You will often see web pages that tell you how to buy a new or used motorcycle. Some might even tell you how to keep your two-wheeled transport clean. Others might run through some steps on what to check on your bike each week.
But have you ever noticed that there is little information on what you should do if you’ve got an old, lifeless motorcycle? If you’ve got an old motorcycle that needs a bit (or a lot) of TLC, today’s blog post is for you! Keep reading to find out how to bring your old motorcycle back to life.
Is everything still there?
The first thing to determine is whether everything on your old motorcycle is still there or not. After all; you can’t revive an old bike if half of the parts needed to make it run are missing! The focus will be on the engine and its related parts.
Parts like seats and tires can get replaced with little issue. But one thing about motorcycle engine parts is that sometimes spares can be hard to source. That’s usually the case if your motorcycle is quite an old or rare model.
Where to source parts
Thanks to the power of the Internet, it is easier to seek out spare motorcycle parts from all corners of the globe. In the days before the World Wide Web, motorcycle owners could only rely on local newspaper and magazine ads.
These days you can go online and check out the websites of spare parts retailers, enthusiast forums and more. Even social media sites like Facebook have “groups” where people can buy and sell motorcycle parts in an open forum.
If the manufacturer still exists, it’s worth checking whether they still stock spare parts for your model. Even if they don’t, they can always point you in the direction of companies that do.
There is a growing need to get spares for older and classic motorcycles. Because of that need, many new companies have started trading that offer spares for such motorcycles. These companies usually fabricate many common parts themselves. That way, you end up with brand new parts for your classic motorcycle.
Have you got a suitable work area?
One consideration to make before you start dismantling your motorcycle is your work area. Some folks are lucky enough to have an empty garage that offers plenty of space. Others have to make do with a paved area like a driveway.
I recommend working on your motorcycle only if it’s in a covered area like a garage. First, your motorcycle, parts and tools won’t get wet from the rain. Second, you will be able to carry out any work whenever you like because of access to lighting and electricity. And third, you are less likely to be a victim of theft if your motorcycle is out of public view.
If you’re not lucky enough to have your own garage, I recommend renting a workshop or lock-up unit near your home. Especially one that offers a good level of security. There will always be plenty of cheap and secure places to rent so you won’t have any trouble finding somewhere suitable.
Have you got the right tools?
Reviving an old motorcycle will either be a simple or challenging prospect. It all depends on what condition your pride and joy is in. Taking up the task of reviving an old motorcycle is an ambitious one at best. So it’s important that you have the right tools at your disposal.
At a basic level, you will need tools like screwdrivers, socket sets and a craft knife. Some battery-powered LED inspection lights are also useful. The tools you need will depend on what work you need to do.
I also recommend buying a motorcycle trolley jack, like the one shown in the photo above. They are useful for supporting your bike’s engine if you need to remove it.
You should also have some handy degreaser and lubricant aerosols at your disposal. Examples include WD40, silicone grease spray, brake cleaner and carb cleaner. There are going to be plenty of corroded parts on your motorcycle that won’t come off with ease, so you will need a little help in those cases.
When you remove parts from your motorcycle, it’s helpful to have some benches to put them on rather than leaving them on the floor. You can also make notes of each part you remove so that you can put everything back together again in the correct order.
You don’t need to spend lots of money buying brand new benches for your garage or workshop. Most people tend to build their own using free or cheap pieces of wood and metal.
Getting on the road again
For the most part, there aren’t many steps needed to revive an old motorcycle. Once your bike is running again, you will need to make it road-legal. That means getting it insured and paying any road taxes for it.
Carole Nash Motorbike Insurance is a good place to start. You need to find an insurer like them that cover older, classic motorcycles.
When you do get back on the road, ride short distances just to make sure everything is OK with your motorcycle.
Top tips for reviving an old motorcycle
If your motorcycle looks complete, the first thing to do is see if it runs or not. More often than not your motorcycle’s battery will be flat.
You can either charge your existing battery or buy a brand new replacement. I always recommend the latter option, especially if the battery is more than five years old.
If your motorcycle starts up with little complaint, that’s awesome! You’ll only need to do a service on it and a detailed visual inspection of everything.
But what happens if it doesn’t start? At this point, you will need to do a partial strip-down of your motorcycle. The key things to check and repair or replace include:
- Gas tank. Drain and dispose of the old gas. Flush any corrosion out of the tank;
- Fuel filter and lines. Replace them with new ones;
- Spark plugs. Replace them;
- Carb. Remove it, give it a good clean and fit it back again;
- Oil and filter. Replace them with fresh oil and a new filter.