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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

i am fairly new to Restoration/alteration and just wanted to get the opinion on which is easier for a beginner to modify.

my options are a honda CL360, engine has been restored already i do believe.

second is a kawasaki kz550. engine got a thorough fix up and a has a new MC and clutch.

both selling for 1500. i want to start somewhere and i definitly dont wanna get into the engine. im good with my hands and i am a quick learner with this sort of stuff.

so thoughts?
 

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I think you should go buy a new triumph thruxton and forget this old jap bike nonsense. You'll be happier. Maybe find a used one. Finance it if you have to, Credit unions give great finance rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think you should go buy a new triumph thruxton and forget this old jap bike nonsense. You'll be happier. Maybe find a used one. Finance it if you have to, Credit unions give great finance rates.
that sounds nice. but i dont feel like dropping 10 grand on a bike (even over time) and the thruxton is heavy, and way more power than i need. (going for rides around town, no highway) plus i wanna work with my hands.

i mean, id take one off your hands if you wanted to give me one :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
its the a1 so probably standard. ill probably go with the cl360 (needs a bit of work and sounds appealing). thanks for the tip!

and for the record im not some young hipster ass, im just a guy that wants to gets his hands dirty again.

browsing this place i see hipster oustings alot so i just wanted to clarify.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
how about for modifying? also is 1500 a good price? 13000 miles on it. recently cleaned up and rebuild. i will have to go check it out before i know what else needs doing to it that they arent telling me.
 

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The thruxton is 36 lbs heavier than that kz550 you are looking at cupcake. The CL360 is still a 400+ lb bike. I don't know what you consider too much power but the kz550 is still putting out 52 hp vs the triumph's 60 (and truth be told the kz550 is probably faster).

As far as working with your hands, when ti comes to bikes there is always that opportunity be it a new R1 or a 1940 BSA M20. If you are new to working on bikes, it is better to start slow with something you can ride and managable tasks instead of junk that needs too much all at once.

and you mention $10K...and yeah that is a considerable chunk of change, but think about this - it buys you a warranty for the things you can't afford or don't have the skills to fix yourself. When it comes to old bikes the biggest hurdle you can have is finding a shop to work on the thing in the first place that knows what it is doing. Sure there are brit and italian specalists, but there is no money in fixing old japanese bikes because they were worthless for so long that hardly anybody has the knowledge anymore that is needed.

So lets look at your two selections for a second....both thos bikes are at least 30 something years old and more likely closer to 40. They have work done but again - it is dubious if the shop knew what they were doing or not, but even if they did there will still be teething problems from a fresh rebuild: a gasket didn't seal right, a bolt wan't torqued right - these things need some mileage to flush out the bugs. Not 20 miles but 1500 miles minimum - the mileage needed for rings to properly seat.

Say each one of these bikes costs you $1500. And let's assume the kinks have been worked out of the engine. That still leaves neck bearings, swingarm bushings, unknown modifications by previous owners, Entropy (rust and other corrosion), cosmetics, setting the bike up the way you want (bars, seats, pegs, levers, etc), the inflated cost of NLA parts, a helmet a jacket and boots, unexpected repairs and repairs you have to pay a shop for. Oh and the tool investment which is usually between $500 and $1000 for the proper things like metric sockets, JIS screwdrivers, impact drivers, specalized service tools, measuring tools (calipers and feeler gauges), a torque wrench, manuals, a box to house them in. Over the next two years expect to drop between $2K and $3500 in the bike getting it to where you want to be. Add the $1500 purchase price and you have roughly $3500 -$5K invested in a bike. This is not counting your labor and time which I am sure has an opportunity cost but is basically lost to the wind. And in the end what do you have? a bike that is probably worth $1800 - $2K.

Now That still doesn't get us to $10K for a new thruxton, but a used 5 or 6 year old thruxton is closer to $5K. For that $5K you spent over time you can have a bike that doesn't have entropy issues (rust and corrosion), and you can ride all the time. It will start, run, and for the most part you could replace your car with it as a comuter, i.e. it is not a useless shitheap you can't ride on a highway somewhere if you need to (my father always used to say there is nothing more useless than the sky above you, the runway behind you, and the horsepower you left in the dealership showroom - you can tell he was a pilot). Plus you get to do the fun stuff like bolt on blinkers, and seats, and pegs, and mirrors, and other bling all while it runs and goes down the road reliably. But $5K lump sum is too much you cry! hence a $10K financed motorcycle - which if you have decent credit is $160 a month. Sure you piss $2K of that into the wind with deprecation, but you'll easily piss $2K of opportunity cost into the wind fixing a broken shitpile. Remember in the used market you always buy the previous owners labor for nothing and the installed parts at a huge discount (usually 60% or better).

Now lets talk about aftermarket. Neither of these two bikes you mentioned have a decent one. So to answer your question which is a better platform for YOU? neither. Both will require skills outside your skill set to keep running. What do you do when you can't find that discontinued muffler bearing? you have to pay someone to make one or adapt another from another bike - and that means machine shop time. As a newbie you want a bike that has an aftermarket, decent network support, available OEM spares, etc. It is just easier on the wallet. The 360 kind of has that being a honda but out of the small honda twins it is the unloved brother of the well loved 350. The Kz550? shit you are going to have to make anything custom for that bike, and most of the service items aren't genuine kawasaki.

For old bikes with a decent aftermarket look at:
SOHC CB750/550
KZ900/1000 (a freight train of a motorcycle so not for a newbie)
norton commando
pre 1979 triumph/BSA
CB350 twin
cb400F
Harley sportster (not an ironhead unless you really don't like yourself)
1999+ Triumph bonneville
Ducati Monster/900SS (metal tanks only)
Yamaha XS650

There are others, but that is the short easy list. Did I just name every old bike on CL that carries a premium? yes I did. You know why? cuz they are worth it. Those bikes have a following, will only appreciate in value, and have huge knowledge bases and aftermarkets. You pay for the opportunity to easily find solutions to the problem you face.

now...somebody cut and paste this into the newbies read this section.
 

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oh and we haven't even addrressed the factory chopper trap (like if the kz550 is an LTD or something) where no matter what it will cost you twice just to get it to stock performance spec if at all.

And please don't be one of these fucking morons that thinks they have to strip the bike to the bare frame or cut the frame rails off as step one for expressing your individuality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
whats the deal with the expressing individuality jargon. i see it alot. i couldnt care less what people do. EITHER WAY

thanks for the debrief on that and a sliver of your precious time. ill shut up now.
 

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whats the deal with the expressing individuality jargon. i see it alot. i couldnt care less what people do. EITHER WAY

thanks for the debrief on that and a sliver of your precious time. ill shut up now.
Actually I was hoping for quite the opposite. You have given us so little info to go on I was hoping you would talk more. This is a discussion so participate. I am a big fan of informed consent so if you read that novel and it made sense but you still want to go ahead then let's talk planning. If you are still diving after those bikes take the kz, it's the less useless of the two. But know you aren't building a 50's styled Brit cafe out of it - welcome to the superbike era, look up who Eddie Lawson is and try to resist painting it kawasaki green with white and blue stripes.
 

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As an 'investment' the Kawasaki wins hands down simply because it's a bigger motor, but, with 4 of most parts will cost more if anything needs replacing (plus, shim under bucket means servicing is a lot more expensive, even at 5,000 mile intervals)
If shims haven't been done, they can burn out exhaust valves (not common as Kawasaki uses a real wide clearance for standard set up, around 0.012" compared to 0.0015" on Suzuki GS550)
CB360's are small fun bikes and the reliability issues can be fixed pretty easy, all the information on engine mods is simple to find.
The main down side of 360's, they are small fun bikes, (it would look like a mini bike with Geeto on it - hell, CB750 looks like a mini bike with him on it ;))
360 can very easily be made a 300lbs bike with 100+mph 'performance' (it's relative, my 380's can do about 120 but are real slow for last 10mph)
550 won't need constant tinkering but either will probably end up costing $5~$8,000 if you keep them long enough and end up building 'your' bike'
I've done a lot of work on both bikes over the years, Kawasaki was almost all servicing, Honda always much more involved. If you never intend to ride more than 200 miles a day 360 works fine
 

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Triumph are made in Thailand, FYI ;)
I dont think it's the made in japan part thats the problem, it's the OLD part that warrants thought.

I'd love a new bonneville tbh, if we weren't saving for a house deposit right now i'd already have one. Thruxton for me is a bit meh. The seat cowl just looks pants and tbh there's so many aftermarket parts for bonnies, i'd rather just get a standard one and 'customise'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Actually I was hoping for quite the opposite. You have given us so little info to go on I was hoping you would talk more. This is a discussion so participate. I am a big fan of informed consent so if you read that novel and it made sense but you still want to go ahead then let's talk planning. If you are still diving after those bikes take the kz, it's the less useless of the two. But know you aren't building a 50's styled Brit cafe out of it - welcome to the superbike era, look up who Eddie Lawson is and try to resist painting it kawasaki green with white and blue stripes.
well i have an allocated 5000 (the price of a 2007 thruxton if this goes south) dollars to a project for me to work on over the summer. i have a veteran mechanic (car) that can assist at any time and i just want something i can build with my hands. my ultimate goal is to restore an old 80s M3 and id like to start somewhere when it comes to the mechanical inner workings of a motorized vehicle. i know cars. and as you can tell, i do NOT know about motorcycles when it comes to what has stood the test of time and all of that. i am an engineer college grad so i am savvy (at least i hope i am), and willing to learn what i need to know. i dont mind not having it as a commuter as i already have a car. i live in the north east so half the year its snowing so it would be a bike for the summer/fall time on the weekends so it doesnt have to be completely dependable. as for cafe. i want something thats not very fast, i have never been a speed demon and highways even in my mini cooper scare me so i wont be going on them on a bike thats for sure. i just want something with a little pep in its guts and can handle well. and the cafe style appeals to me. the riding position, pedigree and how brutally simple they can get. (again not some hipster fuck) i actually want to bring life to something with my own hands without having to eventually send it to college if you get what i mean.

for those two choices listed. they were the only two bikes that are near me that i could procure that were from that era. maybe i need some pointers on how to search deeper. i dont know. but basically i could take the easy way out and buy a new bike but i would then need something else to build. im itching to create something man. cubicle life is so sterile.
 

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As a unrepentant old motorcycle tinkerer and a former e30 vert and former e34 m5 owner - I can tell you the only skill that translates is righty tighty, lefty loosey (in most cases). Even how you plan something like paint is different just due to the size of different vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
well the M3 build is a looooong ways away but id like to start riding again, it was fun when i used to do it and id like to do it again whether its on something i put effort into or one i put no effort into. and seeing as to how i have a summer with nothing to do, i figured i would try a building project with these itchy building hands. again, thank you for taking the time to tell this newbie about what he is getting into.
 
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