Did you grow up wrenching on bikes and/or cars with someone else in your family? If you did, that’s awesome (and I’m jealous), but if you didn’t, that’s okay. Chances are good that you’re an adult if you’re reading this, which (at least theoretically) means that you might have more change in your sofa to spend on little things like tools and motorcycles.
In 2022, motorcycle sales are still doing better than they’ve done since before the pandemic—both in the new and used worlds. However, as Donut’s Jeremiah Burton points out in this video, they still look positively affordable as compared to the car market. So, if you’re a budding gearhead who’s been contemplating dipping your toe into purchasing a project bike, there are a lot worse (and more expensive) ways to learn how things work.
For the visual learners out there, this video gives a solid overview of things you should think about and look for when perusing the classifieds for potential project bikes. First of all, you need to consider yourself and what you want. If you’re being completely honest with yourself, what’s your skill level like—both with riding, and with wrenching? Those two things are often not the same, so you need to really think about both your ideal situation, as well as what you’d be willing to accept if the price is right.
Generally speaking, the less you spend on the actual purchase of a project bike, the more wrenching you can realistically expect to do on it. That can be awesome if that’s what you want—but not so wonderful if you were hoping to take it for a ride next weekend. Although there will always be exceptions, that’s a solid rule of thumb to keep in mind.
Also, as with most classified ads, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Prices in the used market vary by region, so do some research on bikes in your area before committing to any specific one, so you have a broader base of knowledge from which to negotiate with a seller.
There’s a solid list of things in this video to check out, both when you’re looking at listings online, and also when you’re actually looking at a bike in person. If you’re new to bikes, welcome! Come on in, have fun—and feel free to ask questions, because another thing this video is totally correct about is that most bike people are more than happy to help.