I’ve wanted a low cost project bike for a while now, something I can rip apart and shape into a cool little custom. With the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic taking shape and poised to roll in October, I thought, what better time to pick up an old kicker and start wrenchin.
I set a total cost budget of $1500, decided on a cafe style build and started the search. I’ve got a few friends that have been down this road, and found lots of forums devoted to the subject, so info on a build like this, and good advice, is plentiful.
I went with a 1978 CB550 that I found on ebay. Usually these bikes in running condition can get anywhere from $1000 to $2500, but luckily I was able to pick this gem up for a cool 670 bucks. The good deals are out there, ebay, swap meets, just gotta do a little research and ask lots of questions.
I’ve got a month to get this bike running well, and looking sharp. I was told not to bother with the looking sharp part, just concentrate on getting the bike running well, and I should follow that advice, but what fun’s a bike project without a little pressure from a looming deadline.
With the bike on a lift, day one consisted of making a list of what I’d like to accomplish, and what my build time and budget would allow. A ground up restoration with shiny new parts and paint aint gonna happen. So for the Classic it’ll be the essentials and lots of elbow grease.
I decided to scrap the old exhaust, turn signals, bars and rear fender. This will give the bike a cleaner cafe style. Using Dime City Cycles out of Florida, I got a great deal on replacement parts, along with some helpful tips. As far as paint is concerned, I’ll sand and paint some of the smaller rusty parts, but that’s about it. If time allows there may be a rattle can spry job in that gas tanks future, but for now the essentials.
While waiting for the parts to arrive from Dime City, I tore off the old parts and cleaned the bike up a bit.
Click here for Week 2