Restoration of Vintage Honda Motorcycles

Written by karen boyd
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Restoration of Vintage Honda Motorcycles
Motorcycle restoration makes old motorcycle parts look new. (carter de scooter image by Vetea TOOMARU from

Vintage Honda Motorcycles make good restoration project bikes because of the ease of finding parts. Honda parts usually cost less than parts for other brands, making Honda restoration accessible for people without a lot of prior experience who want to do a restoration without breaking the bank. People undertaking a restoration should also keep in mind that if a specific original part is not immediately available, you can use a modern version to get the bike rideable, and replace it with an original part at a later date.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Honda frame
  • Honda engine
  • Manufacturer's parts book
  • Internet access
  • Parts
  • Paint polish
  • Metal polish
  • Tools

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  1. 1

    Locate the basics. The three most vital aspects of restoring a vintage Honda motorcycle are choosing the frame and engine of the bike you want to restore, along with a model-specific parts book that identifies each of the other necessary parts, along with their part numbers.

  2. 2

    Collect additional parts. Once you have identified the exact bike you plan to restore, inventory what parts you already have, and which parts you need. Use classified ads, both on and off line to locate any items you still need, and order them as soon as possible.

  3. 3

    Clean and polish the parts. As metal parts come in, use metal polish or even bead blasting to clean off any rust and pitting. Use polish to restore painted parts that can be salvaged, and repaint those pieces that have too much damage to polish out.

  4. 4

    Start assembling the bike. Since all rubber parts need replacing due to natural deterioration of the rubber, choose whether you want to try for as original a style as possible, or whether using more modern replacements will work without losing the look of a vintage bike.

  5. 5

    Cover the seat in a leather or vinyl that complements the style of the bike. Using the original seat cover as a template, cut the new covering material slightly larger to allow room to work. Align the cover on the bike and begin by stapling the cover to the front of the seat. Pull the cover snug and staple the sides, working your way from front to back, and from side to side. Smooth out any wrinkles in the cover as you go.

Tips and warnings

  • Honda dealers sometimes have parts for vintage bikes, so calling around may help locate parts.
  • Don't feel as if you need to have all parts in place before you start. Clean each part as it becomes available and begin assembling components as soon as possible. Since many parts will be used, early assembly will give you time to reorder or repair parts that will not work in their initial condition.
  • The difficulty of restoring a vintage motorcycle depends on how in-depth the restoration goes. If the restoration relies mostly on freshening up the paint and cleaning basic parts without dealing with any rewiring or major repairs, a beginner could successfully take on the project. If the project involves putting in a new wiring harness, and taking every piece down to its most basic components, you may need assistance from an experienced mechanic to avoid damaging the bike.

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