Advice : start a restoration

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6/20/2018 1:00 AM

Hello everyone,

I plan on starting a restoration to ride an old classic bike. I am hoping to find a 250 KX 1987 (my age).
This will be my first restoration. What are the things to pay attention to when buying a motorcycle that has been in a barn for the last 10 years ?

I know if I find a 200/300$ bike I will have to replace many parts, but there are maybe things that you really don't wanna have to fix ?

Any advice ?

Have a great day.


6/20/2018 5:49 AM

Just my advice and take it as you will everyone is different but, I’d rather spend a little more money on something that I know is together, runs and stops. It can save you alot of time and money versus buying a basketcase. Sure it will need to be gone through and freshened up, but you might not run into the problem of being able to find no longer available parts if you’re missing something key. I would try and re use all the original hardware (every steel bolt, nut, washer etc) and have that rezinced also. Original hardware will save you a bunch of money and also be period correct. Again just my 2 cents, basketcases and bikes in boxes tend to be always missing something that is hard to come by but atleast with a running, moving and stopping bike, its just rebuilds and cosmetics. Best of luck man!


6/20/2018 7:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/20/2018 11:51 AM

Thank you very much for your answer.

I agree with you. If it's moving, it's probably a loooot less trouble.
I will take your advice and look for something at least running.

I'll keep you inform if I find something.


6/20/2018 8:54 AM

I 2nd that point of view. Any missing parts can suddenly become a huge expense.

Damages to the bigger parts like frames, airbox and rust on suspension will become expensive. Maybe also radiator. I don't think GPI makes them for your bike.


6/20/2018 12:58 PM

I think it comes down to your skillset. I personally like basket cases, as I'm OCD on my builds and end up replacing basically every wear part anyways. Then I have smaller initial investment, because I know I'm dropping coin on parts regardless. That being said, I always check to make sure the hard to find bits are all sound- cases, calipers, air-boxes, etc. have to all be usable or I walk away. It also helps that I have the ability to handle all my own labor- motors, suspension, paint, etc., so what I spend on parts, I get back on labor savings. If you're just building a rider, and will have to pay others to execute labor operations, then for sure buy something more complete. Good luck- be careful, you might get addicted! LOL


6/22/2018 3:04 AM

Ive done a few restorations, hardware is the #1 thing that will nickle and dime you to death. Remove every piece of hardware and buy one or two hardware lots for the same bike (or close to it) on ebay and have it all zinc plated. Dont forget to include axles, swingarm hardware.


04 KX125
94 KX250SM
75 Z1-900

6/22/2018 10:30 PM

Yep...all of the above, plus, whatever amount of money you plan on spending will easily double, if not triple.


6/22/2018 11:51 PM

I have a few recommendations:

Pick a bike that you are looking to restore and do a little research ahead of time to see how readily available the parts are to source as difficult to find parts will really slow the progress and drive up the cost when you are having to find parts outside of the country.

Once you find the bike for your base, generate a spreadsheet with all needed parts so you have a log, the spreadsheet will allow you to easily add columns for the part description, part numbers, quantity, cost, etc. which will also allow you to easily keep track of the costs, whats been ordered, what has been received and so on.

A major thing that has become an issue on my end is not getting multiple projects going at the same time. I have been my own worst enemy as I love the late 80's early 90's bikes and keep picking up another and another... I have purchased roughly 75% of the parts needed for (5) different projects without finishing them one at a time. I now have bikes and parts all over the place and in different stages of completion. Do a restoration one at a time and your life will be much easier!

I am getting closest to completion on a 92 RM250 Swinkster build which I will start posting in the Bike Builds section this weekend.



6/24/2018 1:07 AM

I got a roller 02 yz 125 for 900 bucks and have about 2200 total into it so far, like said above, the less to fix the better, pick and choose, a top end, not too bad, but when you start needing to replace brake internals and bottom ends, parts may be harder to find


6/24/2018 8:03 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/24/2018 8:05 AM

I’m doing an 83 yz125 right now which is my first build. Got all of the “expensive” stuff complete but still have a few things left. I’ll probably have 5k easy into it when it’s done. It will look as good as one can hope for when it’s done. I paid $1k for a running bike, everything was shot and needed replacing or rebuilding.

I picked up an 81 husqvarna 250cr a month or so back, I’m really wanting to race some vintage mx. The Yz fits into the classes terribly (unless your a skilled mx’er which im not.) So I “had” to get another using this bike as an excuse to learn more(suspension and motor). Wish I would have done that on the Yamaha but better late than never.