So here’s the bad news: restoring an old motorcycle is expensive.
Buying the old rust bucket itself isn’t too expensive if you buy a model that isn’t a popular classic or extremely rare. It’s everything that comes along with it that adds up, and it adds up quickly. Just think about it:
- buying the bike
- scouring the internet for parts; you’ll be surprised how much that one part you need will cost you…
- professional help where your own skills aren’t quite up to the task (e.g. welding, metal work, spray painting, chroming)
- tools… you will never have enough tools
It will depend on the quality of restoration of course; insisting on all original parts can be expensive. If you want to enter your bike into a show and get a ribbon, that’s what is expected. Any deviation from factory parts and condition will be frowned upon.
If you (like me) just want a nice bike, costs will still be high, but need not be astronomical. If you just want something that runs and don’t mind it showing its age, things are a lot cheaper.
Don’t kid yourself though, in my case I bought the scooter I’m restoring for 1200 pounds. With more patience a more realistic price would have been around 800, but when that one particular model comes up for sale you can go overboard. I suspect the total bill will be a single digit multiple of the purchase cost; as is, I’m well on my way.
What I will say is that paintwork on a scooter, as well as the metal work usually needed on the body panels make it a much more expensive restoration than a motorcycle where most of the painting cost is limited to the fuel tank and frame. If cost is an important factor for you, you may want to start with a motorcycle rather than a scooter.