The ultimate guide to bike restoration – Part 1

Motorcycle restoration isn’t a child’s play as it takes enormous efforts, patience and resources to put together a motorcycle which has been eating dust in the garage for years. But if you do have an old-school charm with you and can make out some spare time every weekend for its restoration and are just jumping on the toes to start at some point, you might have just landed on the right page.

Bike restoration

Motorcycle restoration can be challenging but if done right, the rewards are high. Generally, people restore old motorcycles just for the love of it but others do earn big in terms of monetary rewards as there is always a high demand of old school motorcycles and the older they get, the more money they can fetch you if they have been restored properly.

So in the report below we list down all the steps you need to follow in order to bring back your beloved bike to life.

The Prep work – (Service Manual)

The very first thing which you will require before you get your hands dirty is a proper service manual book. The owner’s manual booklet which is offered with the stock bikes are good enough to fill you up with some basic information regarding the bike but a higher level service manual book gives more thorough information from basic service of your engine to completely rebuilding it. You may think that a traditional printed manual booklet may sound old school, but let us warn you when you have completely opened up your engine to nuts and bolts, and your hands look grubbier than a coal miner’s handkerchief, then a printed manual booklet sure comes handy in comparison to a scrolling mouse.

There are three different types of manuals that you can put to good use. The first one being the owner factory manual which comes with your motorcycle. If you have misplaced it, you can always call in and check at your nearest service centre to see if they have a copy. This manual has the closest details which are specific to your bike. Even service technicians refer to this manual. Apart from this, the next manual which can you purchase is the Haynes manual which is for the beginners and will walk you down to the simple motorcycle maintenance tasks like oil and air filter replacement, and even wheel change and chain tightening is covered in the simplest format in this manual. However, if the situation gets a bit tricky like you need the details of your wiring, engine components and ECU, then a step up Clymer Manual will come for the rescue. This manual is recommended as it has an uncomplicated step-by-step approach to all technical things. These manuals can be bought from all the e-commerce platform like Amazon or eBay and won’t be hard to find. So once you start working on the motorcycle make sure you sort out which manual will be the most resourceful for you.

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Call a mechanic for a quick survey

Once you’ve got the manuals ready, it is the right time to call for a local bike mechanic for a quick scrutiny on your project bike. The mechanic will make it easier to figure out which of your motorcycle parts need to get refurbished. The mechanic will also sort out things by making a step-by-step plan on your bike as to which section need to be worked upon first and which ones can be done at last. While planning all of this, make a list of all the parts you need with the help of a mechanic and order them as soon as you get a chance so that the bike doesn’t stay in pieces for long.

Bike restoration

The build – (Engine and valves clearance check)

Starting off directly with the engine is a good way to get your toes dipped into the work. The engine is the most complicated part to work on and is also the most expensive part of the vehicle. Follow the service manual book step by step and also use your mechanic’s help to know how much life is left in the engine. Check the valves clearance, and try to dedicate as much time as you can to make sure the engine is in a healthy state.

Battery state check

Once you are done checking the engine, the very next step is to determine if the battery has some juice left or is it up for replacement. Generally, all the batteries die if kept for long in an unused state. Make sure you do not check the battery voltage by hitting the starter button, but using a proper ammeter device. If by any chance if do have some charge left in the battery, it isn’t recommended to give it a start until you are done changing the oil and filters, several other things. On the other hand, if the battery is completely dead leave it on the charger for overnight as it usually requires about 10-12 hours of charge to get juiced up.  But old batteries in such bikes are generally unusable, so it’s better to not waste time on charging it and directly replace it with a new one.

Bike restoration

Carburetor rebuild

Most of the old-school bikes (or all) have carburetors as their fuel delivery systems as fuel-injectors were developed only recently. The carburetors usually require a bit of servicing after hard action, as they get gummed up and contaminated with time.

In most of the cases, you can get away with a simple cleaning of the carburetor but in some rare cases, you will need to get your hands dirty and do a full rebuild.  The simple cleaning of the carburetor can be done by using a regular carb cleaner, but at the same time make sure to dismantle all the rubber parts of the carburetor or else it might them up faster than you’ll notice. On the other hand, if the system needs greater care, you might need to buy a carb rebuild kit which will make the process easier.

Bike restoration

 Stay tuned as in the next article we take you through further steps of your motorcycle restoration.

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