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

TwoManyXS1Bs

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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...
 

member3480

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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
 

79josh81

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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...

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.
 

79josh81

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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

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

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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.
 
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Tim Meaders

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I don’t completely disagree with that, but I’m pretty sure restoration guys lose as many times on costs as guys who chop bikes do. Some guys want to buy restorations and some guys want to buy bobbers and choppers. Some chopper guys wouldn’t spend the amount of money a restoration is worth just like some restoration guys wouldn’t even think about buying a chopper at the price that it’s worth. Custom and restoration bikes are one in the same in that, whether it’s $4000 or $40,000, your bike is only worth what the highest bidder will pay for it.

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.
 

fredintoon

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The title says it all. lol

So since I just finished my new bike, I started throwing around the idea of selling the bobber in my profile pic that I finished this past December because I would like to get a used fishing boat for my family. The way I look at it is that I can always build another cooler bike and building is the really fun part to me anyways. So yesterday I put the bike up for sale on craigslist and facebook. Guessing what would be a fair price for the bike (being that i've only put about 100 miles on it since it's been built), just off the top of my head from what I thought I spent and what I was hoping to make extra, I came to $5,500 (I know, I know, hear me out. lol).

So today when I got up I thought about the price. I knew I hadn't priced it with any sentimental value included but I also would like it to sell so I promptly lowered the price to $4,400 thinking that I would still make a little bit on the bike just so I could feel good about myself.

At this point I got curious as to what the actual total cost was to me throughout the build just so I knew. The costs I wanted to figure out were just the cost of the donor bike and the brand new parts I added. I didn't include all of the "extras" in the total cost like welding gas/wire, new fluids, LED bulbs...blah blah blah etc...etc. So I went through my email from the date I started the project to the date I finished it and found every receipt for every online order I had for all of the brand new parts that were put into the bike. The donor bike I bought was $900 cash. And the total of all of the new parts was ..... get ready....$2,904.62!!! So on a bare minimum I'm at least into the bike for $3,800.

Jesus I thought, if my wife knew this I might have to include another $500 into that cost just for the new bed I would have to buy so I have something to sleep in at night. So, I now understand that if you want to make a couple bucks on building bikes, don't build it for yourself. lol Because I built it for myself, I literally went through everything and replaced and upgraded everything. Even if I didn't need to upgrade certain parts or replace them I did because I wanted this bike to run like it just came off the assembly line in 1979. I think I mostly succeeded in that goal because the bike really does run about as good as any newer bike but trying to sell it for what it would be worth just wouldn't be practical. Hopefully if I do sell it to someone who knows these bikes they’ll appreciate the time and parts put into it and at least see it’s value in what was spent.

So...if you want to make money on building these bikes (which I never planned on doing anyways), build shitty bikes with shitty parts, and as long as the current shitty parts work, keep the shitty parts because anything other than shitty costs money. lol Jeeezzeeee....

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.
 

79josh81

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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.
 
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Superjet

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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
 

79josh81

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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.
 

halfmile

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Sell for a profit?:umm: I wonder how many of these Indian FTR`s were bought on speculation? Kinda reminds me of the 1978 Corvette Pace Car.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2019-India...261247?hash=item2ced44aa3f:g:AqEAAOSwl-ddDlW8
s-l225.webp
 

member3480

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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.
 

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barncat

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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.
 
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fredintoon

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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.

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?
 

650trader

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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
 
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