To Rebuild? To Sell? To Scrap? To Part?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by upperleft, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. upperleft

    upperleft Been here awhile

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    What are peoples opinions on what to do with a broken down bike (or car, boat etc..)?

    Right now I am in a situation where I have a 2001 XR400 with a broken counter shaft and some other issues. I got the bike in a trade but it was about a $2200 value about a year and a half ago. I rode the bike probably 1,000 miles 90% off road trails and dirt roads in the time I have owned it. I am ready for a newer bike but I really like the xr400 and it would be a great bike to have in the garage for a friend to ride or a backup when my new expensive high maintenance bike is out of commission.

    I am planning on doing a full rebuild. New bearings, and seals in the bottom end, new piston and cylinder, maybe some head work, and a good general cleaning and replacement of all the other worn out bits. It will cost me around $1500 to get the bike back together in good working shape. But then I will have a bike that is worth about the same I got it for $2200.

    I feel like I should just scrap the bike, part out anything that is worth any money. I could probably get $1200 back out of it + if I add the $1500 I am planning on spending to rebuild it I will have $2700 to go buy a different running xr400.

    I see a big benefit to rebuilding a bike and putting more money into it then its worth because in the end (Especially with a XR) you will have a reliable bike ready for about 17 years of abuse. I think either way I will be rebuilding my bike since I want to learn how to do all of this work myself and I already have most of the parts on order.

    I am just interested to hear other peoples stories of their bikes breaking down, what they did, how it turned out, and what they would have done differently.
    #1
  2. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    I'd rebuild it. You'll have a great machine for a long time, like you said. $1500 of rebuilding isn't all that much money if you get what you want out of it when you are finished. I have a son who's pretty smart at making those kinds of decisions for cars of bikes. If he likes the vehicle, he will go the extra mile with it just because he likes it. If he doesn't like it, it is gone in a heartbeat. It has always seemed to work out best.
    #2
  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Is simple. If you love it, rebuild it. If you hate it, scrap it or part it out. If you hate someone, sell it to them. Unless they'd love it, in which case things get complicated...
    #3
  4. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    This.

    I just rebuilt my old Bandit that is worth maybe 2 grand and I spent more than that. Logically, it would have made more sense to part it out and just buy another for $2k. But I love that old piece of crap, and I had fun putting it back on the road. Now it runs great and I'm smiling every time I hop on.

    So yeah, are you an analytical fussbudget or a hopeless romantical nitwit? How do you feel about that bike? How much discretionary income do you have? These are the questions you have to ask yourself.
    #4
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  5. ChaoSS402

    ChaoSS402 Adventurer

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    You "paid" 2200 for a bike, and it lasted you 1000 miles over a year and a half. If you put it back together yourself, and you know what you are doing, it will last quite a while, right? If you pay 2700 for another one, what are the chances of it lasting you another year and then putting you back in this same position?
    #5
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  6. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

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    The XR was a great bike for it's time, but newer bikes are so much better. For $2700 you could probably find a decent mid-2000's CRF450.
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  7. upperleft

    upperleft Been here awhile

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    Yes this is something I considered. If I rebuild this bike (and do it right) it will last a long time before it needs any major work. If I buy another used one it is a gamble and I could be in the same position I am in now. This is the main reason I decided to do a re-build

    I could get a lot of different things for $2700, none of which will be be as low maintenance and easy to ride in all different types of terrain (deserts, trails, dunes, forest roads, pavement) My plan is to get a newer 300 xc-w for my next bike and keep the xr as a dual sport.


    I mostly made this post because I have been feeling a little stupid for spending so much money on this old bike. I figured hearing about other peoples experience being irresponsible with their money would make me feel better.
    #7
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  8. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    i have a yr 2000 XR 400, which i have had 5 years now, last spring i ran it low on oil and trashed the top end. I spent $1200 to have the top end professionally rebuilt, I have never done it before and i had a big ride i wanted to do in about 1 month, so I figured it was not the best time to learn how. I thought about scrapping it, and buying a new bike, but that would have been a KTM, because i already promised my self that my next dirt bike will be new and light and high performance while I can still enjoy it, and I was not ready for that kind of money outlay. The XR has always worked for me, so I spent the money on it. I think next year i will get the new bike, but will keep the old XR as back up. If you search the internet you will be hard pressed to find someone who regretted keeping a XR 400. I believe they were the last air cooled four strokes that were seriously raced by factory teams. The last of the breed. Its a dirt bike, its a toy, its already a bad financial decision.......
    #8
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  9. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Harsh and colorful

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    Can you buy an engine for cheaper?
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  10. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    As others have said, If you like it a lot, I'd fix it up and keep it.

    I would also not keep track of every last penny. It's a hobby and hobbies typically aren't money making ventures nor do they lend themselves to rational decision making. Don't do anything totally stupid, but I wouldn't worry about a few hundred $$ either way. It sucks all the fun out of it.

    I also liking having stuff that not everyone else has.
    #10
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  11. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    you can find a running bike or engine cheaper maybe,.... but then you are spending your money on a unknown "risky" item, which may be of questionable condition. With a rebuild of your own stuff, you at least know what you are getting and if its done right you can have confidence that it should last a while. Unless you are buying from a trusted source.....
    #11
  12. arkansawyer

    arkansawyer Long timer

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    I'm considering a total top to bottom redo of my 1989 hawk gt. It will cost more than I paid for the bike brand new.

    My brother had an XR400. I liked it. Very friendly until 80% of outright race pace. Honda should have made a street legal version. A nice size between the not powerful enough 250 and too heavy 650(that I have owned for a decade). You could rebuild it for less money than you think.
    #12
  13. upperleft

    upperleft Been here awhile

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    Yeah If you goggle "xr440 e start" you can find a few bikes people converted to a e start big bore 440. I cant for the life of me understand why Honda never produced a bike like this. They already had all the parts on the shelf. They could have put some upgraded usd forks on it, add a 6th gear, and try to reduce the weight a little. A bike like this would be the perfect low cost, low maintenance all around great bike.

    I think that was the downfall of the XR line (at least the 250 and 400) they were great all around bikes but not the best at any one thing. This is why I like the bike and plan to keep it forever. I will admit I am excited to eventually get a new lighter 2 stroke for the trail but the XR will surly be better then my new bike in some ways.
    #13
  14. usgser

    usgser Long timer

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    As others have said. Depends on your relationship with your bike. Restoring it for hopeful profit is your goal it likely won't happen unless it's a really rare and in demand collector item. If you love the bike and it's been good to/for you it's worth giving her what she needs. You get to ride out your investment. If it's just another old scoot that you regret is still around, time to sell it/part it whatever.
    #14
  15. kames

    kames Adventurer

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    There is one great advantage to fixing it. You're ahead of the game, it's already yours! Seriously I love these kinds of projects, you get fun and satisfaction for your money, and that's worth something.
    #15
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  16. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    Major breakdowns - IMO - are opportunities for rebuilding components the "right" way, and blueprinting, upgrading gaskets, sealants, wear items, bearings, rings, etc.

    It depends on you - do you enjoy patiently fiddling with machinery, being a perfectionist, doing things more than "right".

    If so, go for it!! But, as was previously noted - don't keep track of spending, or do this as a cost savings activity. It will likely cost you 3X what you budget, but that's not the point.

    Who do you think would have a better sense of achievement and pride - the guy who struggles and sacrifices to actually climb and reach the top of Mount Everest... or the guy that gets dropped off by Helicopter at the Top for ten minutes, then departs again via Helicopter? :confused
    #16
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  17. upperleft

    upperleft Been here awhile

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    I like that you mention "do you like patiently fiddling with machinery" because in theory I do, I am an engineer and have a good understand about how everything works and why it works. I have a lot of experience with mechanical systems. I do however not have very much hands on experience with the internal workings of a motorcycle engines and transmissions. A big part of the reason I decided to take this project on was because I am not a perfectionist and am really bad at organizing and following instructions from a manual. I am not of a pull it apart figure out how it works, slap it back together and hope for the best. I am thinking this project will force me to change my ways or else I will end up with an expensive boat anchor.
    #17
  18. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    If you are an Engineer (I'm a Mechanical Engineer by Degree) you'll be fine. Buy an official Factory manual. Part of the fun as well is the researching and detective work. I'd recommend going on a dedicated XR400 website, and read through the various threads and posts on engine rebuilds, upgrades, mods. etc.

    Now.. having said that... best advice ever: Be VERY cautious about what "advice" you accept. Experienced web siters - yourself included of course - know that there is easily as much, or more BAD advice on these sites as there is good. You have to be able to recognize the bad, end ignore it. One huge red flag is the angry "My advice is the only advice, or you suck", type posters. "Know-it-Alls" usually know very little. Toss those away. Quiet and precise is better. I look for at least 4/5 posters totally agreeing on something before becoming interested. On the other hand, there is definitely some good advice being offered up, you just have to consider the source, and the presentation method. Forced is bad, suggested politely is good. Often a Private Message system works great, good folks are always wiling to offer up help.

    Lot's of YouTube vids out there as well - same caution, some are absolutely great, some are so wrong and bad you just shake your head. Watch a few, you'll get the idea.

    Make your workshop nice and comfy - no one does good work when uncomfortably hot, or cold. Make a pot of great coffee, play some good tunes, and relax while you build your masterpiece, It'll be great.
    #18
  19. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Key point if no one else has mentioned it, if you redo everything you essentially have a frame up restoration and virtually a new XR400R. You probably can't get something like that for $2700, new bore piston, valve job, anything else. But the second key point is you only do it if you want a virtually new XR400R. Otherwise unload it, part it out, or whatever and buy what trips your trigger.
    #19
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  20. shakeybone

    shakeybone Long timer

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    I have recently had the same question.
    I bought a Suzuki GS 650 for $500. Road it over 10k miles doing little. Had over 20k miles on it when it stopped running. I think it might have been a coil, but it needed tires, chain & sprockets, burned some oil, probably valve seals, leaked even more oil.
    I could have fixed it but the big issue was the bike didn't do what I wanted anymore, wanted a dual sport, so I sold it for $250.
    It sounds like the XR is something that is right for you so I would fix it.
    #20