What To Know When Buying A Vintage Motorbike

an old-fashioned girl on a vintage motorcycle

Hi there guys, hope you are doing fine! I decided to devote this post to buying vintage bikes because lots of readers ask me why I deal with outdated motorcycels and what is it so special about them. The folks who know me keep asking why I suggest my friends buy old bikes and restore them rather than new ones. The answer is simple – I enjoy dealing with bikes, it’s a hobby of mine. So, apart from the price, you can get a lot of fun and of course knowledge of your bike. You’ll get to know it really well and will have no problem solving most issues you might face on the road.

Are you burning to get an old piece of machinery to work on for many hours, and to pay a small fortune for it? This means you’re ready to buy a vintage motorbike. If you know what to look for, you can avoid the scarcity of spare parts, the busted knuckle and the piles of money invested in keeping the beast alive and kicking. In the article I’ll try to share my experience on what you have to know when shopping around for a vintage motorbike.

According to Biker Report the most important piece of advice you can take on board is to avoid buying the first motorbike you come across, no matter how wonderful it may seem. You should set your priorities right and know exactly what you’re looking for, as a cruiser is radically different from a café racer. You have to know what type of motorbike suits you best. Furthermore, you should device upon a particular brand before starting your research, as this is going to save you a lot of time along the way. If you are new to motorbikes, you should join a bunch of expert forums and ask the other members what to look for.

Understand what you’re getting into. All vintage motorbikes require some work, and even the well maintained ones will develop issues that never occur in new vehicles. If you notice minor flaws, you should try to negotiate the price with the seller. Nonetheless, you have to understand that finding spare parts for a 50 year old Harley Davidson is always going to be easier than replacing parts on a similarly aged BSA or Yamaha.

When you find your dream bike, take your time, and examine it thoroughly. If you went to meet the seller at his location, check the engine to see how hot it is. A warm engine may be a signal that the owner warmed it up to reach the operating temperature, with the purpose of hiding the smoky start.

Don’t forget to check the exhaust. Rust, as well as discoloration, is usually a sign that the bike had spent many hours on a bad tune. It’s easy to figure out that this excessive heat has also affected the engine.

Look carefully on the ground to see if there are any leaks. Ask where the motorcycle is usually stored, and take a look at that place. If you notice dark splotches on the cement, you can be sure you’re going to have to deal with expensive repairs in the future.

The tension in the chain should have about one inch up and down travel. Minor rust signs are normal. Check that the teeth on the sprocket look good.

Look inside the tank, searching for excessive rust or sediment, as this would cost you a lot of time and money to eliminate.

Next, test all the electronic circuits and make sure everything works. Leaky seals on the forks may mean trouble, so search for them carefully. Compress the front suspension, and seek for liquid on the forks. If you notice a thin film of fluid, you can be sure you’ll have to replace the inner seals, should you purchase that bike. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s good to know right off the bat what kind of expenses you should expect once you buy the bike.

Look over the bike for crash damage. Everything that’s new and shiny might be a sign that something has recently happened. It is also possible that some parts have been replaced as part of routine maintenance, so don’t be extremely suspicious.

Last but not least, check the title. Everything should match, so that you can be sure you’re not buying a stolen motorbike. Checking the mileage will help you know how much the bike was ridden during its life. High mileage should be assign of sturdiness, and that’s what we all wish.

Oh, and one more thing – don’t expect the restoration process, if your new motorbike needs one, to be fast and easy. Yet, there is nothing is this world you can’t cope with if you have a strong desire to do this.

Alex White
Alex White
I'm just a guy who values 3 things in life: girls, bikes and freedom. I get them all with my custom-built Dnipro MT. Cossack motorcycles are truly unique and reliable bikes if being treated right, and I decided to create this blog and share my vast experience and love for cossack bikes with other bikers all over the world. Need my help or advice? Contact me via skype or email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *