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Old 10-18-2014, 04:17 AM   #1
Alexander B OP
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Having an old bike (other than HD) as main ride?

Lately there have been many discussions about old bikes here.
My thoughts are related to the practical side of things. Is there a lot of problems around riding, maintaining and repairing "old bikes", not vintage collector items? What sort of experience have you got?

I have seen many times that (mainly?) Honda stops selling unique and vital parts, rendering the bike virtually useless or (VERY) expensive to repair. (Rotors for first gen. CB 1100 R, engine and gearbox parts for 80s Shadows, exhausts and suspension parts etc.)
I find this cynical, as the genuine parts are often the only supply available once the bike is in a certain age between "current" and "old timer". I have also read over and over in magazines how owners literally bought the last NOS tank, speedo, cam shaft etc available anywhere to restore their bike.

So, how about owning a late 80s or early 90s non-Harley bike as your only bike?
Is it doable without devoting your life to monitoring ebay or buying your own parts factory for electronics, machining and metal work?
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:26 AM   #2
Murphy Slaw
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I think that's a major factor in the resale value of Harleys staying so far and away higher than any other brand. It can't be supply / demand because there are zillions of Sportsters out there, yet they command a decent resale.
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:28 AM   #3
joe a
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Buy any "old" BMW.......
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:35 AM   #4
Tim_Tom
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I rode an 82 Suzuki GS850 exclusively until last season. I had no trouble finding parts for it. You would be amazed how many people ride old Japanese bikes, and there is a lot of support/ aftermarket parts available.

I've since upgraded to a 92 ZX600c and also have had no issue finding parts. There are lots of websites that cater to the old Japanese bikes.

I will say though, having an old bike as your only bike, you better enjoy wrenching and can expect at least a week or two a season for your bike to be down waiting on parts or repairs. Just part of the experience.
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:36 AM   #5
DC2wheels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe a View Post
Buy any "old" BMW.......
+1

No problem finding parts for my '92 K100RS4V. Not cheap, but available.

Barely broken in with 102,xxx km.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:12 AM   #6
Hank.SD
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I've been fixing up a 1980 CB750F for fun, so far parts have been very easy to find for that bike. I've purchased a stator rotor, regulator rectifier, some gaskets. I see ebay is loaded with exhaust systems for it yet.

I think it depends a lot on the model and how many were sold.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:42 AM   #7
Alexander B OP
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Thanks! Good replies!

"Ebay" means new or NOS parts to me. Buying 25 year old used parts to replace identical, 25 YO, failing parts is not an option to me, unless it is "sheet metal" or auxillary parts like turn signals and mirrors, etc.
Forget about finding good (clean!) used parts for that age bikes in Sweden, IME.

Having had cars of a similar vintage, I know by experience that truck loads of part numbers are obsolete, even for very common cars. Sheet metal, windows, interior parts, electrical parts are not available at all.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:46 AM   #8
Alexander B OP
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Regarding BMW, thanks for the tip, but I am not buying one, new or old.
The brand represents so much that I find do not like, even to a level of contempt. But that is another discussion.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:02 AM   #9
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Manufacturer, at least in Sweden,are due to laws only to forced supply 7-8 years after it is released. That is at least what a dealer in Sweden told me.

I was looking for a part for the bike I had at that time, a honda cm 400 t, and he told me that honda was no longer manufacturing this part, despite the fact that it was a know weakness of the model.

I was shocked since I have had cars that was 40 years old and I had no trouble what so ever to find parts for it. The bike in question was only 20-25 years old.

Iranian screwed with this post 10-18-2014 at 06:10 AM
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:12 AM   #10
jehu
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Get a Guzzi.
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:15 AM   #11
gus
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Ural?
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Old 10-18-2014, 07:45 AM   #12
Iranian
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I would personal go for a honda cb 500 four which I think was on of the most beutiful bikes ever build. The suzuki 750 gt with two stroke is also very beutiful bike but it has become somewhat expensive to buy.
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:29 AM   #13
rocker59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehu View Post
Get a Guzzi.
+1. I have a '91 and a '96 Guzzi. Regular riders and no fear of keeping them on the road.
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:30 AM   #14
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I've only had older or vintage stuff, so I may be a bit biased...

Do a bunch of research on a bike that interests you, like Tim Tom says some older bikes have NLA parts, that are still available, but at a price. If you can find a specific forum for the bike, you can get a good feel for the "popular" problems and what may be NLA vs. a work around.

Honestly, I haven't had any problems with what would be called maintenance items, but big hard parts, can be a challenge. Both finding them and getting a decent price. Where it gets real pricey for some bikes is body panels, side covers, etc.

Some bikes are quirky but if you can find a bunch of owners, you can figure out most of the tricks. Before my K75 I commuted on an old '87 KL600 (pre KLR650), and then on a Honda CB900c. Both proved to fine as commuters, but both had some NLA stuff that could be a bike/deal killer. ie: the oil pump could be called "fragile" on the CB, they are a NLA item, so the only replacement is NOS($$$) or a used one of the same vintage. The rotors were kind of problematic for some, and they were available aftermarket, but again $$$$.

The other recommendation I can make is to find something that was made for a while. The CB900c was made for about 3 years, and the KL600 was made for about 3 years. Pretty short lives, so parts are a bit more rare. If there weren't very many out there to begin with the population of owners will be smaller. There was a great forum for the CB, but there were very few KL600 owners, some KLR650 stuff was "backward compatible" but lots wasn't.
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Old 10-18-2014, 10:57 AM   #15
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I rode a suzuki gs550/4,from 1977-1999,used tires,chains,oil.
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