Every once in a while you come across a barn find project bike for sale which results in you thinking about the original idea. This mash-up of Honda CB1000, CBR1000, Suzuki Katana GSX750SE and MV Auguta F4 left me scratching my head for a while. I think I can see the direction the owner was going with this, a Suzuki Bandit style cradle setup, Honda engine with exotic fairing setup and suspension.
I probably would have started with a Suzuki Bandit 1200 as my platform, but it would be horses of courses, and Bandit specials and have been done to death in my view.
Would you buy this barn find project?
The question you always have to ask when buying an unfinished barn find project is has the work been carried out to a good standard, and realistically how much work is required to complete? If you were to consider buying you’d probably want to have a long conversation with owner to determine if work undertaken is sufficient and nothing has to be ripped out or redone.
Signs of rust around frame modifications is always a concern because it indicates modification that has emerged rather than planned and implemented. Stripping away rust just to complete welding, re-weld, paint or chrome usually takes a lot of time and effort to get it right. A sensible builder would have welded and primer coated the steel to prevent oxidising. Perhaps some of the tape on the frame is trying to stop corrosion, but could also be hiding unwanted bodges or surprises – once again speak to the owner and perhaps look visit before you buy.
Does it fit your project vision?
If the answer is no then just walk away rather than trying to complete or change. Customisation or custom builds will generally go better when you are working with a platform you know, as you see with most chopper and bobber customs built around the Harley Davidson engine and frame. If you have more money to spend and looking to engage with a custom builder, then the world is your oyster, however you’ll be paying a premium for it with little possibility of refunds, or resale value if too niche.
Could I get my money back as parts?
If you have the time and inclination you could potentially break unfinished barn find projects based on the value of their parts. Exotic parts usually command a premium because those bikes generally don’t sell in large numbers, whereas more common parts may be more hassle than they are worth to sell and ship. This could work out if you see specific parts for your own project and happy to break and sell the rest.
Documents and legal considerations
If you can’t obtain the documents and relying on a bill of sale you are potentially taking a big risk. This project comes with a V5 ‘log book’ which can be used to change ownership, however you’ll need to ensure the frame and engine numbers are correct. You will also need to consider if an insurance company will actually insure a ‘custom’ motorcycle if you can’t verify the quality of the work, other than what you have done / seen.
You could end up with a big insurance bill, so always check with your insurer if they are willing to provide a sensible quote for a one-off special build. You’ll also need to consider the value of the finished bike, so keep all your receipts for parts and time.
Can I complete the work in my workshop or garage?
If you are handy with the tools and have access to people for specialisms which are not your skill set ie TIG welding and complex fabrication, you could probably undertake the work. However if you are starting out with very limited knowledge, experience or tools, you’ll probably end up frustrated and give up. Knowing what you are getting into is the key here and having a good network of specialists to help.
If you are looking to bid for this project and undertake the challenge, you’ll need to get your workshop and garage in order. We recently published an article which may provide some inspiration for various tools and parts which may be helpful. If you purchase this project we’d love to know about your plans for the bike and your overall vision if you are looking to complete.