Cafe Racer Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What's a good price to pay for a Honda 1976 CB550 complete, "running" but cylinder 1 and 4 not firing. Basically a clean bike that will need some engine work, and has some new parts, overall very clean. And clean non op title? $900? I'd be tearing it all down anyways for a first build. I prefer a twin but this looks like a nice bike!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,302 Posts
What's a good price to pay for a Honda 1976 CB550 complete, "running" but cylinder 1 and 4 not firing. Basically a clean bike that will need some engine work, and has some new parts, overall very clean. And clean non op title? $900? I'd be tearing it all down anyways for a first build. I prefer a twin but this looks like a nice bike!
I can't even begin to unpack all the things wrong with these sentences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
You dont have to. All I asked for was what people think it's worth for someone who is learning, on a budget, and is buying his first bike.
Thanks for being so supportive. Are all of your 23,276 posts this nice? That was actually a rhetorical question, I wont be reading your replies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,647 Posts
What's a good price to pay for a Honda 1976 CB550 complete, "running" but cylinder 1 and 4 not firing. Basically a clean bike that will need some engine work, and has some new parts, overall very clean. And clean non op title? $900? I'd be tearing it all down anyways for a first build. I prefer a twin but this looks like a nice bike!
Why don't you look for someone's deserted project. There are three 550 choppers, in different stages of in-completion, for sale around me now. It's likely the same where you are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,510 Posts
What's a good price to pay for a Honda 1976 CB550 complete, "running" but cylinder 1 and 4 not firing. Basically a clean bike that will need some engine work, and has some new parts, overall very clean. And clean non op title? $900? I'd be tearing it all down anyways for a first build. I prefer a twin but this looks like a nice bike!
well 1-4 down is likely ignition
but it is not running
you would need to get it running and tuned and ride it so that you can get a feel for the bike
its just a parts bike as it is 400 is top dollar maybe 500 $1 per cc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
well 1-4 down is likely ignition
but it is not running
you would need to get it running and tuned and ride it so that you can get a feel for the bike
its just a parts bike as it is 400 is top dollar maybe 500 $1 per cc
Thanks guys ! I appreciate it! Im a car guy, Ive had old school Vespas and worked on 2 wheel projects before but this is something I keep educating myself on before buying.
I'll keep an eye out for something further along and "abandoned" project status, or running. Unless it's a deal I can't pass up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,536 Posts
As XB said, the problem is most likely NOT engine related. More than likely, it has a bad coil, a broken wire to the 1-4 coil, or a bad set of points on the 1-4 circuit. This should take about an hour to diagnose, and fixed fr around $50 in parts.

Since you havent filled out your bio, I am left to guess where you are. Since you mentioned "inop" status, and you have "avocado" in your screen name, I am assuming you are in CA. If the a cert of inop has, in fact, been filed and it has a title, registration will be easy. If that is not the case, the only saving grace would be if it hasn't been registered in over 7 years. It used to be the case that registration info would fall off the DMV files after 7 years, and you could file for a lost title for $12. If it is not off the DMV computer, then you will pay for ALL the back registration.

If it were me, I'd have all the above information in my back pocket. I wouldn't mention it to the owner. I'd offer him $500 because it doesn't run "and I don't know what it will take to get it running". If he can't provide the inop cert and a title, it'd be $400 (ONLY if the last reg date on the plate is 8 or more years old), because "Man, that could cost me $500 just to get it registered".


You DO NOT need to tear the bike down. Regardless of what you have seen on TV, that is NOT the correct way to build a bike (specially a first build). PERIOD. That isn't even how they do it on those TV shows. The correct way is to get it running and riding well, then let the bike tell you what needs modifying. They just don't show that part.

And BTW READ THIS FIRST
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks! Lots of help and pointers. Ive built so many cars, the last few Chevy's I had were rust buckets so I was accustomed to just going down to bare frame and build up. But for a first build, or in general that makes sense for a bike, get it going, then start adding based on personal pref. and what works best for the bike. I've started adding some info to my profile, good detective work on the avocados... haha... yeah I am in California.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,302 Posts
You dont have to. All I asked for was what people think it's worth for someone who is learning, on a budget, and is buying his first bike.
Thanks for being so supportive. Are all of your 23,276 posts this nice? That was actually a rhetorical question, I wont be reading your replies.
Kid what you have right now is the the dangerous combination of Enthusiasm and Ignorance (in the traditional meaning of the word - not as an insult). I get that you saw something cool and now you want it "right now!" but slow your roll Veruca Salt there are some things you need to hear.

Cars are not motorcycles. Motorcycling is an "adventure" or "extreme" sport and like every one the more prepared you are for the worst scenario, the better off you will be. This means before you even consider a project bike (which is traditionally a second bike) you need 1. a license, 2. training (like an msf course) , 3. Real Gear (helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, and pants), 4. experience, 5. A working motorcycle that you can actually ride. How many of these things do you actually have? You mention vespas, and as a 1965 VBB owner myself, and someone who was at one point on the fringe of vespa "culture" there are a lot of bad habits that get picked up from that scene that you don't want for a larger motorcycle (such as riding in T-shirt and jeans, 1/2 helmets, style over substance mods and gear...etc).

You need to ask yourself, do you actually want to ride a motorcycle? or is this some ego driven thing to possess something cool with no intention of actually using it as intended? If you want to actually ride - put away $1500 and spend that on a modernish motorcycle that works day in and day out and is reliable and then use it as transportation and try to learn not to die. It sounds easy, but it's not. Wile you have that if you want to work on a project bike as a second bike then go for it. You can also finance a new-ish bike like a guzzi V7 or Triumph Bonneville if a 1990's ninja 250 or 500 isn't doing it for you.

When it comes to your project bike - you aren't going to know what's good or not in how it is setup unless you have some real riding experience. there are a lot of art projects on the internet that look pretty but were built by people who don't really ride motorcycles and it is really easy to fall into that trap, have a bad experience, and leave the hobby altogether. Nobody here wants that, we all want you to have a lasting positive experience but those sorts of things take time and money.

Final thing - you have to be open minded about this stuff. Bikes are not cars, and it's really easy to apply car knowledge to bikes and end up with something stupid and dangerous. It's also really easy to have pride in your abilities and not be open to people telling you you are saying or doing something stupid when you are. You need to be ready to learn and take advice in spite of whatever ego you have regardless as to how coarse the message is delivered. Motorcycling is full of characters, some of them very blunt, you are gonna have to learn to roll with it and focus on what is important - what can you learn about your motorcycle.

Your project selection is all over the map. You don't know what works, you don't know good bikes from bad ones, I am going to guess your "research" of things involves mostly looking at pretty pictures on the internet. You asked a question earlier about hondamatics that literally made me worried for you in how little experience you have and how much your enthusiasm is clouding your judgement. So let's talk about project bikes The ideal one is one that:

1. has been raced at some point - either when new or is currently raced in vintage racing.
2. Has a large aftermarket with reasonably priced and available parts.
3. has a good knowledge base and community of people devoted to it.
4. Is complete, has a title, and preferably runs.

A couple other points of wisdom:

- A custom bike costs roughly the same amount - the only difference is whether you pay upfront of something nice, or over time through parts and labor. If you factor in the labor time or you pay someone to work on it for you building it will always cost more.
- you buy all the previous owner's installed parts at a 75% discount and get all his labor for free
- the most expensive motorcycle is a free one, the cheaper the project the more money you generally have to pour into it on the back end.
- if you are new, you will not make a profit on any custom motorcycle.

if you can life with these things than by all means carry on. If not, might I suggest knitting as an alternative hobby? It's cheap and you get a sweater out of it.

now let's talk a little bit about the landscape:
how does your cb550 fit in the landscape? Actually before we go there - do you even know which model cb550? in 1976 there was a K model and an F model, and most of the aftermarket is for the K model despite the F model being the sportier bike with a really pretty 4-1 factory exhaust.

In terms of cb550s they were popular, and raced at one point, and I think there is still at least one in vintage racing. There is a decent aftermarket for them, but it's not always cheap. With SOHC4 honda engines - it doesn't always pay to rebuild them because of the expense of things like bearings. they are also way more complex engines than a SBC - about on par with what was in import cars in the 1990's or GP race engines of the 4 stroke era of the 60's-70's. Often the bikes are cheap because they were considered disposable - easier to buy another running one than fix a seriously broken one, compared to brit bikes which were more expensive to buy because they can be fixed roadside with a rock.

There is a huge community for the SOHC4 and the bike is common enough that no stock parts or service items are rare.

this bike youa re looking at is supposedly complete, runs (poorly), and has a title.

So all in all maybe not bad, but is a cb550 what you want? They don't make a lot of torque, and they are very smooth running - so much so that often people deride the bike as having no "soul" (whatever that means). Is it big or small enough? motorcycles fit people like clothing - if you are over 6' and hunched over racer made out of a 550 is going to wad you up like a monkey fucking a football, but if you are like 5'3 and 120lbs it's going to be a big top heavy piece of metal. What is it about the 550 specifically that you like?

A different approach might be to figure out a short list of bikes that fit the project criteria better and look for those specifically rather than shotgunning anything you see in the paper. Buying a hondamatic for a custom is like contracting herpes, and some of the other honda twins like the later cb/cm 400 450 twins aren't much better. Meanwhile I see Guzzi projects selling for $1500-2500 all the time and there isn't anything more "car like" to work on than a guzzi or more beautiful when done right (and done right usually involves a wheelbarrow of cash).

Final note: ask questions, try not to be butt hurt when you don't get the answer you want, and if you don't understand ask more questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,696 Posts
... for someone who is learning, on a budget, and is buying his first bike..
A single cylinder motorcycle of your choice.



If performance is a consideration you need one that at least has a 4 valve head better with no anti-vibration crap, which means it will probably be originally a competition bike of some form.
New is nice :cool: on a budget is a relative term.

if you are asking what an old bike is worth; Huge difference depending on condition, completeness, serviceability and potential for performance improvements.
CB 4 cylinder anything is very much 4 times the complexity. I bet most sink more money then if they went out and bought a brand new name brand motorcycle complete with a warranty. 4 cylinder bikes are enthusiast motorcycles, leave them for the experienced enthusiasts.
Problem is many here know what these things sold for new.
difficult to comprehend why anybody would pay way more then original list price for anything less then a complete & running motorcycle when those do exist, why don't you start with the bikes original list price as a top limit ;)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,737 Posts
You dont have to. All I asked for was what people think it's worth for someone who is learning, on a budget, and is buying his first bike.
Thanks for being so supportive. Are all of your 23,276 posts this nice? That was actually a rhetorical question, I wont be reading your replies.
Avocado Guy:

I read both of Geeto's replies to you and I see no need to censor him or anyone else in this thread. I wish you the best of luck with your future "build." There has been some sound advice and recommendations made here. I suggest you consider it.

Cheers,

-MGMT

You wrote: "alwaysavocado ( mailto: REDACTED ) has reported this post:



https://www.caferacer.net/forum/craigslist-ebay/39795-help-buying-bike-whats-worth.html#post629355



This is part of this thread:

Help with buying a bike/ whats this worth?

https://www.caferacer.net/forum/craigslist-ebay/39795-help-buying-bike-whats-worth.html



This is the reason that the user gave:

Non relevant and rude.







This message has been sent to all moderators of this forum, or all administrators if there are no moderators.



Please respond to this post as applicable."






 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Kid what you have right now is the the dangerous combination of Enthusiasm and Ignorance (in the traditional meaning of the word - not as an insult). I get that you saw something cool and now you want it "right now!" but slow your roll Veruca Salt there are some things you need to hear.

Cars are not motorcycles. Motorcycling is an "adventure" or "extreme" sport and like every one the more prepared you are for the worst scenario, the better off you will be. This means before you even consider a project bike (which is traditionally a second bike) you need 1. a license, 2. training (like an msf course) , 3. Real Gear (helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, and pants), 4. experience, 5. A working motorcycle that you can actually ride. How many of these things do you actually have? You mention vespas, and as a 1965 VBB owner myself, and someone who was at one point on the fringe of vespa "culture" there are a lot of bad habits that get picked up from that scene that you don't want for a larger motorcycle (such as riding in T-shirt and jeans, 1/2 helmets, style over substance mods and gear...etc).

You need to ask yourself, do you actually want to ride a motorcycle? or is this some ego driven thing to possess something cool with no intention of actually using it as intended? If you want to actually ride - put away $1500 and spend that on a modernish motorcycle that works day in and day out and is reliable and then use it as transportation and try to learn not to die. It sounds easy, but it's not. Wile you have that if you want to work on a project bike as a second bike then go for it. You can also finance a new-ish bike like a guzzi V7 or Triumph Bonneville if a 1990's ninja 250 or 500 isn't doing it for you.

When it comes to your project bike - you aren't going to know what's good or not in how it is setup unless you have some real riding experience. there are a lot of art projects on the internet that look pretty but were built by people who don't really ride motorcycles and it is really easy to fall into that trap, have a bad experience, and leave the hobby altogether. Nobody here wants that, we all want you to have a lasting positive experience but those sorts of things take time and money.

Final thing - you have to be open minded about this stuff. Bikes are not cars, and it's really easy to apply car knowledge to bikes and end up with something stupid and dangerous. It's also really easy to have pride in your abilities and not be open to people telling you you are saying or doing something stupid when you are. You need to be ready to learn and take advice in spite of whatever ego you have regardless as to how coarse the message is delivered. Motorcycling is full of characters, some of them very blunt, you are gonna have to learn to roll with it and focus on what is important - what can you learn about your motorcycle.

Your project selection is all over the map. You don't know what works, you don't know good bikes from bad ones, I am going to guess your "research" of things involves mostly looking at pretty pictures on the internet. You asked a question earlier about hondamatics that literally made me worried for you in how little experience you have and how much your enthusiasm is clouding your judgement. So let's talk about project bikes The ideal one is one that:

1. has been raced at some point - either when new or is currently raced in vintage racing.
2. Has a large aftermarket with reasonably priced and available parts.
3. has a good knowledge base and community of people devoted to it.
4. Is complete, has a title, and preferably runs.

A couple other points of wisdom:

- A custom bike costs roughly the same amount - the only difference is whether you pay upfront of something nice, or over time through parts and labor. If you factor in the labor time or you pay someone to work on it for you building it will always cost more.
- you buy all the previous owner's installed parts at a 75% discount and get all his labor for free
- the most expensive motorcycle is a free one, the cheaper the project the more money you generally have to pour into it on the back end.
- if you are new, you will not make a profit on any custom motorcycle.

if you can life with these things than by all means carry on. If not, might I suggest knitting as an alternative hobby? It's cheap and you get a sweater out of it.

now let's talk a little bit about the landscape:
how does your cb550 fit in the landscape? Actually before we go there - do you even know which model cb550? in 1976 there was a K model and an F model, and most of the aftermarket is for the K model despite the F model being the sportier bike with a really pretty 4-1 factory exhaust.

In terms of cb550s they were popular, and raced at one point, and I think there is still at least one in vintage racing. There is a decent aftermarket for them, but it's not always cheap. With SOHC4 honda engines - it doesn't always pay to rebuild them because of the expense of things like bearings. they are also way more complex engines than a SBC - about on par with what was in import cars in the 1990's or GP race engines of the 4 stroke era of the 60's-70's. Often the bikes are cheap because they were considered disposable - easier to buy another running one than fix a seriously broken one, compared to brit bikes which were more expensive to buy because they can be fixed roadside with a rock.

There is a huge community for the SOHC4 and the bike is common enough that no stock parts or service items are rare.

this bike youa re looking at is supposedly complete, runs (poorly), and has a title.

So all in all maybe not bad, but is a cb550 what you want? They don't make a lot of torque, and they are very smooth running - so much so that often people deride the bike as having no "soul" (whatever that means). Is it big or small enough? motorcycles fit people like clothing - if you are over 6' and hunched over racer made out of a 550 is going to wad you up like a monkey fucking a football, but if you are like 5'3 and 120lbs it's going to be a big top heavy piece of metal. What is it about the 550 specifically that you like?

A different approach might be to figure out a short list of bikes that fit the project criteria better and look for those specifically rather than shotgunning anything you see in the paper. Buying a hondamatic for a custom is like contracting herpes, and some of the other honda twins like the later cb/cm 400 450 twins aren't much better. Meanwhile I see Guzzi projects selling for $1500-2500 all the time and there isn't anything more "car like" to work on than a guzzi or more beautiful when done right (and done right usually involves a wheelbarrow of cash).

Final note: ask questions, try not to be butt hurt when you don't get the answer you want, and if you don't understand ask more questions.

No one was butt hurt from an answer. You never gave an answer... all you claimed was an ego and basically stated "iiii know this.. iiiii know that" sure, you know it all, we get that. But share the info or don't respond . Get to the point is all. Thanks for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks all for the good info! I'll be keeping my eye out for the right project, and some of your answers sold me on a twin for a first bike. I'll post again if I find any leads or make a buy! Looking forward to chatting with some experienced friendly peeps. I think someone on here mentioned bikes being different that cars, that was also great advice. I had thought bikes also had 4 wheels :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,302 Posts
Thanks all for the good info! I'll be keeping my eye out for the right project, and some of your answers sold me on a twin for a first bike.
Explain how? Some of the Japanese twins are as complex as the fours (like the 1967-1974 cb450 DOHC). Just because something has less cylinders doesn't mean it's less complex.

I think someone on here mentioned bikes being different that cars, that was also great advice. I had thought bikes also had 4 wheels :D
Don't be cheeky, there is real wisdom in being careful about applying car logic to motorcycles. A good example of this is lowering. It's generally accepted that lowering a car mostly has a positive effect on handling as long as you haven't gone too extreme. However, generally speaking lowering a bike mostly has a negative effect on handling, and bikes are way more sensitive to changes in "stance". Same goes for tire selection, wheels, etc...Motorcycles generally operate in 3 dimensions (people don't think of lean angle as altitude but it is in a way) and the dynamics are very different. For instance when you throw your car into a turn it generally doesn't want to go faster for the rpms, but on a bike leaning the bike over functionally decreases the final gearing because you are decreasing the tire size. there are all sorts of things to think about here.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top