Here at Limey Bikes, we have noticed that there is an alarming trend going on in Austin. It’s called ‘Paying way too much for a complete pile of crap syndrome’. This is probably caused by an overwhelming urge to have that cute, vintage motorcycle of your dreams coupled with a severe lack of patience.
So, here are a few rules that might help you not land yourself with a bike that will cost literally thousands to get right. This list will be updated and modified on occasion.
- Just because it’s old, doesn’t make it worth something. I have seen many bikes which I personally wouldn’t pay a couple of hundred bucks for advertised on CL for more than $2000.
- If it doesn’t run properly, don’t pay good money! In my experience it’s almost NEVER just a carb cleaning.
- Cosmetics are important. If a bike looks like it’s been looked after, it probably has. If there are wires hanging out, a loose chain, bald tires, bad idle or anything else that doesn’t look or work right… there will be more issues you don’t know about yet. Bear this in mind when working out if it’s a good buy.
- If a bike hasn’t run in more than 5 years it will need a lot of care to get roadworthy. The cost of doing this is usually between $800 and $1500 depending on what it is and how long it’s been sitting.
- Most of the small Honda twins (anything smaller than the CB350) are often harder and more expensive to get right as parts are getting harder to get now. I would recommend the CB100 or CB125 single cylinder bikes (they did CL, TL and XL versions too) if you want something small, as they are very simple to work on, fun and cute as hell.
- If you don’t know about old bikes and want to buy one… for the love of all things vintage, ASK THE HELP OF SOMEONE THAT DOES before shelling out a few grand.
- Limey Bikes offers a pre-purchase inspection for 2 whole milk lattes. Just bring the bike to the shop and we will let you know what it likely needs and if it's worth buying.
Most of the time we can give you a good idea if it’s worth what they are asking from a good photo and a good description.
- DO NOT forget that old bike are old. Things wear out and things break after time, so be prepared to maintain your machine and things may go wrong even if it's all good now.
- Low mileage is IRRELEVANT! A bike that’s been looked after well and has been ridden regularly will still be a good bike. A bike that’s been sitting in a shed for the last 30 years and only has 500 miles from new will be a mess! Think how you’d feel if you’d been locked in a shed for the last 30 years unable to move… bikes are the same.
- Don’t think you are helping the poor mechanic who will end up with your mess by starting a project you can’t finish yourself. Most diagnostics are done when disassembling an engine or carbs. If we miss that process, then problems can be missed too. Plus it takes longer to find all the little bits you have lost in the process.