WHAT DOES IT COST ?
WHAT DOES IT COST ?
Graham Foster’s beautiful AJS …… just sold on ebay for ……..???
Didn’t even make reserve last time………. SOLD for $12500 !
3 Times on ebay and not even CLOSE !
Maybe next time ?
Of course everyone wants a bargain but it would seem that some people’s understanding of what it
costs to obtain, rebuild and compete on a Vintage machine are way off. Let me put it this way, many of
the machines I saw at this year’s Pre 65 Scottish would not see a lot of change from $20,000 if you were
to try and build one to a similar specification. However, if we are not talking, rare or exotic machines but
more along a 70’s twinshock that is going to be partially restored to riding condition, rather than
museum quality then I’ll list some of the essential costs to put the “barn find” in a ridable state.
You may have already decided which machine is “right for you” either because you rode them way
back when, or perhaps its a desire to have a go on something different, or there just happens to be one
available “at the right price”. So for whatever the reason I’ll list the most popular and give my opinions on,
what it will cost to restore, and what updates or modifications will be required to keep it in good “trials”
The most popular bikes on the Ahrma circuit in Modern Classic are the Yamaha, followed by the
Bultaco Sherpa, and then in about equal numbers Ossa, the Honda TL125, the RL Suzuki and the
Kawasaki. For whatever reason the Montesa doesn’t seem to feature very much although there are a
Realistically any of these machines can be bought for as little as $500 or as much as $1500 in various
states of repair. Things to look for in the photos, if you are buying on ebay, are, is it all there? what is the
general condition? what tires does it currently have on? The list goes on and on, and in most cases, not
wishing to be rude, the spelling and grammar of the ad may also give some clues as to what to expect.
……..”strong runner”, “starts first kick”, “I have the seals/bearings/gasket etc etc” “A few minor dents”
“selling on behalf of a friend”
A Rotten Cotton, ripe for restoration at $900
Having rebuilt over 30 Yamahas here is a list of what I usually look for in the photos after the general
Any tell tale darkness around the fork wipers?
Is the front wheel in the correct way round?
More often than not the front fender is on backwards if its an OEM one!
If aftermarket SM stays are fitted these are usually on backwards!
Oil pump still fitted?
Was it ever washed?
Now I’m usually buying to restore and ride, and I DO have a fair amount of experience in rebuilding
machines so I’m well aware of what is going to be involved and what its going to take to get it back to a
competitive state. All the chrome and polishing on my bikes is purely cosmetic and doesn’t have any
difference on the performance other than to look pretty and give that “pride of ownership”, although
turning up with a shiny bike does piss off the opposition and can be valued at about 5 marks per event.
The other factor is that mud and goo usually slides off polished alloy and chrome while others are
collecting more and more mud on all that doesn’t glitter!
On arrival your new toy may or not be better than the pictures and a few checks of some standard items
will most likely reveal the machines history and maintenance or lack of. If it came with MX knobblies on
then most likely its been used by kids or a trail rider. A quick look at the connecting link on the chain can
reveal the worst nightmares if it has been fitted backwards then heaven help us as to what else has
been fitted incorrectly and bodged!! The rear sprocket can also be hooked to death and up front the
engine sprocket has most likely moved up to either 14 or 15 teeth. A quick check of wheel bearings,
assuming the swinging arm bolt is tight and same up the front. Now a hard press on the brakes and
here if they lock on then maybe the wheels have never been out and therefore the brake cams are
covered in mud and rust. A quick look at the shifter and kicker to see if the bolts are tight and whether
“Shade Tree” has welded them on the shafts!!!
Shocks ? usually Yamaha rear shocks go on working without much problem unless they have been
abused, up front a quick compression of the forks will show if the seals are shot. What state are the
levers in? and the throttle. Most likely they, like the cables, grips, and handlebars are all toast. Time to
look at the exhaust system and because of the Yamaha shape it may well have been dropped in the
rocks and have some serious dents in the lower front pipe. At the rear the support bracket is usually
parting company between the bonded rubber, and if it hasn’t failed it will! However you can drill through
the assembly and fit a bolt to save literally $100.
Tank and seat? If it is a 74 model then the tank is steel, and most likely doesn’t look pretty externally as
they dent easily. Inside? may well be full of rust and unusable. Seat no doubt has rips and gouges but
can be recovered if need be.
Finally does it spark? maybe not but an easy fix. Surprisingly a lot of Yam ignition systems are very
reliable and don’t cause the grief that other manufacturers have but check the lower wiring harness on
top of the engine and see if it is hard and brittle. What state is the carb in ? and is it still running
autolube? How about the carb to cleaner boot? more often as hard as a rock.
Hows this for a goodie! Off ebay today another classic “barn find” with all the NO,NO’s I had previously
mentioned, the frame has been repainted but “Shade Tree” didn’t notice how the front end went
together and then fitted the fork legs in the wrong side so the front wheel and fender are now all arse
backwards!! Looks like Shade tree couldn’t get a spark and couldn’t get the flywheel off either? The
bashplate is missing along with the rear exhaust pipe and the seat is NOT connected to anything. The
“spare” engine has the flywheel nut off but I guess he doesn’t have the puller and its got the boy racer
15 tooth sprocket!!!
Front end “Arse Backwards” !!!
Nut off, I guess no puller, and the 15 T sprocket
So now with our ever growing list of parts required lets put it all on the calculator and see what it adds
up to ? and at this stage we haven’t even had the motor out to see what, if anything, is needed there.
Tires Best choice IRC tubed type or Michelin 230-265
Rim Locks 39
Sprockets Rear 53T front change to 12T 94
Flywheel Puller Different for every bike 21
Handlebars Renthal 5 to 6 inch lift 90
Cables Either OEM or aftermarket 100
Throttle Domino fast or slow 28
Levers If buying new 50-100
Blades only 20
Chain Tensioner block 10
Air Filter 15
Plug points and condenser 48
Kill switch 18
Fork oil seals 15
Now this total is just to get her up and running with “Essential” parts that you MUST have! .
…. now we need to add on the desirable parts to smarten the old girl up and maybe throw in
some restoration in the engine department.
New fenders Plastic 60.00
Fender Stay 73.00
Bash Plate Alloy (BJ) 120.00
Carb Mikuni VM26 160.00
THE “ROLLS ROYCE” SOLUTION
Tank and seat unit 500.00
WES Exhaust system 465.00
Rear set pegs 170.00
Rear shocks Betor 255.00
Front Number Plate 20.00
Folding shifter 35.00
Rebore, piston, etc 250.00
Mains bearings and seals 100.00
GRAND TOTAL 807 + 413 + 1770 = $2990 + Cost of bike!
Of course I have not included the cost of your labor, maybe a little welding on the frame for the
common lugs, namely rear engine support, rear exhaust bracket and rear fender mount, and what
we can call shop supplies with oils, nuts and bolts, petrol piping etc.
So there we have it…….. or you could buy ONE OF MINE!
Its for SALE