For those who love their wheels, the thrill of the road is the best part of having a motorcycle! But, if you’re really a fan of the two-wheeler, you may have a classic bike or two that you wouldn’t mind taking for a spin. Fortunately, that classic bike can be yours with a little bit of rebuilding. If you’ve always thought of leaving mechanics to the experts, you may want to reconsider. The classic bike you’re dreaming of can be yours with a bit of knowledge and some bonafide elbow grease. If you’re finally ready to tackle a rebuild and customize your motorcycle, check out our guide to get onto your dream bike!
Choose Your Bike Style
Rebuilding a motorcycle is a lot like taking a road trip. You’ll need to know where you’re headed before you can pick a road, so choose your bike style! Whether you’re looking for an off-road bike, a sports bike or a cruiser, making the choice will ensure your re-build is attainable. It goes without saying that you should have a bit of mechanical ability at your disposal going into this project. In addition, since you’ll be looking for a lot of parts and pieces, you won’t want to choose the wrong bike. The likelihood of finding some of the pieces you’re looking for on certain bike models is not that good. Instead of being too specific, stick to a rebuild that will allow you to build and customize your motorcycle.
Pull Out the Manual
You may be a motorcycle expert who has seen it all. But, there will be no better friend to you when rebuilding your motorcycle than the service manual! Fortunately, there are different types of manuals depending on what your skill level is and the information you’ll require. The Haynes Publishing motorcycle manual is a straightforward operating manual that will assist with oil changes and engine rebuilds. When it comes to rebuilding from scratch, you’ll require something with a more detail like the Clymer repair manuals. These manuals will provide all the details on different kinds of bikes and the ins-and-outs to customize your motorcycle. And, if you need something even more in-depth, reach for an OEM manual. The experts use these manuals and no detail is left out!
Do a Rebuild Tally
When you’ve decided on your ideal bike rebuild, you’re ready to get to the fun stuff! First, take a look at your bike and determine what’s needed to complete your re-build, including ways to customize your motorcycle. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to consult with a mechanic to get their expert input. They’ll be able to spot things you may have missed and add some helpful pointers. They may even be able to help you determine part lead times so you’ll know when you can get down to rebuilding! Fortunately, most mechanics will be pretty excited to give advice on this particular topic. A good way to determine the parts needed is by grouping them together. By organizing them in systems like electrical and engine, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring nothing is missed!
Check-In with Other Owners
There’s nothing insignificant about taking on a bike rebuild. It can be a labour intensive process that requires skill and patience, so it’s important to get a breather every once in a while. Instead of just relying on the manual, reach out to other motorcycle mavens and get their thoughts. Whether you want some insights on their rebuilding experiences or you’re encountering troubles, it can be a good way to work around any issues. You may even be able to get some help on some of the more challenging maintenance duties! Whatever the case, you’ll probably have someone who’s as excited as you are and has ideas to customize your motorcycle.
Organize Your Workspace
Taking on the task to rebuild a bike will take a little bit of space and a lot of organization. As a result, it’s important to be prepared for whatever the endeavour throws at you. Instead of getting all the parts and pieces together as you go, prep beforehand so you can really get down in the dirt of the job. You’ll want to start with a workspace that gives you plenty of room to stretch out. Whether that happens to be your garage, your back patio or the front street area, prep it with what you’ll need. Once you’ve got your space, you can get together all the materials! Whether it’s bash plates, carry racks, or heat shields, buy the items to customize your motorcycle before getting to work.
Start with the Carburettor
Your carburettor may just need a clean or it may need to be replaced! But, if you’re planning on getting a lot done in a day, have a carburettor rebuild kit on hand. Check the jets and the gaskets to determine that they’re in good working order. If they’ve lived past their sell-by date, consult the manual to do a carburettor rebuild. But, if all your carburettor needs is a clean you’re in luck! It’s a pretty easy process to complete, as all you’ll need is to spray it down with some carburettor cleaner. However, ensure that all the rubber parts are removed as they won’t fare well if sprayed with cleaner! While you’re doing carburettor work, it’s also a good time to take a look at your spark plugs. These are another bike item that may need to be replaced. If they’ve got a weathered look, a rebuild is a perfect time to buy some new ones.
Do the Electrical Check
When you’ve got to this point in your bike rebuild, you’re ready to do a little test and see how everything is working. This will ensure that your bike is road ready so it’s very important to make sure you evaluate it thoroughly for any issues. Take out the keys and start up the engine to check out the electrical system. Start by taking a look at the gauge, the headlights and the signals to ensure that everything lights up correctly. You won’t want to be dealing with any issues like this on the road, so a careful check is key! If your headlights or tail lights aren’t working, head to your local motorcycle parts store to ensure they’re replaced as soon as possible. Ineffective lighting on the road can be a major hazard, so make sure you don’t gamble on getting outside before these issues are fixed.
Time for an Oil Change!
The fluids in your bike are the thing that will really help to determine its longevity and overall health. As a result, a rebuild is a good time to double-check all the fluids in your bike to ensure they’ll be able to do what they need to do. Whether they need to be filled or replaced completely, take a look at the gas level, the coolant and any other fluids that might be running low or ragged. In addition, you’ll also need to complete an oil change before getting your bike back on the road. Old oil can cause undeniable damage to your bike rebuild, so don’t take a chance by foregoing this step! Before you begin, inform yourself about the best type of oil for your bike. As soon as you’ve decided and done the duty, you’re well on your way to getting your new bike for a ride on the road.
Fix Up the Chains and Sprockets
If you have a bike with a chain and sprockets, you’ll want to take a good look at these pieces. There’s a good chance they’ll need to be replaced if they’ve experienced any wear and tear. Start by checking the chain for any signs of rust or excessive wear and tear. If there’s any chance the chain is looking a little broken down, it’s worth the investment to replace it right off the bat. Once you’ve determined this, check the teeth of your sprockets. They won’t function properly if the teeth are worn down or eroded, so replace these as well. If they are, however, looking sharp and shiny your bike may only require a bit of a clean. Keep in mind that if this is your first bike rebuild, you can consult the manual or the Internet to determine what healthy chains and sprockets should look like.
Take the Brakes
Few things are more important for your safety on the road than the brakes. If you’ve got an older bike that you’re rebuilding, you’ll have to think about the disc brakes. In order to check the disc brakes, look at the brake rotors and make sure they’re what your operating manual specifies. If your brake pads are suffering from wear and tear, buy some new ones at your local motorcycle parts store. When this is done, you may want the help of a friend to bleed your brakes. However, if you want to skip this manual process, you can go with a vacuum pump and brake bleeder instead. Whether you borrow one or buy one, this can save you a little bit of labour when it comes to the step-by-step of rebuilding a bike. Also, make sure you don’t forget about the drum brakes!
Check Out the Tires
Alongside the brakes, the safety and durability of your tires is the key for a bike that will perform. Instead of leaving this to chance or having to wait on the side of the road for repair, make a thorough inspection of your tires before you get out. If the tires are pretty old, there’s a good chance you shouldn’t take the risk and should have them replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll want to look for general wear and tear. If there is additional erosion on any of the tires or visible cracks, the time might be up for investing in some new tires! You may even want to buy some hot new wheels to customize your motorcycle. Whatever you decide, don’t get on the road until you’re ready.
Customize Your Motorcycle
One of the best parts of building your own bike is finally getting to the end. Fortunately, that’s when the fun stuff begins! You’ve put enough work into your wheels that you’re probably going to want to customize your motorcycle. Whatever you might be interested in adding to your bike, there are plenty of options that will be sure to enhance the look of your bike. Some people go for custom bars that can provide an easier ride on the road. Custom controls can also be a great way to show off your unique, new rebuild. There are also bash plates, a fender brace and carry racks. You may even want to invest in some Givi bags or top boxes that will be sure to get a lot more used once your bike is road ready!
Get Out on the Road!
There’s no greater pleasure after all the work that goes into a rebuild than getting out on the road. If you’ve put everything together, checked your fluids and your tires, and started up the engine, you’re good to go! It’s important to do a bit of a road test on your new bike before planning a long haul adventure. So, schedule a time for a 30-minute drive to test out different speeds and your bike’s reaction to different roads. If everything is good, you’re prepared to plan a more long-term adventure on your own or with a group of your favourite bikers! And, it will give you the perfect chance to brag about your epic rebuild.
A bike rebuild can certainly be quite the undertaking. Whether you’re going for something classic or a new model you can’t get enough of, there are many steps it takes to end with a finished product. Instead of going it alone, talk with your mechanic or consult the owner’s manual to get some expert tips to customize your motorcycle. Whatever bike you finally decide to rebuild, you’re sure to have a new toy you can be proud of and will want to show off to your friends!