Resurrecting an old bike - how much will it cost?

halfmile

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So the news says the used car market is up 37-40%. IMHO not so for motorcycles. My FB search is set at a 500 mi radius of Topeka. This morning there are 51 XS650`s in one form or another. Out of all those there are only 3 I would consider really nice bikes and all 3 are under 4K. I don`t follow the Harley market anymore but I`d bet there are more than a thousand in the 10 state area my search covers. That`s got to be a buyers market for sure. In the video the $400 for paperwork is pretty close but the rest is just bumping up against the tip of the iceburg.:yikes:
 

RC4MAN

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Always costs more than you think. Few years ago a lady friend of my wife, she bought her son a Kaw 900 Vulcan Custom. HE got into his cups one night, run it over a curb and dropped it and because of his condition didn't turn it in on insurance. It sat in his back yard in Florida for 2-3 years under a quickly deteriorating plastic tarp.
I gave her $500 for it intending to fix it up for my wife to supplant her Honda 750 Shadow. I figured I could get it up to snuff reasonably inexpensively. What I learned is I would have done better to part it out, $1000 for the engine, $500 for the chassis with title, another $200 for misc bits n pieces.
Instead I spent 2 years and around $2500 making a pretty nice ride out of it.
Frame and forks were straight. However Tank, headlamp, bars and controls, wheels and everything on the right side was trash.
In the end wife didn't like the fit so I sold it for $2700
Didn't lose as much as I could have and felt good about the job I did.
 

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Raymond

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I think it has all been said - most of us will never make money out of old motorbikes, I don't suppose it's any sort of priority either. We do it for fun, in my case because I enjoy riding around on traditional bikes. But I have to admit, the process of fixing them up can also be fun or at least rewarding. You learn to do new things. Plus you often meet interesting people.

It's a fair question - how much will it cost to get my “new to me” old bike running, roadworthy, safe and reliable? You can start with the flippant answer, think of a number, double it, double it again to be on the safe side. But it will be of more help to have a conversation - tell them it's not just about the money, it's more about time, skills, a place to work on the bike, new skills you will need to learn.

This has become a world of unseen technology we just have to trust or not trust. Impersonal. Old motorbikes are an antidote because they are tangible, they break in ways we can understand, which means we can choose to fix them. And you get a very personal sense of connection riding a bike you have worked on yourself.

Now, did I remember to tighten that brake torque arm?
 

fredintoon

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Yes, with all the needed upkeep, my 650s are good at keeping me outta the bars at night, lol. But, now that I'm older, the simple fact is I just don't drink that much anymore, not like in my younger days. And being retired helps with that too. I think some of those hard days at work drove me to drink, lol.
Hi 5T,
it ain't the bike's price so much as the cost of it's insurance.
my '84 model XS650 is old enough to register as an antique in Saskatchewan, which means I can afford to keep it insured all summer.
The plate cost for my son's modern bike (which he can only ride the one week in four that he's home from the oil patch) is so high
that he finds it cost-effective to operate the bike on temporary permits.
 

motormike

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Let's assume you have a restorable Xs and you're going to do most of the tear down and assembly. Paint with be $1500.oo and up. Powder coating the black frame and other bits, $500.oo. Chrome, without the aftermarket mufflers, about $2000,oo. Basic engine top end, with you turning the wrench.... 2nd over piston, gaskets..etc etc..bore work, valve work, $600-750.oo, Hours behind the buffer, which can be purchased for around $90.oo. Seat cover... consumables, chain, sprockets, tires-tubes, spokes, battery electrics..etc etc........ $$$$.... You'll have $5-7000.oo... Certain Xs models are selling in that area.. Will the price go up..... ? A restored 650 Brit... can't be had for less the $12,000.oo. The parallels might be more than just being parallel twins. :)
 

jetmechmarty

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Let's assume you have a restorable Xs and you're going to do most of the tear down and assembly. Paint with be $1500.oo and up. Powder coating the black frame and other bits, $500.oo. Chrome, without the aftermarket mufflers, about $2000,oo. Basic engine top end, with you turning the wrench.... 2nd over piston, gaskets..etc etc..bore work, valve work, $600-750.oo, Hours behind the buffer, which can be purchased for around $90.oo. Seat cover... consumables, chain, sprockets, tires-tubes, spokes, battery electrics..etc etc........ $$$$.... You'll have $5-7000.oo... Certain Xs models are selling in that area.. Will the price go up..... ? A restored 650 Brit... can't be had for less the $12,000.oo. The parallels might be more than just being parallel twins. :)
If you just want to run and old XS650, find a decent one and fix it without concern for cosmetic restoration, it can be pretty cheap. Of course that does require some skill and/or luck as well.
 
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Khapty

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I learned long ago that in most cases there is no such thing as an investment in motorcycle restoration. Particularly in these xs’s. Now maybe if a young fellow can hold onto one of these long enough their values may rise a little, but that is not typically the case. The cost of restoration typically exceeds the value someone is willing to pay. I am sure Bowling can chime in on this as he has restored and sold several recently, but any profit surely would not cover the cost your many hours of labor. The only profits I have ever made on a motorcycle has been from flipping a bike before money was spent in new parts. But that’s just me….. I think anyone going into this needs to look at it as a hobby/ labor of love. For me it’s the enjoyment of time in the shop and the accomplishment of building something nice from what used to be a lump. Just remember, there is no such thing as a FREE bike…
I do it for the same reasons - just the love of working with it. Makes me feel connected to it in some way, and the memories of places it took me. Never thought of making money on it though most likely I will not sell it and my son will get it. He rides a relatively recent Honda 350. Way to go, Willis!
 

Rasputin

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Old bike restoration is ££££££££££ in UK.
just finished paying for the parts and services for the engine. Pushing £1000.
Good job I’m not charging myself £40 per hr labour too.
 

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Jan_P

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Yes there is the ride it
Then there is no repaint --no re chrome ---no powder coating -- no rebore I have managed to stay off that in close to 40 years
The consumables is needed for any rolling vehicle If some dents is tolerated parts are at the salvage yard. Löw Budget

The other approach like Mr Mailman's world class build. I don't know the US prices but I would be surprised if it is not over $ 10000
here in Europe ..And then making it perhaps one that can make money selling it.
That appears to be a collectors Museum quality rebuild . There are rich people out there Who pays for quality

I remember reading of an American Car enthusiast Bought himself a Ferrari Daytona Spyder .. Dont remember the price
But they are never cheap. Regardless of status.
He Ordered a freight probably Air lifted the car to the Ferrari factory in-Italy having them do the refurbish. Rebuild.
Is that foolish ... not necessarily .. Since again there are rich people there .Who can be interested to pay for things he want.
 

jetmechmarty

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On my last five restores I spent $1800 to $2900 for parts plus buying the bike and shipping is another $2K +$800 shipping. I keep track of all parts in an excel spreadsheet.
You're on the high end XS650s. If you were trying to live on 1978 Specials, you'd go broke!
 

Downeaster

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On my last five restores I spent $1800 to $2900 for parts plus buying the bike and shipping is another $2K +$800 shipping. I keep track of all parts in an excel spreadsheet.

Over several years of fixing up tractors and motorcycles, I have learned NEVER to keep track of expenses. Two reasons:

1. Sooner or later, the "total" column is going to give you chest pains. At our age, that's no fun at all.
2. There's always a chance SWMBO will come across it and then you can kiss twice that number goodbye on what I call the "SET"...Spousal Equity Tax.
 

MaxPete

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Over several years of fixing up tractors and motorcycles, I have learned NEVER to keep track of expenses. Two reasons:

1. Sooner or later, the "total" column is going to give you chest pains. At our age, that's no fun at all.
2. There's always a chance SWMBO will come across it and then you can kiss twice that number goodbye on what I call the "SET"...Spousal Equity Tax.

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