Motorbike restoration is a popular pastime for motor lovers of all ages, giving you the chance to get down and dirty with your favourite machine.

Still, restoring a motorbike, particularly a classic model, is not a simple task. There’s a right and wrong way of going about taking such an operation and you don’t want to mess it up. That could mean disaster for the project and also put your safety at risk in some instances.

Here is how to properly set about restoring a motorbike.

Research the motorbike

There are plenty of have-a-go heroes out there, who think they know what they are doing, but in fact, have no idea. This can be disastrous and end up costing a fortune to pay someone who does know what they’re doing to repair your mess. To avoid this pitfall, before picking up so much as a screwdriver, it’s vital you do your research on the bike you want to restore. In fact, you should really do this before you even fork out any cash for the bike.

Some motorbikes can be restored using new parts, while others can only be properly restored if you use the original parts. For some motorbike models, it can be impossible to track down certain vital parts, so make sure you know what you’re going to need to restore the bike back to health.

Get organised

If you are going to embark on a restoration project, you are going to be faced with countless parts of all shapes and sizes. It’s easy for vital parts to go missing and get lost, so it’s vital that you group the parts into various sections, to ensure you have all the components you need. Listing them by their function is a good idea, such as framework, electrical, auxiliaries etc.

It’s also a good idea to take plenty of pictures throughout the restoration process; this helps you to pick up where you left off and review your progress. Secondly, if you decide to sell the bike later, these pictures are ideal to show the potential buyers that you have done a professional job on the restoration.

Have a clean working space

Whether you’re planning on carrying out a restoration in a workshop, garage, specially designed studio or in your backyard, you need to ensure you have a clean and clutter-free working environment.


You should disassemble the engine while it is still in the frame, helping to provide support when loosening high torque nuts like those found at the end of a crankshaft. Disassembly, done incorrectly, can damage the machine, which can be fatal to a motorbike restoration. Therefore, taking out parts that can be disassembled away from the main body of the bike, such as the engine and gearbox, is advisable.