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ricochetrider 12-13-2012 04:39 PM

Preference: Original or Restored?
If you were doing some serious shopping about for an older bike, would you rather buy a restored bike or one in original condition?

Personally, I 'd rather go with an old bike in original condition- as long as it hasn't sat at a river's bottom, or in someone's yard for 30 years, or something like that. I never could understand the tendency to take a sweet vintage bike and erase all the patina, make it shiny, and replace all the old bits with brandy new cheap ass Chinese (or Indian- for Brit bits) junk parts. Worse than simply repainting is when a guy repaints it with HIS favorite color, or some color "scheme" which wasn't specified by the manufacturer for the bike/year.

Let's face it- many older/classic/vintage bikes are, for the most part, completely rideable! Of course you might want to upgrade the obvious- wiring, lights, ignition, tires, battery, etc. - life and death stuff that will make or break your world, OK. But to take a sweet old ride and needlessly "restore" it? Just because it bugs YOU to have a crusty old steed? Come ON. Then - worse yet- you restore a cool old bike, and instead of riding it, you SELL IT? A crime, IMO. You fuckin fuck! Why didn't you just go buy a modern bike to begin with rather than fuck up a great classic?

Listen- you knuckleheads with more money than brains- leave the great old bikes to us, we who love patina, who don't mind a drip or three of oil, we who don't WANT a shiny bike. Go get yourself a retro-inspired modern motorcycle. You KNOW it's what you REALLY wanted all along. :1drink

east high 12-13-2012 08:05 PM

I'll fix what's broke, or upgrade a few things here and there, but it's only original once. If rust or scratches in the paint won't buff out I consider it part of the bike. Restoring an old bike is like dying your chin whiskers.

anotherguy 12-14-2012 04:36 AM

Motorcycles are transportation.

Meriden 12-14-2012 06:19 AM

Depends on the bike and condition. I've started a very rough 1979 RD 400 Daytona that will be completely restored with period mods. To get it running and ride it in it's current cosmetic condition would make the rider appear to be of low SES. My 71 Tiger is currently in stock trim with most of the original paint and parts. I couldn't build any hog without chopping or bobbing it because, let's face it, they need an aesthetic touch (except some K models.) Give me a UJM and I'm not putting anything but gas and throttle into it (not even oil.) Despite seeing some cool tricked out old airheads, there is not much you can, or should, do to a BMW.

my 2


lrutt 12-14-2012 06:56 AM

I buy the best original I can find. I wory more about cosmetics in a lot of cases. If the bike is not running and low miles, I'm usually not too concerned if the paint, seat, and chrome are original and good. 90%+ of the time the motor problem is minor, only requiring a few bucks to sort out and get running. That has been the case on my 78 750, 70 triumph, 71 triumph, 73 Norton, 70 Suzuki, 71 Yamaha, 65 Dream, and maybe others I've forgotten.

I never go into a project knowing that I'll have more in it than it's worth. And that is usually the case with a full quality repaint and rechrome etc. I may not get a 1st place trophy, but it's amazing how often the fully restored guys will come over and look at my originals and notice where they went wrong with color, scheme, etc. :lol3

And they ALL get ridden regularly, all are licensed, full of gase, on tenders, and ready to go at a moments notice.

Merfman 12-14-2012 07:52 AM


I logged in this morning with the intent of doing this exact same poll! I just bought an 84 Nighthawk with the intent of restoring it to rideable condition but replacing all the mission critical items that required replacement. While doing research, I started noticing that in comparison, my bike was in stellar shape. No major rust, it's 99% OEM complete, etc.
I started looking at some of the rebuilds on the Nighthawk forums where guys have rebuilt these to showroom glory and was conflicted by the beauty of these rebuilds. I started to question my original intent and wanted to poll the collective for opinions.

After riding for a while, I intend to resell it, buy something similar and repeat the process. I have a Super Tenere' that does the majority of my bidding so I intend in buying/riding/restoring as many as possible and learning as much as I can in the process.

Thanks to the OP for starting the poll and many thanks to the collective for weighing in with your opinions!

PS - if interested my build thread is here in SAR...

LonerDave 12-14-2012 08:56 AM

Patina for me.

You might call me lazy (and you'd be right).

You might call me a cheap SOB (and you'd be right).

But I prefer to think of myself as a disciple of Wabi-Sabi. "an aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transcience and imperfection. Beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete"

PSchrauber 12-14-2012 09:13 AM

It depends ... when I look for a used old bike these are my preferences, in order of importance:

1. as original and complete as possible,
2. as less dent and broken parts as possible,
4. registration papers, a new road registraiton - if the original is lost - can cost more then the complete bike
5. not too much corrosion,
6. Running engine depends to the shape, if it hasn't run for years I don't mind and will not even try to start.
When the bike looks like it had runned a couple of months ago I would certainly like to have a running engine.

hugemoth 12-14-2012 06:21 PM

Restored mechanically, patina on the outside.

achtung3 12-15-2012 07:27 AM

Never understood riding for the looks or lookers and why?:confused

Enjoy the ride.:rofl

Bridge Club 12-17-2012 06:22 AM

As long as it goes ...
In theory I want "oily rag" condition in perfect running order.

In practice I just get or keep them going and ride them around.

caponerd 12-17-2012 05:14 PM

Depends. If I ever get a complete, original,well cared for, and running vintage bike, I'd leave it alone.

But all the vintage bikes I've ever had were abused, neglected, crashed and badly repaired, or poorly modified.
The only options I've had have been to restore or customize because they were junk when I got them.

Wirespokes 12-17-2012 06:25 PM

When I see a bike for sale that's been re-done and stuff isn't right, or cheap after market parts used, it turns me off immediately. Normally the owner talks it up and it turns me off even worse - just another quickie budget restore! :huh

But if it was a quality restoration, it's most likely an excellent deal - they never sell for what they cost.

Some of my bikes are as caponerd said - rough runners to begin with, projects, or maybe a basket case needing a lot. But the way I've tended to go is put the mechanicals in good shape, then massage the cosmetics - pull out the dings and dents, touch up the scrapes and scratches and smooth the gouges in the aluminum. It can take some time, but in the end it's the cheapest way to go, yet there's a special aura about it that grabs your attention. You know it's not perfect or new, but there's just something pleasing about it. I find that as I make things right, there's a point where the bike suddenly looks really good to me, despite the imperfections, and that's usually where they end off. Unless, something continues to bug me.

Max Headroom 12-17-2012 07:41 PM

I can happily admire both ends of the classic motorcycle spectrum.

The definition of the term "restoration" seems to be quite subjective these days though. I've seen some classic bikes (and cars) referred to in magazine articles as "restored" yet the mechanicals have only had a kerosene overhaul. The full restoration of an otherwise worn out machine which would logically face parting out is something that would depend on the model, scarcity of parts, finished value, and intended use, while not ignoring the skills, available free time, and surplus funds of the owner . . .

On the other hand, some allegedly "patina'd" bikes are merely neglected. "Evidence of use" is one thing, but "lack of care" is quite another.

Somewhere in-between the over-restored bikes and the over-patina'd bikes are the unmolested, well-cared for machines which have been sensibly maintained and ridden all their lives. They are the bikes I admire the most.

Bar None 12-17-2012 08:54 PM


Originally Posted by ricochetrider (Post 20243538)
You fuckin fuck! Why didn't you just go buy a modern bike to begin with rather than fuck up a great classic
Listen- you knuckleheads with more money than brains- leave the great old bikes to us, we who love patina, who don't mind a drip or three of oil, we who don't WANT a shiny bike. Go get yourself a retro-inspired modern motorcycle. You KNOW it's what you REALLY wanted all along. :1drink

Man, you need to take a chill pill. What a ridiculous rant.
It's a free country. If someone want to restore a bike or leave it as is, that's their choice.

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