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start with cheap jap or holdout for brit or harley

6909 Views 73 Replies 51 Participants Last post by  AndrewC
i dont really know if this will get a response or not. or if it will be a good response. i might just get told to go to hell. my basic question is this, im planning on building my first bike. i hate to give it a label but it will basically be a bobber. rigid frame solo seat. springer forks. nothin extra just pretty much bare bones. now ive seen some good looking jap bikes that were basically the style i want to build. im more into the triumphs and sportsters. the problem is like everyone else im short on cash. and a guy can get a honda for less than half the price of a trump. i guess im just second guessing myself on justifying buying a jap bike just to have one a lot sooner. im pretty new to all this but im assuming i can get some parts cheaper and easier for hondas. and i think the aftermarket is pretty strong for them. things like the rigid back frame. and bars and stuff like that. any opinions and advice welcome... even if you just tell me to go to hell haha
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First off, this is primarily a Harley/Euro forum, so you're not going to get too many people telling you to get a Jap bike. Think of the audience here.
Now, I own a late model Sporty that I hardtailed and I just picked up an older Yamaha XS400 for $350 bucks, so I can see things from both sides. My Sporty is EFI, so I specifically wanted an older bike so I could learn about carbs and such. I yanked the Mikunis off, cleaned them up, replaced the slide gaskets, got new plugs/boots, verified the timing, etc and got her running. I basically spent ~100 in addition to the price of the bike. Granted, there are a few things I need to fix, but she runs and I've been riding her around a lot...for under $500 bucks...and this is from a guy who had never held a carburetor.
My advice...get a cheap Jap bike, ride around, get the rust off, save up while you're actually on the road riding, sell the Jap bike (can probably get all your money back, maybe even get more) buy a Harley. It might take you a month longer, but in the mean time you're riding. I'll be the first to admit that the sound of my Sporty gives me goodbumps, but that little XS is lots of fun to toss around.

Oh, when you are searching, try using It's basically a Craigslist compiler and allows you to search multiple areas at once. Used it a lot when I was looking for the Yammy.
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It really depends. If you buy an older Jap bike (70's), you'll be dealing with points and a basic harness. I'd imagine it would be about the same as an Ironhead. Same deal with the carbs. With any bike that's been sitting, it's best to clean up the carbs. Like I mentioned before, I had never held a carb, but I was able to read up and tear mine down, get them back together and get them on the bike. She runs great. Which is another argument for getting something cheap. It's a good chance to learn. If you screw something up, it's an inexpensive lesson.

Besides, didn't the guy say he grew up riding dirt bikes? I think he might know a thing or two.
Haha guess I had that coming on this site asking about Jap bikes. I think i kinda already knew the answer to my question just took a lot of others opinions and input to make me realize it. for the record I've decided to hold out save up and get a Harley. Would like to get an old iron head but i really dont care much what year. I do know i dont want efi ill stick with carbs. Had a bit of a set back yesterday so now its looking like hopefully this time next year. Really sucks to have to wait that long but some things are just out of my hands. Thanks everyone for your comments
And this is where I differ. For me, it boils down to being on a bike...period. I'd rather be actually riding while waiting a couple months more to get that dream bike, than watching everyone else riding while I'm sitting around for a year saving up for "cool".
Right now there's a 77 XS400 for $400 in Springfield that supposedly runs. Good luck finding a Sporty that runs for that cheap. Offer $300, and get on the road.
No offense, but just above your post, the guy said he made up his mind.....SIX MONTHS AGO!
Curious if he ever bought a bike or is he still sitting around, missing out on riding while saving.
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