Author Topic: Looking for a 1970s bike to start riding again after 30 years, any advice ?  (Read 1602 times)

Offline SKR01

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Hi, I'm new to the Forum. 
I rode smaller bikes, 150cc to 250 in my early 20s when it was an affordable option to a car, now 30 years later I want to get back into it.  The main appeal is riding a 1970s larger bike, a second appeal is to learn about what makes them tick as I currently have no knowledge of mechanics.  With about 3k to spend I am thinking Japanese, probably Kawasaki, and looking around a z650 seems common enough to be in my price range and able to hold it's own going up and down the motorway at weekends.  My dream bike since I was a young boy was the Z1 but that is well out of my price range (by about 7 fold).  I am looking for advice and guidance on where to look and what to look for, or if my expectations need to be reset.

Many thanks,
Stuart

Offline Rex

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Rather confusing there, Stuart. Do you want an old Jappa hack to knock about on, or something to ride, restore and learn about mechanics on?

Offline SKR01

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Primarily something to ride straight away, and then also learn something about mechanics so I can keep it running.

Offline R

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Well if you fancy a Z650 and can afford a Z650 and can find a Z650, then why not !!

I always liked the look of those green ones.
And if you can find a running and registered one, then you are well on the way.

With the supreme advantage that the local (?) dealer can always assist if required.
Tuning up 4 carbs is quite a skill, which not all owners will want to acquire.

The Handbook that (hopefully) will come with it will detail most common tasks,
particularly keeping the chain adjusted, topping up the engine oil, battery water, brake fluid,
tyre pressure etc etc. After a while this all gells into a near automatic checking of everything required.

And if anything needs overhauling/repairing, you can always get a quote from that local dealer.
It can't be overestimated how important this is, keeps many a bike on the road ...
And you learn stuff along the way ...
Have fun !

Offline SKR01

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That is a very useful comment.  I was wondering if I would get a better deal from a private sale but reading your advice I'll get in touch with local dealers instead.
Thank you

Offline R

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Mmmmm, I'm not sure I entirely suggested you only buy from a Dealer.
That may rather limit your options.
Rather that you can always consult a dealer if anything major or tricky needs doing later on.
Which has saved many a bike from being consigned to the back of the shed/garage ...

I don't think I have ever owned anything recent that I didn't get the Dealer to do something to.
When you need a wall full of tools to just change say a camchain, it makes sense to go down that path ?

Offline SKR01

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Thanks

Offline Rex

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I wouldn't buy from a dealer or take it to one either. Marque dealers will tell you that it's far too old for them to work on, and the local one-man-band will say he'll do it, stick it in the corner with the other hacks and keep you waiting for six months all the while promising you that it'll be done next week.
A good thing really, as if you're paying for a pro's time you'll soon spend more than the bike's worth.
Get a handbook (even the ubiquitous Haynes) and do the simple stuff yourself. Even carb sync's on a four pot are a piece of p*ss with a set of vacuum gauges.

Offline iansoady

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I'd have thought a 4 cylinder might be quite challenging for someone who wants to "learn about what makes them tick as I currently have no knowledge of mechanics".

Something like a superdream 400 might be easier to get on with as well as smaller, lighter etc which are considereations for a returner.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1986 Honda XBR500

Offline Rex

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On that basis then bleeding the brakes/unsticking the calipers, adjusting the head-set bearings, chain, cam chain, rockers etc, finding obscure wiring/earthing faults and generally trying to keep 40+ year old obsolete machinery on the road will be equally challenging, but with a decent manual and a keeness to learn...

Offline SKR01

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This is going to sound very unpractical but I like the look of the Z650 far more than the Superdream

Offline Rex

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I'd go for the Kawa too. Super Dreams had that long spell when they were considered to be the cheapest winter hack available and just bodged to keep them running. Come to think of it, they may still be in that period... :-X

Offline SKR01

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Thanks for the advice from everyone.  All I need to do now is arrange a refresher lesson and find a reasonable z650 for a reasonable price.
(I've bought the Hayes manual 😁 )

Offline john.k

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Re: Looking for a 1970s bike to start riding again after 30 years, any advice ?
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2022, 02:09:22 AM »
What about the strokers......are they even road legal any more......nothing simpler than a smoker 350 twin ........personally I d think a small 4 would defeat any of the mechanics on this forum,including me......and having heard of what owners have spent on four engine rebuilds...not for me.

Offline Rex

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Re: Looking for a 1970s bike to start riding again after 30 years, any advice ?
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2022, 10:21:55 AM »
Don't know why you'd think that. The principles which make a twin work also make a four work, there's just more cylinders and carbs. I remember mechanics recoiling in terror of a Honda CB750 way back when. God knows why, there's nothing esoterically arcane about them; in fact, the set-up and adjustments are simple and basic as they should be with a well-designed engine unit.
Do you shy away from car engines too?