View Full Version : How do you start your project?

08-12-2009, 10:55 PM
How do you start your project? Do you wait to get parts untill you have a "basket case" or do get the bike first?

I tend to collect parts first...then the bike...

08-12-2009, 11:38 PM
the bike i've got now is my first "project" but as far as that bike went, i got the bike, then figured out what the hell i was gonna do with it, and got the parts i wanted accordingly but now a days anytime i come across something i think is cool i just get it, regardless of whether or not i can use it on my current bike. I'm starting to get a collection of random ass shit going...

08-12-2009, 11:57 PM
On my first one, I got a frame, then an old bike, then piece by piece, basically on ebay and a few things from swap meets and online forums I am on.

Second one I found a "roller" project. It was built for a 750 but the guy cut the motor mounts out and put a 500 in it for some reason and some stock wheels/tires. I basically just used the frame though, the other stuff (besides the tank) was just set aside or given away. I gave the engine to a buddy who was building a chopper in school. Then I got a stock bike for $300 that had set in a coworker's garage for 5 or 6 years. I kept engine, sold titled neck and misc parts.

If or "when" I do another, I may go nuts and just modify a stock one... or who knows? Maybe a tasty single cylinder or something?

08-13-2009, 12:13 AM
Both ways. I like to start with a bike and a style in my head, but I once started with an Ironhead crankpin.
I don't need to tell you which method took the most time and commitment...

08-13-2009, 12:14 AM
That's a great question…

On my first build I bought a FRC rolling chassis with football parlay winnings (free money). I didn't know shit, and the Flyrite roller appeared to have most of the shit I needed for the least amount of money. I swapped or trashed half of everthing that kit came with, and replaced it with higher end stuff to suit my taste (alloy rims for steel rims, powdercoated forks for chrome fork, etc.)

On my second build I knew two things going in:

1) I wanted to build a sportster

2) I wanted it to be a softail

LIke I said, I didn't know shit. I found a Sportster softail frame builder, and they were only 100 miles from my house. Atlas Engineering. Best frame I've built a bike on so far, if you can forgive it for being a softail!

Third build I knew two things again:

1) I wanted it to be a sportster

2) I wanted it to have a Flyrite Smokin Gun frame

What can I say: old habits die hard. I love late model sportsters, and I like Flyrite frames. Affordable, well made, straight, etc.

The fourth bike was a basket case. Somebody else's basket case, to make matters worse.

That bike took more time (a year vs 4 months) and more money as a percentage of the basic parts going in than any build before it, but it is the coolest bike I've built.

Lessons learned:

Build what you like

Start with what you've already got, or what you can easily get

Dream realistically, think microscopically. Details really do make the difference.

Do your online research. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If I spent 100 hours in the garage on that first build, I spent 300 hours online learning and asking questions.

Have fun!

08-13-2009, 5:14 AM
I think its much easier to find a nice running donor bike and go from there. Plus you have a bunch of shit you can sell off of it.

08-13-2009, 5:45 AM
I started with a running Sporty for my first (and only thus far) build.

I went with the Led Sled rear because I didn't want to deal with titling/insurance issues.

I collected a LOT of different parts and mocked the bike up different ways. Then I sold the rest of the parts on ebay to finance the rinkydink shit at the end. I still have a lot of things I want to change, namely, painting, I'm going to get a different tank, get things I made chrome plated, refab exhaust, might go to the new biltwell skinny apes... but all of that is going to be over the winter... for right now, its riding time.

Back to the original point though, I got a bike, and parts, and went with what worked. I had a style in mind, but definately changed things as I went, and still want to change a lot of things...

08-13-2009, 6:08 AM
just start getting bits until i've got enough to start building.

then I hit the wall when I realise I'm missing a fundamental part and jump back on ebay.

08-13-2009, 7:07 AM
It usualy starts with a beer.
First one was a running bike I "massaged" until I liked what I had.
The one I just finished was a basket case I bought for a great price.
Most importantly for me is PAPER WORK! If it's got good paper it makes every thing else just nuts and bolts.

08-13-2009, 1:52 PM
ive just been slowyl pullin shit off and and doin stuff til i get it how i want. im fightin a budget issue myself though. i def dont have the money for a full on chop. ive just been collectin anything and everything i can get my hands on.

08-13-2009, 2:30 PM
Um, I usually save enough to buy one part. Wait a month, buy another part, etc. I'll prob be done in about ten years.

08-13-2009, 3:00 PM
Um, I usually save enough to buy one part. Wait a month, buy another part, etc. I'll prob be done in about ten years.

You 'poorbastard'


08-13-2009, 6:27 PM
I have built one full bike and i started with a wrecked sporty and then i got the flyrite smoking gun frame. I had that build together and riding in a lil more than 2 months. this was pretty exciting.. I am currently going for another build and it is a lil more complicated as a result of the parts and style taking me more work to do on my own.. plus i am riding the first bike while doing this one.. so that cuts out the work i get done.. but this build i bought a wrecked bike and i am using alot of those parts and then putting stuff together. and making it work.
but like i have read here. build what you want and take however long it does but be happy with what you are doing or it is all no good reasons.

08-13-2009, 6:59 PM
I got the bike first. Now I am buying shit that I can not use on this build but its to cool to pass up.

08-13-2009, 7:05 PM
for me, it usually starts with a crazy dream or vision while sitting in gridlock...

then, many hours of research, ebay, CL, swapmeets,etc...

depending on the cash flow, it'll bring in a few parts...but usually its part by part.

08-13-2009, 7:17 PM
This is my first build. So far it has consisted of sitting on it and making vroom noises. Hopefully I can afford parts soon.

08-13-2009, 7:21 PM
I usualy start with a bike, a six pack and a few buddies. Then I buy parts on eBay and other internet sources. I live 200 miles from any kind of bike shop, so what I can't buy we fab up our selves. Then we go to work with the wrenches, cotting torch and welder until it comes out like I want it.

08-13-2009, 7:46 PM
With a hard on!

08-15-2009, 7:43 PM
i started with a 1964 triumph engine....got a loner frame and build from there....don

08-15-2009, 8:12 PM
I always like to start with atleast a 80% there donor bike.....Once I have a bike I sit back light one and ponder what I have seen done and what I think I have never seen done ..... What I think looked cool what I think looked wack....Modify those ideas or blend them together to have something different than I have seen before ...

On 3 of my builds the seat actually determined the start of the bike ... I like for my seat to follow the line of the backbone tube ....So I usually pick a seat and go from there adding and mocking things some things get the big elbow and some become winners ...

I have bought parts on ebay and such too ..Like others say even if they don't fit with what I have or doing at the time you never know when you will use something ... or come up with a idea and modify something you have in inventory....

Main thing I think is to dig what you have , if you have that the rest will take care of itself .... For instance if you are a bigger guy don't go a buy a cb350 or 500 for ya ride .. I see people all the time on ebay and such have nice bikes but sell them cause they are not big enough for them ...So find what ya like and make it yours screw the critics and haters LOL laters

08-15-2009, 10:07 PM
I think its much easier to find a nice running donor bike and go from there. Plus you have a bunch of shit you can sell off of it.

yes! way easier