There is nothing like the feeling and sound of riding a vintage machine. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in regards to the maintenance and upkeep of a vintage motorcycle. Knowing these factors beforehand can help prepare you for what to expect as caretaker of an old machine. It’s important to know the limits of your bike and how much fuss and expense you’re willing to put up with.
- Your vintage motorcycle is, by definition, old. Be patient. Be careful. Be kind.
- Your bike’s parts are also old. Some of them decades old. Unless you replace every component, you will always have something wearing out.
- It’ll cost you money. It’s going to need parts. It’s going to need maintenance work. It’s going break down. There are no free rides on old bikes.
- Not all old bikes are created equal. Many older Japanese and European motorcycles were brilliant, instant “classics” when they were released. Yet just as many had significant faults. Is that a CB650 you’ve got there? We’re so sorry.
- Parts can be challenging. Some bikes are relatively easy to get parts for, while others are just impossible.
- Ethanol bad! Today’s fuel can contain as much as 15% ethanol, along with other additives that can cause trouble in older bikes. Modern fuel can cause carburetion problems if left sitting for more than a couple of weeks. Stabil® added to the gas tank is not enough. Float bowls MUST be drained to help prevent the clogging of the jets and passageways inside your carburetor. And no, Seafoam® is not the answer. Seafoam® is almost never the answer.
At BlueCat Motors, we love vintage motorcycles, but let’s be honest about the reality of owning an older machine. Like any good vice, old motorcycles are more involving and expensive than you first expect. You need to be aware of those costs up front. As romantic as these old machines are, it’s a high-maintenance relationship. In our experience, it’s worth it. An old machine can give you something new bikes just can’t. There’s character there. There’s history. There’s wisdom. That’s why we love riding them and why we love working on them. Bring us yours and we’ll keep you rumbling down the road.