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Ive always wanted to get a bike but never knew much about them let alone know much cars for that matter. I recently seen American Pickers on the History channel and i seen them buy a old rusty 1969 Kawasaki muscle bike for like 150 bucks from some dude. the bike even tho it was rusty and in a pile of leaves looked so sweet, it made me think... what would it take to get something like that? i would love to try and rebuild one, I can't be spending to much money on it. But my wife would prolly like it better if i spent money on a bike over my current video game addiction lol. where should i start looking for a bike like that or something vintege, It has to be a Kawasaki. why? well when i was 2 years old i was infected with a virus the doctors called Kawasaki's Virus... lol yea i know ur thinking never heard of it.... or maybe u are and old collecter and ur thinking yea ive been infected for years lol but it was actually life threatening to me at that age i almost died. but i didn't :p and ive allways just hung onto that name. Kawasaki. Anyway i would like to find myself a bike to ride, i live close to work... like a block lol so a bike would be nice to take to work instead of driveing my car.. lol yea i know i should walk, but the wife feels safer when i drive.. lol don't ask. anyway if u know of a good website's i could check out or have some tips or even a story please share! thanks!
 

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Sick Puppy
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If it were me just starting out, I would start with a newer complete running bike to enjoy at the moment. That would normally be the least expensive way. If you find that you do enjoy riding and want a vintage bike, go for it as a second bike. But you will find that the rust bucket will be a lot more expensive in the long run. Restoration expenses can be excessive especially if the work needs to be farmed out: powder coating, chrome plating, engine/transmission rebuild, etc. It will cost more than a new bike by the time you are done, but it will be unique. It all depends on what you want. If you just want a vintage ride, look around for a low mileage old bike, they're out there. As for projects, there's a lot of half finished projects laying in garages across the country from people who ran out of money, time, or ambition. Usually these can be bought for a lot less than what's invested. Good luck in your decision.
 

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I know nothing! :)
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I think Rick said it best... also check craigslist plenty of projects there. that are already running, and sjut need some minor work.
 

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Alien Test Subject
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It really depends on a lot of factors.

How much time and money do you want to invest?
How mechanically inclined are you?
How 'classic' does the bike need to be?
Do you want a show quality collectors piece, or just a 'rider'?

First place I would look would be Craigslist. This is where everything that people have laying in their garage or shed seems to go these days. You'll find everything from nicely kept or restored classics to true basket cases in need of a full rebuild. But also check the local paper's want ads, bulletin boards at the grocery store, or even Sheriff's auctions. Finding the bike you want is often more a matter of right time, right place.

Don't expect to find that magical "barn-find" that has been sitting under a tarp for 30 years, and just needs a battery and new gas. It just doesn't happen that way anymore (it never really did :lol: ). Especially with really vintage stuff, it's either already been restored, the owner knows what he's got, and expects top dollar, or it's a basket case that needs built from the ground up and is gonna cost you a mint to do. Sure, there is the occasional find, but they are rare.

Your best bet? Find something from the late 70's to early 80's, that gets ridden periodically. For between $500 and $2000, you can usually find a bike of this vintage that is relatively clean (not spotless, but not a total wreck) that someone has ridden back and forth to work, and is replacing because they feel they need something newer. You may need to replace tires, a battery, or cables, and it may need painted, or be missing a side cover, or some other minor problem, but otherwise be a fairly solid bike. It's what is known as a 'rider'. Which means you can ride it as much as you want without worrying about hurting it's value, or having it fall apart on you. It's somewhere between a classic showpiece and a nightmare project on your workbench.

If you want to find that $150 bike from American Pickers, be prepared to put a lot of time, money, and effort into it. The parts that are there will all need redone, repaired, or replaced. The parts that aren't will need to be found, bought, and often redone. And you'll spend a lot of time researching info and parts, fixing, cleaning, and figuring out how things go together. And when it is all done, you can end up spending $6 or 7k, on a bike that will only ever be worth $4k. Not something you may want to do for your first foray into motorcycles. If you do it, it has to be for nothing more than the simple satisfaction of the process itself. It's definitely not for everyone. But for some, it can be a real passion.

For me, old bikes are really cool, and have a great appeal. So I say go for something kinda classic. But find something that already runs, or is at least close to complete, so you don't end up with your own ad on Craigslist :wink:. It's nice to see vintage iron running around.
 

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TV Guru
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On issue with getting a "barn bike" is you have to make sure you can actually get parts for it at all. A lot of older bikes even have screws that have been discontinued. Not only that, but getting them titled can be a chore since the paperwork may have long since disappeared over the years. Finally, if it were me, I'd rather learn by doing maintenance and small repairs to a running bike than starting out on a bike full of mold, mice and rust that will take months of steady work to make road worthy.

The worst part is, you may dig in and find out it's missing all the teeth on 2nd gear with no chance of replacing it. Maybe the rings are shot, but you can't take the cans off without having to improvise a gasket, since they aren't made anymore. Maybe the rear drum is scored and the only way to replace it is by buying a whole rear wheel - and there aren't any available for less than $300.

You can easily potentially be stuck with a bike you'll either be parting out or trying to sell as non-running.

Project bikes are good on the side, but terrible if you want to ride them.
 
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