Want to buy an old motorcycle and restore it into a sweet little cafe racer? It may not be a bad idea. Here’s why.
First, before we get started, this needs to be clearly stated: Don’t just buy the first old motorcycle you come across. In fact, buying the right old motorcycle can make restoring an old motorcycle a dream. Buying the wrong one can turn your dream into a nightmare. Be sure to check out that link so you know how to tell the difference.
Now, on to the reasons why buying an old motorcycle can be a great idea:
When comparing the costs of maintenance of old versus new motorcycles, the differences are clear. New motorcycles will have many additional parts which need servicing, inspection, lubrication, and replacement, over their older counterparts. You’ll never have to worry about your ABS sensor or side-stand sensor failing on your 1970s old motorcycle.
Likewise, new motorcycles feature radiators and fuel injection over traditional air fins for cooling as well as carburettors. Carburettors are particularly inexpensive to test, modify, repair, and service, over fuel injectors. Many riders will do this work themselves, but even those that won’t will benefit from an experienced mechanic’s familiarity with carburettors over fuel-injection technology which requires special tools and programs.
Old school cool
The real defining difference between buying an old motorcycle and a new one is that old style look of motorcycles that just isn’t so common anymore. Universal Japanese Motorcycles (UJMs), old school bobbers, choppers, and cafe racers. Anyone can go to the dealership and pick up the latest and greatest. They can go five at a time and all leave with the same machine. Rare are those lucky enough to have a classic motorcycle from an era gone by in pristine condition. Those get lots of attention and nods of admiration from riders all around.
Buying an old motorcycle can be a bit of a financial game of russian roulette. One that’s been sitting for some time can require anywhere from a modest to an over-the-top investment to get it running properly again. A used old motorcycle that’s been a daily ride can be a stable investment however, as generally the prices reach a certain “rock bottom” that they do not dip below.
Design and ergonomics that cost you 5x more in a new model
Getting that universal Japanese motorcycle look now would cost you over $13,000 for a 2013 Honda CB1100, or more than $9,000 for a 2013 Royal Enfield Chrome Cafe Racer or a Triumph Bonneville. At those kinds of prices you could afford a couple of the originals that inspired the modern versions of these bikes. Sure, the technology and components won’t be up to snuff with the current generation, but the used old motorcycles come for a fraction of the cost.
In truth, it isn’t always all good. Some people get unlucky, or make ill informed decisions by their own fault. If you’re undecided about what to do, please read 5 Reasons Not to Buy an Old Motorcycle.