Finishing the build

With any project, it is incredibly easy to get off track and distracted.  Most of us have plenty going on in our lives, so it can be very taxing to stay focused to finishing a motorcycle.  I want to share some of the things I have found that work for me, with the hope this can help someone else with time management.

With everything that won't stay on the bike removed, you can start to brain storm.

With everything that won't stay on the bike removed, you can start to brain storm.


The first thing I do with any custom work I do, is get the bike on the lift with plenty of room around it.  Then I remove all items that won't stay, so that I can start to visualize the end state.  Once I have my plan in place, I start to make two list.  The first is a list of all tasks I can think of, the second is a parts list that I need to order.  Now these are one and done, type lists.  These will always be evolving.  These list help keep me on track and focuses on what's next.  

Everything you do at this point, starts to drive home the shift from vision to reality  

Everything you do at this point, starts to drive home the shift from vision to reality  

For me, I keep task lists for just about everything.  I have a small notebook that is around me at all times.  You never know when you will have something you think of.  This is what helps me balance my day job, my family, and my business.  The also have two white boards near my bike lifts for anything that comes up while i'm working.


At this point, I know what I need to do and what parts to order.  Also be thinking of anything you have to send out to vendors.  You will want to reach out and check their turn around times.  With this information, we can start to think about when.  I try to dedicate specific days of the week to my own builds.  Think about all the things you have going on and what works best.  From there you can start to see how many hours you have each week/month.  Now gauge the amount of work you have to do.  Lay out the steps and also add in the timing of sending parts out.  Be generous with the amount of time you give yourself.  There will always be something that was missed, a task that fights you, or something unforeseen that comes up.  

With everything disassembled, it may feel daunting but don't worry, it's all downhill from here

With everything disassembled, it may feel daunting but don't worry, it's all downhill from here

With a solid game plan, it just comes down to holding yourself accountable.  I really helps to have a loved one or friend that will push you.  It can help to post your build to social media and/or forums.  Believe it or not, there are times where you don't want to go out to the garage and work.  Keep pushing yourself and crossing off those items on your task list.  There are a few milestones that I think really solidify what you are doing.  For me they are; 

  1. Rough design of the bike
  2. Tear down
  3. Bodywork progress
  4. Rolling chassis
  5. Assembled motorcycle
  6. First Fire
  7. First Ride 
With a rolling chassis, the excitement really grows.  It will be a finished motorcycle soon!

With a rolling chassis, the excitement really grows.  It will be a finished motorcycle soon!

If you have a better idea while you are building the bike, evaluate the pro/cons of doing it.  If the good trumps the bad, then go for it.  None of this is written in stone.  Don't let others feedback deter you, build the bike you are happy with.  

If anyone has tips/suggesions that have helped them, please put them in the comments below.




And of course, the best part is the completed bike.  All of your hard work is not a functioning work of art. 

Meeting a legend

I've always said that one of my favorite things about buying and selling motorcycles, is the people you meet.  Recently i saw a ad for a vintage motorcycle auction in Omaha.  I was tied up that weekend, so I planned to attend virtually to bid on a few 2 stroke street bikes.  I ended up winning a pair of 1972 Suzuki GT550's and a 1971 Kawasaki H1.  I had two weeks for pickup and setup a time with what I thought was the auction house.

So rewind back about 2 years.  I'm at work and come across an article on a guy that makes a living buying & selling motorcycles.  I things that blew my mind was the size of his network, and the shear volume of very collectible motorcycles he had. The pictures made my jaw drop and it did something for me.  It validated that there is a strong market for these motorcycles here in the states.  I forwarded this to my wife and a few friends.  I used it as motivation to keep building and dealing with 70's Japanese motorcycles.

So back to the auction.  I made the drive to Omaha and planned to be in and out quick.  I pull up and it's large building.  Rich opens the door and backs me in.  We shake hands and he shows me the 3 bikes I bought.  We begin talking and I mention how hard these 2 strokes are getting to find.  He begins telling me that he finds them all the time.  So naturally, I have to ask what all he has for bikes.  He starts rattling them off and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  He just named quite a few Grey Market bikes that you don't see hardly anyway.  He mentioned NSR's, Gamma's, RD/RZ500's, and a slew of other bikes.  At the time, I was hunting for an RZ350 and asked if he had one.  He said he was down to about 7, but that he typically has about 15-16.  So my next question was, "Wow, how many bikes do you have?"  He replies that has about 1000 at his place.  Now I can't help but start to think, this has to be the guy I read about.  Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name from the article.  

Rich was beyond helpful and we talked about the three bikes as I wheeled them onto my trailer.  He also talked about making a place for Vintage Once I was all loaded up, I stopped into his office to let him know I was all wrapped up.  Rich asks if he could take me to dinner and then show me his collection.  Thankfully my wife is amazing and was fine with me taking alittle longer to get back.  I couldn't want to see his bikes.  

Rich and I went to eat at Catfish Lake in Bellevue.  The food was amazing and we sat and talked all things bikes.  Favorite ones to right, importing and exporting them, and trends we hate.  After dinner, I followed up a few miles to what I will call his Motorcycle Compound.  It had multiple buildings full of eye candy.  The first building he showed me was jaw dropping.  

As you walk in, he has shelves with perfect condition Kawi Z1R, h1, and h2 bodywork.  Once you're past the office, it's just rows of bikes.  And these aren't piles of scrap, they are runners and in great condition.  There is a slew of early sport bikes, Katana's (the good  ones) Gamma's, Rd's, Rz's, GSXR, NSR's, Z1's, Z1r's, Ducati, Mini Bikes, Some Enduro's, GPZ's, and about anything else you could think of.  Words can not describe it.  It was amazing!  

Then we walked over to another building.  Before we even got in there, I spotted a two seater sidecar with a removable canopy!  One of these days I'll have a sidecar on something.  So we go into the building and it's decorated so well.  There is a setup that looks like a car dealship show room in part of the building.  This is just jam packed with early sportbikes.  I know know where 80's sportbikes go.  Then I noticed he has a crazy Snap On Tools Clock Collection.  Once I stopped drooling over these bikes and the old drag bikes he had, we went to another shop where he kept his parts stash.  These looked at is they hadn't been used at all.  h1/h2 parts, z1, gt750 motor sitting there, it was beyond impressive.

We talked some more about what's coming up for Rich and his business.  He's getting ready for another auction in the coming months and always on the prowl for more bikes.  It was amazing seeing his bikes and talking with him.

So keep an eye out for bikes and enjoy the people you meet.  The stories and experiences are priceless.  And Rich, thanks again for everything!