Affordable and easy to modify. Here is a list of the best market deals if you want to build yourself a dream machine.
A custom bike is the best reflection of the rider’s personality. We all dream to build one of our own. The market offers a lot of old bikes, but you have to choose wisely. The base ground for this kind of projects needs to be roadworthy without huge investments. Otherwise, you will end up with some junk in the garage. Here are six bikes that can be easily transformed in the bike of your dreams.
The German boxer is probably the most versatile engine that proved to be a reliable and good looking piece of engineering. The BMW motorcycles proudly wear the same power units, from the R1200GS adventure bike to the custom-looking R nineT. Regardless of age, from the famous air-cooled R 35 to the R 80 you only need to keep it as clean as possible, and it already looks fabulous. The custom bike area is stacked with classic BMW’s. A thing is for sure these bikes are a pleasure to stare at.
One of the common choices for custom shops is the BMW R80. Not very expensive but it packs enough to hit the road with minimum modifications. With a budget of 3000$ (2700 EUR), you can find one in working condition. The engine will easily handle 100.000 miles with just the regular maintenance. Remove the fairing, leave the bike as raw as possible, add a new saddle and a flawless paint job and your custom is ready. But you should hurry up. Everybody wants one.
When it comes to Triumph, the first thought that comes to my head is the famous ACE Cafe in London. This area might be the birthplace of custom motorcycles. In 50s and 60s, the Triumph twin cylinder were a racer top choice.
The British manufacturer still builds one of its most iconic bikes of all times – the Bonneville. It keeps the same authentic retro lines while the whole package is now improved to fit even the most demanding riders. The price for this great all-rounder starts from 10.000$, but you can find the previous model for half the money.
The Bonneville has already the retro cafe looks but you can change it according to your visions. The company offers a lot of accessories for this model and it has huge potential for a custom project base ground. It will still look incredibly good, no matter the approach.
Half of the riders in this world have a memory related to a Honda CB. Back in the 70s, this model was everywhere. Until the mid-90s everybody had the chance to ride a in-line four CB – “they don’t build them like they used to”, is a thing you may hear from time to time.
Honda had an entire CB engine range, starting with the CB50 to CBX or the CB1300 Super Four. No matter the models you can easily end up with a base for your custom project. We incline to choose only the models that wear the iconic custom features, for example, disc brakes, engine bigger than 350 cc, spoked wheels, and a retro shaped gas tank.
The most appreciated for a custom work are the CB750, CB 500 and CB550 four. If it’s bigger than 750 cc it will be too heavy. If it’s less than 500cc it won't hold up enough power for everyday use. Buy one of these and your project will be on the right path. The price is starting from 2000 $ and can go up to 4000 $, but it worths the spend. These models have what it takes to commute every day, and the reliability is at its maximum.
Everybody knows the Monster. This Italian bike is everywhere, cheap and reliable and it packs enough features to keep you satisfied. The first iconic Ducati model – M900 – was introduced in 1993. With a 90° V-twin engine and a steel trellis frame this city roadster was a success.
The bike holds up a huge potential for a custom project – take a look at Ducati’s own custom project – The Scrambler.
The Ducati Monster is comfortable, it has a good handling and comes with a sharp Brembo braking system, so the money is going in the right direction if you are in the V-twins.
You can buy one for just $2000. No matter if you go for the early M models or for the newer ones it still has what it takes to meet your requirements. The modifications can go in any direction you wish. The cafe racer style is simple to reach. Put some spoked wheels and it will become a totally different bike.
The Virago is a well-known cruiser in the entry level market. It has a very good engine with a soft power output preferred by any novice. The Virago you want for your project has to be the one with the 535 cc engine or the bigger 750 cc. The power to weight ratio is rewarding enough for these two models.
You can find a bike in good condition with less than 2000$. The Yamaha XV packs a lot of helpful features for a future project. Keep the original tank, but replace the front fork with a smaller travel one and you get yourself a nice custom.
You can never fail with a V-Twin. The Virago has a great potential to become a roadster, bobber or a cafe racer with minimum effort.
Moto Guzzi V7
The Guzzi is one of the most exotic bikes on the market, so it had to be on our list. Everybody is impressed by the longitudinal crankshaft V-Twin. The big cylinders projecting prominently from both sides of the bike are just out of the box. The V7 is a model born in the 70s well known for its looks and handling. The bike is a retro-styled roadster which is still in production.
Moto Guzzi can become an old-timer racer or a cafe racer. One thing is for sure: it looks fantastic. This vintage racer will turn the heads just with the engine noise. The 750 V engine packs high note and incredible punch.
The older models are hard to reach, but you can pay $3500 for a 90s unit. Disc brakes and spoked wheels on a robust assembly is the recipe for a dream bike.