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Restoration project, which Honda?

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Samboss260, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. So the bug is biting and I'd like to get a bike to tinker with and restore, either close to original specs or a cafe racer of sorts.

    I've looked at a couple on ebay, but they seem high in price and they don't even run. It doesn't bother me if they don't run but I'm not paying $800 for a non runner.

    Which leads me to my next question, if I was to narrow the field down to a Honda, what models would you suggest I include on my list? Purchase price upto around $400.

    So far I have on my list
    CX500 - V twin and shaft driven
    CB750 - first of Honda's big four

    What else and why ?
  2. #2 bart406, Aug 22, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
    If you can find something solid to begin with, you will probably find by the time you have finished, the initial $400 price difference will appear trivial. A few hundred extra up front is worth it if you can start with a good base.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. That is true Bart, good point. But for a couple of extra hundred dollars I'd expect at least a running bike. The ones for sale at the moment either have no engine fitted "was running but have removed it" or the engine doesn't run.

    As you mentioned, a bit more could be stretched for a decent base in running order.
  4. Tough market segment now Sam. A CB750 is any condition is being priced at $2k because a restored one is priced at over $10k. And CXs have gone a bit nuts with the customisers after them. Soon every tidy little '70s CB250 twin will have been turned into an ugly little brat bike.

    Being lucky seems to be the best shot for your budget. Getting something that at least starts is essential, though that doesn't necessarily spare you reconditioning costs. But this will add a few hundred as a runner over 250cc is usually worth closer to a grand. I understand your interest in a Honda but some of the orphans from other brands offer better pricing, like this Suzuki on Gumtree: http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/rothwell/motorcycles/selling-my-1983-suzuki-gsx-550-esd/1026133455

    Cheap and cheerful seems to be the preserve of we fanbois of tiny Hondas! Good luck with the search.
  5. I'm doing a CX500 myself.

    There's a great Aussie forum for these bikes with HEAPS of support, and people post up when they see good (and not so good) ones for sale.


    Whatever you plan to buy certainly do your research first so that you can determine -
    Can that bike deliver the end result you want?

    $400 isn;t much - in fact it isnt enough. If you buy a $400 bike it will take more than $600 to bring it up to the standard of a bike you could buy for $1000. (Hope that makes sense). Buying TOO cheap can be a false economy.

    What's your mechanical ability like? Mine's near non existent. The CX500 is easy to work on though !

    Good luck !
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Thanks Peter. Yes tough market indeed. The ones that I have seen are all non-runners and upto the $800 mark. Maybe I do have broaden my search.

    PS. Long time no hear, we must catch up soon for a ride and coffee.
  7. Cheers Vlad, in fact your thread was a factor in my "sudden urge" to tackle thi sort of project, so thanks... I think. You do make a good point in buying too cheap a bike, totally makes sense.

    My mechanical ability has been fairly low if non existent, but I've always wanted to tackle a restoration, be it a car or bike. And right now I don't have the room nor funds for a car, but a bike... yes.

    I will check out that link and have a snoop around.

  8. As the others have said, $400 will get you next to nothing. Perhaps a frame or bike without engine - and if so, whats the point in that.

    Good luck with your project. My non runner cost me just under 2k and I thought that was cheap.
  9. Ok, maybe my expectations are a bit off. Will keep hunting .....

    thanks for the inputs
  10. Another point to consider is the view of my worldly wise mechanic, the irrepressible Muzza from Retro Motorcycles. He knows old bikes inside out, and is expert with the CB750 and the CBX1000 six cylinder. Talking with him yesterday, his view is that if you also have a current era motorcycle, you're going to find the old one to be indifferent in handling, woeful in braking and expensive to get up to scratch. He loves them all, make no mistake, but he thinks you have to be very clear about why you would have an inferior, even if very pretty, alternative to what you ride for fun now. Maybe that's why he looks for tiddlers (100cc or smaller) for fun.
  11. Interesting point. My aim is to have some fun restoring, learn a thing or two and be up for the challenge. I like the idea of a smaller bike, as it will never be a daily or attempt to replace my current bike.
  12. All good advice here - the market for good cheap 1970's Honda fours has dried up now, so you may be better off looking for an 80's Honda instead, maybe a Bol d 'or or a CBX. Eighties super bike restorations are catching on.

    Otherwise the previous advice on an old dirt bike is a good idea - cheap and easy to learn on when it comes to mechanical stuff.
  13. What about Katana's? There is a 1981 650 and a 1991 250 available at the moment.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Good idea - the 1981 can go on to club reg.
  15. The smaller Katanas could be fun, and haven't had their prices dragged up by the craze over the 1100s. I saw the 250 Katana too, and wondered about engine swaps.

    Don't be too disheartened, bargains do come up. It just takes patience and flexibility. Know the type of project you want but be flexible about specifics. Keep an eye out, ask friends and relos, and have cash ready when the right project comes up as they go fast.

    Unbeknownst to me, my dad recently sold of a long term project bike of mine I had stashed at my parents place for $100. It was a running 1981 cb900f...
  16. No fathers day card for your dad!

    (Unless I was the buyer...)
  17. My advice is do up a machine that was a big deal at the time, either for being a small run, exclusive model or race winning package. eg honda RC 30, gsxr 750 (85),
    rg 500,rz 500, 1100 Katana, 900 Boldor, cbr 900 (92), vf 1000r (84),zx7 (96)
    Some of these are quite rare and expensive now, but hey if your going to spend time and money on it make it something really special.
    No one cares about a rebuilt fj 1200!
  18. What about Katana 650?