Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Motorcycles

Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So, I just got a new job as a fitter/fabricator for an ornamental metals company. I have access to a very large and comprehensive shop, and have been throwing around the idea of getting a motorcycle. I'd like to get a cheap, older motorcycle and turn it into a rat/art bike. Mostly, just something for me to work on during my free time.

I'm good with metal, welding, fabricating etc, but I don't know jack about engine mechanics. I can change oil, plugs, tires, brakes, etc, but besides that I'm lost. Is there any decent site, or reference book out there about motorcycle mechanics?

Before anyone asks, I don't have a license yet, but this project probably wont be for another 3-6 months. I plan on taking an MSF course before getting into it.

Forbe! on

Posts

  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Guide-Motorcycle-Maintenance-Techniques/dp/1884313418/ref=pd_sim_b_3

    was of tremendous help when i purchased my first carb motorcycle. Learned a lot from it and i recommend it.

  • lessthanpilessthanpi Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Really the best way to learn this stuff is to just get a cheap old bike and start messing around with it.

    If you're just looking for something to play around with I'd recommend a Honda CB 750 from the 70's or early 80's. They were really popular and in production for a long time so there are both bikes and parts available. Beyond that if you get one that needs some work and fix the thing the resale values are great.

    The only other thing I've got to add is that a lot of people prefer some of the old Yamahas because many of them were direct drive instead of a chain and sprocket setup. I've got both types of bikes, I don't honestly see much of a difference

    Regardless of what you get check out Clymer Publications for manuals on damn near any old bike.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=Clymer%20Publications

  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Four years ago I bought a 1981 Kawi KZ750 to tinker around on and learn some mechanic-type things. As recommended above, a late 70s to late 80s is a good bet as they aren't too expensive and they are still relatively simple mechanically.

    As far as resources to learn, your best bet is to buy a bike then find the appropriate online community as they are tons of help. For instance, for the KZs, www.kzrider.com has a very helpful community.

    You'll want to get the Clymer for whatever bike you choose, as well as try to get your hands on a Factory Service Manual (FSM). They are much more detailed and are the books the mechanics would go to if they needed to know how to do something.

    On the topic of direct-drive (I assume this is a shaft drive?) and chain/sprocket, if you are looking to tinker I would go with the chain and sprocket. It is a simpler system and you can do things like change sprocket sizes to get different performance or looks.

    Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Forbe! wrote: »
    So, I just got a new job as a fitter/fabricator for an ornamental metals company. I have access to a very large and comprehensive shop, and have been throwing around the idea of getting a motorcycle. I'd like to get a cheap, older motorcycle and turn it into a rat/art bike. Mostly, just something for me to work on during my free time.

    I'm good with metal, welding, fabricating etc, but I don't know jack about engine mechanics. I can change oil, plugs, tires, brakes, etc, but besides that I'm lost. Is there any decent site, or reference book out there about motorcycle mechanics?

    Before anyone asks, I don't have a license yet, but this project probably wont be for another 3-6 months. I plan on taking an MSF course before getting into it.

    You may be better off getting a newer bike that has the retro aesthetic, but is fuel injected. Because carburettors suck. I'm a mechanic and I hate them. They're not particularly complex, and they're cheap, I just hate having to continually mess around with something like that. Fuel injection works perfectly for years without ever having to touch it, old motorcycle carburettors require adjustment every couple of months or so, and rebuilds every 18 months - 2 years.

    Something like this could be an awful lot of fun:
    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/TU250X/2011/TU250X.aspx#Features

    Or if you've got more cash to splash:
    http://www.motoguzzi-us.com/en_US/prodotti/naked/v7_classic/v7_classic/default.aspx

    terriblepostsigpic.jpg
  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Forbe! wrote: »
    So, I just got a new job as a fitter/fabricator for an ornamental metals company. I have access to a very large and comprehensive shop, and have been throwing around the idea of getting a motorcycle. I'd like to get a cheap, older motorcycle and turn it into a rat/art bike. Mostly, just something for me to work on during my free time.

    I'm good with metal, welding, fabricating etc, but I don't know jack about engine mechanics. I can change oil, plugs, tires, brakes, etc, but besides that I'm lost. Is there any decent site, or reference book out there about motorcycle mechanics?

    Before anyone asks, I don't have a license yet, but this project probably wont be for another 3-6 months. I plan on taking an MSF course before getting into it.

    You may be better off getting a newer bike that has the retro aesthetic, but is fuel injected. Because carburettors suck. I'm a mechanic and I hate them. They're not particularly complex, and they're cheap, I just hate having to continually mess around with something like that. Fuel injection works perfectly for years without ever having to touch it, old motorcycle carburettors require adjustment every couple of months or so, and rebuilds every 18 months - 2 years.

    Something like this could be an awful lot of fun:
    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/TU250X/2011/TU250X.aspx#Features

    Or if you've got more cash to splash:
    http://www.motoguzzi-us.com/en_US/prodotti/naked/v7_classic/v7_classic/default.aspx

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The only thing I've ever had to do on a motorcycle carb system is clean them if the bike has sat up a long time.

    An old CB or KZ would be an excellent choice and could be had for dirt cheap. If you know how to change oil and plugs your're halfway there. Just pick up the clymer manual for whatever model you decide on and you're gold ponyboy.

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Jokerman wrote: »
    Forbe! wrote: »
    So, I just got a new job as a fitter/fabricator for an ornamental metals company. I have access to a very large and comprehensive shop, and have been throwing around the idea of getting a motorcycle. I'd like to get a cheap, older motorcycle and turn it into a rat/art bike. Mostly, just something for me to work on during my free time.

    I'm good with metal, welding, fabricating etc, but I don't know jack about engine mechanics. I can change oil, plugs, tires, brakes, etc, but besides that I'm lost. Is there any decent site, or reference book out there about motorcycle mechanics?

    Before anyone asks, I don't have a license yet, but this project probably wont be for another 3-6 months. I plan on taking an MSF course before getting into it.

    You may be better off getting a newer bike that has the retro aesthetic, but is fuel injected. Because carburettors suck. I'm a mechanic and I hate them. They're not particularly complex, and they're cheap, I just hate having to continually mess around with something like that. Fuel injection works perfectly for years without ever having to touch it, old motorcycle carburettors require adjustment every couple of months or so, and rebuilds every 18 months - 2 years.

    Something like this could be an awful lot of fun:
    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/TU250X/2011/TU250X.aspx#Features

    Or if you've got more cash to splash:
    http://www.motoguzzi-us.com/en_US/prodotti/naked/v7_classic/v7_classic/default.aspx

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The only thing I've ever had to do on a motorcycle carb system is clean them if the bike has sat up a long time.

    An old CB or KZ would be an excellent choice and could be had for dirt cheap. If you know how to change oil and plugs your're halfway there. Just pick up the clymer manual for whatever model you decide on and you're gold ponyboy.

    I guess this varies from bike to bike. I've got an old Yamaha and the carbs on it have been the bane of my existence.

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    If you pick up something relatively commonplace, and really want to learn the engine inside out, you could pick up another engine of the same type from a breaker and make a project of reconditioning it. The ultimate test of course is fitting it to the bike.

    Also: something to consider is finding a salvage place that sells insurance write-offs. Anything with a fairing that's been dropped is basically an instant write-off, even though the bike may still run and ride. Usually they only require minimal work to get them legally roadworthy again, and you can always streetfighter them to do that on the cheap.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Jokerman wrote: »
    *snip*

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The only thing I've ever had to do on a motorcycle carb system is clean them if the bike has sat up a long time.

    An old CB or KZ would be an excellent choice and could be had for dirt cheap. If you know how to change oil and plugs your're halfway there. Just pick up the clymer manual for whatever model you decide on and you're gold ponyboy.

    This varies wildly from bike to bike. Something single cylinder with a simple carby would be relatively low-maintenance, yes. But what if the o.p. ends up with a four cylinder bike with quad Mikuni flatslide carbs, they're going to end up spending more time in the garage than on the bike. Just the thought of synchronising and balancing all four carbs makes my eyes water...

    terriblepostsigpic.jpg
  • lessthanpilessthanpi Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Jokerman wrote: »
    *snip*

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The only thing I've ever had to do on a motorcycle carb system is clean them if the bike has sat up a long time.

    An old CB or KZ would be an excellent choice and could be had for dirt cheap. If you know how to change oil and plugs your're halfway there. Just pick up the clymer manual for whatever model you decide on and you're gold ponyboy.

    This varies wildly from bike to bike. Something single cylinder with a simple carby would be relatively low-maintenance, yes. But what if the o.p. ends up with a four cylinder bike with quad Mikuni flatslide carbs, they're going to end up spending more time in the garage than on the bike. Just the thought of synchronising and balancing all four carbs makes my eyes water...

    I'm just not seeing it. I've got two bikes with 4 carbs and all it takes for me is a screwdriver and a little bit of patience.

    Hell, my wife adjusts her own carbs on her CL350.

    I'd rather work on Carbs all day than deal with timing and points and cam chains.

    Worse case scenario, any decent bike shop can get your carbs dealt with for a pretty reasonable cost.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Meh. Each to his own. My primary beef with carburettors isn't even all the maintenance. It's that fuel injection is just so much more efficient and reliable.

    Also, if anyone wants to buy me that Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, I will love for all eternity.

    terriblepostsigpic.jpg
  • stormbringerstormbringer Registered User regular
    edited June 2011

    This varies wildly from bike to bike. Something single cylinder with a simple carby would be relatively low-maintenance, yes. But what if the o.p. ends up with a four cylinder bike with quad Mikuni flatslide carbs, they're going to end up spending more time in the garage than on the bike. Just the thought of synchronising and balancing all four carbs makes my eyes water...

    Please balancing carbs is easy, if you are already tearing down a complete bike to turn into a boardtracker or Rat or bobber you want carbs due to the simplicity of the wiring harness and the fact that you can rejet them. I hate takeing a wiring harness apart and stretching or shortening it out so that it fits to a modified frame or wwingarm.

    On a sidenote TAKE THE MSF< DO IT NOW, DO NOT PASS GO> I know you said you would but please take it. Also start saving for good gear, 600-1K will get you all you need. Stripped down bikes are harder on you and your gear then say a full dress touring bike.

  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Jokerman wrote: »
    *snip*

    I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The only thing I've ever had to do on a motorcycle carb system is clean them if the bike has sat up a long time.

    An old CB or KZ would be an excellent choice and could be had for dirt cheap. If you know how to change oil and plugs your're halfway there. Just pick up the clymer manual for whatever model you decide on and you're gold ponyboy.

    This varies wildly from bike to bike. Something single cylinder with a simple carby would be relatively low-maintenance, yes. But what if the o.p. ends up with a four cylinder bike with quad Mikuni flatslide carbs, they're going to end up spending more time in the garage than on the bike. Just the thought of synchronising and balancing all four carbs makes my eyes water...

    I have a big I4 Kawi, and i've never had to synch the carbs, and they stay pretty clean (I winterize the bike religiously). I don't think you're going to spend most of your time in the garage unless you snag one that needs some TLC.

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Meh. Each to his own. My primary beef with carburettors isn't even all the maintenance. It's that fuel injection is just so much more efficient and reliable.

    Also, if anyone wants to buy me that Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, I will love for all eternity.

    It's so much easier to tear down an air cooled carbed bike though.

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
Sign In or Register to comment.