1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  3. Hey Facebook people... We've created a group for XS650.com members to connect. Check it out!
    Dismiss Notice

I just realized I can't make money building bikes.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 79josh81, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    I posted this 6 years ago:

    Was chatting with a county clerk last year, her husband owns an auto salvage yard. Mentioned seeing a pristine XS1B auctioned-off on eBay, at a fairly high price, only to go to a junkyard. Its parts have now flooded eBay, at incredible prices ($150 just for the mirror?!?!).

    She said "Oh, yeah, that's how to make good money in the salvage business! Parted-out, a collectable is worth 100 times its assembled street value. We do that all the time. Know where I can find one?"

    So, essentially, youze guyz are doing it backwards...
    jonesey, Jim, Superjet and 6 others like this.
  2. I have built and sold a lot of bikes and the market goes up and down but if you build something different it will sell. Not big money but sell. The problem now with these bikes are the cost of the upgraded parts that you think you have to put on bike. CARBS/PMA/PAMCO-BOYER now heres $1000.00 right off the jump. Bike in decent shape that doesn't need motor rebuilt $1500. Now you are at $2500 and its not together yet . If you do lights /turnsignals etc $250.00 Now tubes and tires $200.00 Now the biggie Labor at least 30 hours . Now you are way over $3500 and you sell to break even HAHA
  3. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    Tim Meaders and MaxPete like this.
  4. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    I absolutely believe this. I've seen some of the prices for stock XS parts online and some are definitely insane. I have a ton of stock parts laying around too but I'm too lazy to individually clean them all and take the time to list them separately on ebay.
    TwoManyXS1Bs, MaxPete and lakeview like this.
  5. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    Exactly. I never built it to make money either. I thought MAYBE I could make a few bucks extra. That was until I realized I spent twice as much on the new parts than I originally had thought. lol
    gggGary likes this.
  6. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Probably about the only reliable way to make money as a backyard MC shop is FINDING inexpensive "abandoned" bikes that are marketable when fixed up to run and look decent. Do just what is needed to make them look and ride well. Hint pick bikes you like to ride cuz you can't always win. Even that is going to require a pretty good investment in shop equipment and knowledge. You also have to quickly find out if your treasure is worth repairing. So you can cut your losses if it isn't. It takes room to do this cuz to get good bikes going, you may need to buy 2 or 3 of the same model "projects", pick and choose "best" parts and sell off what you don't need before your shed looks like mine. If it's a business you get to do the not fun stuff as well as "Christmas shopping".
    Hint keep you mind open, If you only look for one make model, it might take a LONG time to find your victims.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  7. Tim Meaders

    Tim Meaders Not another Old man on an Harley! XS650.com Supporter

    Unless of course your name is L Ron H, then you can ask $85,000.00 IE: Eflay ad. I'm sure Tom and John had first shot at this. I wonder why they passed.
    The next time John fly's over my house going to Tampa (He's a few miles N. of me) I'll be sure to look to the sky's and ask Why, why why.
    MaxPete and gggGary like this.
  8. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Josh,
    no matter how much time & money you put into a bike, it's resale price is only what someone is willing to pay.
    I don't see your chopper selling for much more than $1,500.
    And you want to put that money into a boat?
    A boat is a hole in the water for pouring money into.
  9. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    Yeah we’ll see what happens. The parts are brand new so I’d part it out before I’d sell it for $1500. I’ve seen people buy dirty running stock bikes for $1500 so I don’t agree with you that someone wouldn’t pay more than that for a chop that was just finished with everything that’s new on it. The bike is literally in pristine condition since it’s barely been riden. I would even buy a chopped bike that’s all beat up and rode hard for $1500. But if I was searching Craigslist for a motorcycle and came across a clean looking bike with numerous new parts and upgrades I would never expect for someone to sell it to me for $1500. I think even the average person knows they won’t get a nice looking motorcycle for $1500. Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  10. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Junkie Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    A co-worker has a few boats and they are money pits. I would compare the cost of a boat to having a snowmobile which includes costs of getting the boat where you need it too.

    There is no money to be made at all on a custom/resto to these bikes....ask anyone here. We do it cause we love the bike. That is what I have been telling my wife :lmao::lmao::D:D
    MaxPete, Mailman and 79josh81 like this.
  11. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    Yeah everything anyone wants to buy is essentially a money pit to someone else. I mean building bikes is a money pit to other people who don’t get it but we all enjoy the process so I guess, for me anyways, building bikes isn’t a money pit at all because I want to do it and I get something out of it. Now the insurance payments on my bikes, now that’s a money pit.
  12. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    So I guess long story short, if the bike does sell for a reasonable price and I’m able to get a boat then good. If it doesn’t sell for a reasonable price, then I guess I’ll go buy a boat anyways and I’ll still have another rad bike to ride. It’s a win win really.
  13. halfmile

    halfmile XS Builder Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

  14. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Think I'll wait and pay half or less LOL
    79josh81 likes this.
  15. I am building 6 bikes this year and four will be for sale . Two I know I will make a little money on. The one that's a throw away is a rat bike that me and a buddy built but we don't have a lot of money in it and it was a lesson bike to teach him how to build. The other is a Mono Shock XS650 but again bike was being built by me and my cousin chris to teach him how to build. The other two will be a little bagger style and the other a long low drop seat. Those will go on line for sale. Rat bike if I get close to $2000 that's good. Mono $3000 that's good and the others we will see. Mono being built so we can offer a kit for XS650 - CB 750 - CB550 - GS 750 and up to GS1100. The bike to build now that draws the money is a CB750 Café. Plus the VTX 1300 Baggers but you are going to have $6000 in bike and parts before sale. Friend of mine built one and got $11000.00 on ebay . Here is a picture of some that others built.

    Attached Files:

    gggGary and 79josh81 like this.
  16. barncat

    barncat XS650 Addict

    This is a topic i know a lot about. 15 years and about 20 cafe style builds of various makes, primarily 70's vintage. Already had a fully equipped shop.

    1) Scan craigslist for deals. Never pay over 400 bucks for a project bike. It must be Titled. They are never running so you must know how to assess them. I've scored a CB450 for $125 and a GS1000 for $200.

    2) Your design and aesthetic sense must be impeccable. If guys aren't coming over to compliment you on your builds every time you stop for gas or park it somewhere, forget it.

    3) NEVER buy new parts. REFURBISH. You have to MAKE custom parts, and eBay is your friend for used stuff- building would be impossible without it. The only exception is new parts for which there is absolutely no alternative. Also, skip the pricey paint and powder coating that destroy budgets. The wire wheel is indispensable however- and i mean every bolt and nut etc...

    4) This is a hobby. Plan on investing 200 hours minimum/ build, including top end work that should include porting and "free" performance mods. You must be a skilled tuner. It had better run as good as it looks.

    If you adhere to the above, and are willing to wait 6 months or more to make a sale, you can net a couple grand. But you're working for less than minimum wage.

    This ain't the rarified TV world of OCC et al... it can be very frustrating, but it's fun and rewarding to be test pilot for your junk-turned-art that'll do 100mph.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    Machine, 79josh81, Mailman and 3 others like this.
  17. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi josh,
    perhaps your market area is richer than mine and a nice chop would sell for more than $1,500 BUT I hae me doubts you'll see your investment back, eh?
  18. 79josh81

    79josh81 XS650 Addict

    Yeah who knows I guess. All I can do is put it up and see what happens.
  19. 650trader

    650trader XS650 Enthusiast

    Correction : the last 500 "Specials" were sent to Holland and sold as 1985 models.
    These were built for the USA but at the time everyone wanted Virago's or XJ's
    gggGary likes this.

Share This Page