View Full Version : newbie looking for advice on first bike purchase

04-13-2016, 7:36 PM
Hi all im kinda new to the bike building thing. I was wondering if i can get some advice from the experts on here . Im going to look at a 1983 Yamaha Maxim 650 on the weekend and i was just wanting to know if that would be a good platform to start with ?

04-14-2016, 4:35 AM
Is the Maxim 650 shaft driven?

04-14-2016, 5:56 AM
Yes it is, shaft drive. Could be a good bike to learn on, but it's on the bigger side of what I would suggest. But I'm a sissy, i learned on a old xl Honda enduro. I built a lot of confidence off road as well.

04-14-2016, 6:54 AM
Although I am not a fan of shaft drive, for a starter bike, the 650 Maxim would be a good choice. To me, the most important factors are that it is reasonably priced, and not anything so nice that you will feel bad when you drop it. (If you are a true novice, and haven't been on dirt bikes, you are going to drop it once or twice. Anyone who says they have never dropped a bike is either very lucky, or an outright liar.)

04-14-2016, 7:05 AM
How long have you been riding before?
What are you looking to do? Build a cafe, bobber, chopper, or a tracker/enduro?
Do you have any background in fabrication? Know how to weld, familiar with machining, metalwork, etc? Lack of experience doesn't rule things out, but we can help you find bikes that are easy to work on if you don't have much previous practice.
Is there an engine style you're set on? Got to have the thump of a V-twin? Want the slick stylings of a inline twin? The power of a 4 cylinder?
And what's your budget? Can you afford the ever-popular xs650, or will you be looking for something a little bit more budget-friendly?

Some general guidelines:
-Stay away from shaft drive bikes, unless you're planning a cafe. They work ok when you're not planning to mess with the swingarm. Not saying you can't do it, or that it hasn't been done, it's just a lot simpler (and cleaner) to build with a chain or belt drive.
- Find a running bike. It'll save you a lot of headache or disappointment at the end of the build, when you think you're in the clear, and you'll be able to take her around the block, only to find out that she's going to need torn down. I've had it happen to a couple friends. Again, not saying it can't be done, and if you like tearing into engines, buying a non-runner is a great way to score a cheap bike. Granted, sometimes it's not mechanical, and you end up having to find some expensive electrical parts! (I thought I blew the ignition box in my gs... it would have been a $500 new module- the bike cost me less than that!)
- Look into aftermarket parts availability. The XS650 has the strongest aftermarket of the jap bikes for the custom scene, followed probably by the CB750. The GS and KZ lines are a little more hit and miss (I built a gs450, there is almost nothing out there for them, but it's easy enough to make work). If you plan to fab most of your own stuff, this isn't nearly as much of a concern. I made my own hardtail and it wasn't too hard, but you can look at popular suppliers like voodoo vintage to see if they have one to fit a bike you're looking at (if that's the style you're looking for). These same bikes that have the parts available will also likely have a lot more threads on this site, and people knowledgeable about them. I found very few people who knew anything about the gs450s, but you can find anything and everything for an xs650. I still built mine, but sometimes I had to do some digging on my own.
-do a quick google for "bike model' common issues". Like Viragos tend to have starter issues, or magnas may throw a cam chain. Each bike has its own personality and weak point. Know what you're getting yourself into if something goes wrong.

My off the cuff recommendations:
If you can afford them:
xs650, CB750 SOHC,
If you can find one:
KZ 750 twin, GS550/650/750 chain drive, Shadow chain drive
If you want to do it on a budget:
xs400, gs450, cm/cb360/400, kz400/440,
If you want something you can just bolt stuff onto:
Vstar 650, Suzuki Savage 650 (s40) (the S40 also has a lot of opportunity to build cool shit with. I think it's underused!)

04-14-2016, 4:10 PM
Thanks for all the info . Im not a novice rider , been riding for about 4 years . I use to have a 1985 honda nighthawk S 750 but i sold it about 2 years ago . Im looking to try and build a bobber and i just committed to buying a 1983 yamaha maxim 650 . I got it for $600 , hopefully i didnt over pay lol . i've only seen pics of it so far but because our work schedules kept messing up being able to see it first i had to commit to buy it or else it would of been gone .The guy im buying it from is also throwing in a few extra parts he has lying around and also a motorcycle jack with it .So let the fun start now , have alot to learn but im looking forward to it .

04-15-2016, 7:19 AM
Awesome for you bro. Chop what you got am I right? This is what led me to my vt600 which just happens to be pretty popular chop choice. It was not only my first build but also first motrcycle. With help from this forum I was able to make a true one of a kind custom.

04-15-2016, 7:24 AM
Kadnum My build bro. Good luck.http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46486

04-15-2016, 9:23 PM
Well thanks for all the info you guys gave me . I'm picking up the bike tommorrow . I'll post some pics of this beauty when i get it and then the tear down will start. Wish me luck . lol:cheersmate: