The ultimate guide to motorcycle restoration – Part 2

If you recollect, we brought you a report on the same topic a few days back where we discussed some initial points related to motorcycle restoration and how you can go for it. The article below is nothing but an extension of the same where we will highlight some more points which were left unwritten in the previous article.

Just to give you a swift tour of what we discussed previously. In the last article we pointed out the challenges behind the motorcycle restoration and if this really is a good idea to go with since it consumes a lot of time, energy and resources which can be better utilized elsewhere. But, at the same time, if you really are a hard-to-convince bike nut who is committed to breathe-in a new life into your old motorcycle then you have arrived at the right place. To start off with, we discussed the importance of the stock user manual which is provided by the company and the other higher level manuals which throw light on some complex and critical mechanical details. The next step obviously is that you need to summon a local motorcycle mechanic which can give a direction to your efforts and also help you out with the estimation of what this restoration might cost you. Furthermore, bits like engine and valve clearance check, come naturally since engine is the heart and soul of the machine. You need to make sure that it really is in a functioning state before starting off with the actual restoration.

Once you’ve checked the boxes which mention that every nut is in the right place in the engine chamber and if valve clearance is needed or not, you can straight on head to the check the state of the battery, if it has some juice left in it or not. 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.

The bikes which generally need restoration are of the by-gone era, and fuel-injectors were really not much common at that time. So we decide to skip ‘clean fuel-injector’ step entirely. Since carburetors provided the fuel to the system in older bikes, it is better to rebuild the carburetor entirely.  In most of the cases, you can get away with the 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 make sure to dismantle all the rubber parts of the carburetor or else it might eat 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.  

Electrical Check:

Now once you’ve gone through the earlier steps, it’s time dig deeper and get your hand dirty with more technicalities of the bike.  

At this stage, you have gotten yourself a new battery. Now it’s a good time to check out the electrical system of your motorcycle. To start off with, just turn on the key and notice that your instrument panel is working fine and the cluster is displaying all the information in a fault-free format. Also, keep a check that the cluster light shouldn’t be flickering or else there might be some problem with the wiring/electricals of the bike. At the same time, if you motorcycle has an analogue cluster you can just freely rotate the front wheel to check out if your odometer is working fine or not. Once all these checks are done and dusted, open the panels to gauge the conditions of the inside wiring and check for cuts if any. While you are at it, make sure your headlamps, direction indicators and tail lamp are working fine. If not, replace the required panel.

Oil Change:

By this time, you have already checked the status of your engine and got the valve clearance check done along with the carburetor rebuild. Now this is the perfect time to get fresh engine oil for you motorcycle so that it doesn’t chew itself up from the inside. Check out the user manual to find out which is the best grade engine oil for your motorcycle and make sure that you fill exactly the recommended amount, not 50 ml more or less. While you are at it, make sure that you also change the air-filter, oil-filter and spark plugs in order to give a proper service that your motorcycle truly deserves.

Chain and Sprockets:

It is extremely important to check the condition of the chain and sprocket of the motorcycle. In either case, you will need to service the chain as by now it must be rusted and dirt filled to the core. So use a good quality chain and sprocket cleaning spray (we recommend Motul Chain Cleaner available on to clear off all the dirt and muck which has been resting on the chain ever since you rode the bike last time. After giving the chain a good clean, treat it with the Motul Chain lube and let the chain soak up all required lube. At the same time, tighten up the chain if required.  


Open up the disc pads and gauge if the pads need replacement or not. Also, make sure to clean up the brake assembly entirely using a good cleaning spray. If your disc pads really have some life left in them, then use sandpaper for a deeper cleaning and removal of rust. Check for the braking response before moving out for the ride since pads and the disc will take some time to get back in to their proper functional state.


Last but not the least, check for the tyre condition on your old bike. Use penny gauge method to find out if you have deep enough tread marks on the tyre. Also, the easiest way to find out if your tyres need replacement is to experience the ride quality they are providing at the moment. Make sure you keep the pace slow and ride under 20kmph to make out if the bike is shaking or wobbling because of the tyres or not. If so, also check out if there is a bend in suspension rod, alloy wheels, or any other part. If not, the probability is that your tyres which need to be replaced soon.

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