Whether you’re just starting to plan your first project, or you’ve been tackling motorcycle projects of your own for some time, it’s always interesting to see how other people reconcile their budgets for their projects. If that’s the kind of thing that interests you, then you may want to see Brick House Builds’ latest video, where BJ breaks down exactly what’s gone into his barn find CB750 build (so far).
If you haven’t been following along, in late January, 2023, BHB presented a handy time lapse video showing an overview of the work done to get this bike out on the road again since he picked it up. There’s also a full playlist that dives more deeply into some of the details of the restoration process. Keeping in mind that the goal with this bike was to maintain some of the patina and make it a fun, roadworthy time capsule rather than bring it back to concours perfection, the bike is now in good shape to start the coming riding season in the midwestern U.S.
Ask a lot of bike people, and they’ll tell you that no bike is ever truly ‘finished.’ There’s always something you want to change, isn’t there? Still, for BHB’s purposes, the goal was to get it back on the road, make it both safe and fun to ride, and also adhere to that certain level of patina aesthetic at the same time. The cost to achieve all that ended up being about $1,733—which is within about $30 or so dollars of what he expected the project to cost at the beginning. That’s always encouraging, right?
Now, of course, it’s worth noting here that your own cost estimates of a project may work out a bit differently, based on multiple factors. In BJ’s case, custom CB750s are what he says drew him into tackling these kinds of projects in the first place—and he’s had years of experience with vintage Hondas, so they’re something he feels that he knows well. Enthusiasm counts for a lot, but all the enthusiasm in the world won’t necessarily prepare you for what certain things are going to cost (ask me how I know).
In BJ’s case, he broke the budget into a few main categories: Running, Riding, Looks, and Miscellaneous. Running cost is pretty self-explanatory, and included all the things needed to get the bike running (and keep in mind, the engine was seized when he picked it up). Riding cost included things like brakes, registration, insurance—all the stuff you’d need to make it safe, comfortable, and road-legal. Looks are self-explanatory, and Miscellaneous is of course a good catch-all category to have for things that don’t quite fit elsewhere.
Another important thing to keep in mind when contemplating a project bike is that circumstances can (and do) change. For example, when BJ picked up this barn find CB750 for $100, he bought it with the understanding that it didn’t have a title—and therefore, he’d have to decide how he wanted to title it to get it back out on the road. However, as he tells us in this video, the seller later dug up the title—which made the process a whole lot easier and less expensive, since he was able to simply get it transferred into his name instead of having to go through a bunch of hoops to get a new title for it.
Obviously, a specific budget for a specific project bike is never going to be a point-by-point guide for anything but that specific bike. Hopefully, though, it can give you a ballpark idea to work with if you’re planning your own projects going forward.