Friday, January 15, 2010

How to pick a restoration project.

So you fancy a project? Unsure of the best way to go about it? Or even what sort of bike to try and restore?

The best advice I can give is this - don't buy something with the intention of "doing it up" quickly to make money. That's not a restoration, that's buying and selling.

A proper restoration, not necessarily concourse, can easily turn into a money pit and more often than not, you won't get your money back - not in the short term anyway.

It's not about the money or the time you have to put in, it's the love of it. Taking something that looks fit for scrap and turning it into a useable bike that looks as good as new, if not better. What's more, you'll be learning all the time - this in itself should be enough to keep you going through the months when you've had enough. Believe me, there will be times when you've had enough.

So what bike should you choose?

Something that appeals to you, possibly even something obscure or rare - it's your choice but you have to like it because you'll be spending a lot of time with it. If you can't bear to look at it, you're never going to put the effort in.


Think about what you want to do with it when it's finished. Ride it? Sell it? Look at it?


If you plan to take on that Europe trip you always dreamed about, choose something that is big enough to cope. That BSA Bantam will struggle two-up, with luggage, popping to town let alone thousands of miles through country after country.


If you want to sell it afterwards, look at the prices they go for now and do the maths. Bear in mind you could easily spend a few grand bringing an old bike back to life. If you have to do a full restoration, getting back the money you spend is harder than you think.


If you just want to have a pristine example of something - it doesn't matter what it is. Just enjoy it.


This AJS Model 30 pretty much got back the money it cost to restore including original cost. That's doing as much of the work as possible, ourselves. So think about that. A couple of years spent restoring a bike and just about broke even when selling.

The hours spent can't be counted - it's a hobby and a passion. Nothing else matters.