want to do is drive over your head. Don't knuckle to peer pressure, guard rails don't care.

Good words to live by. I tried to talk a number of people out of buying bikes to suit their egos. I also did the damage estimates on many bikes that had less than 250 miles on them, and were complete write-offs.

My favorite was a young guy who bought a GSX-R 1000 as his first bike. He did fine for 126 miles, at which point he decided to attempt his first wheelie. The bike reared up, he was able to extracate himself from it in mid-flip, and the bike's tail section caught the ground, snapping the frame right behind the fuel tank and bending the swingarm. After going over the damage with him, he looks at the repair estimate then says, "Hey, do you guys still have that black Hayabusa in the showroom?"

If you really want to get into motorcycles, find yourself something like a Suzuki TU250, an old Honda Rebel or Suzuki LS650/S40 and take a safety course. They're small, easy to handle, and are great learning tools. Most people figure out pretty quickly if motorcycling is for them, and usually sell them to another learner when they're ready to move up to something bigger.

grinch77
grinch77 New Reader
5/14/09 8:21 a.m.
914Driver wrote: Indians and Harleys are waaay out of my budget as is most anything Vintage. Bear in mind that vintage bikes have vintage electronics and vintage (drum) brakes. Not a horrible thing, just gotta plan ahead. The bike you show above is not vintage, cool as hell but not old. There may be other names for it but in my mind that's a Hooligan bike, a squid stripped of plastic and has MX bars. Wheelies-R-Us.... Are you handy? Dan

It's a '78 that's pretty vintage to me.

jwdmotorsports
jwdmotorsports Reader
5/14/09 8:27 a.m.

Vintage I guess depends on who you ask.

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