So you've picked up a vintage Japanese motorcycle, maybe a Honda CB350 or a Kawasaki Z1, hoping to restore it to its former glory. Great choice - those old bikes ooze style and nostalgia. But tracking down parts for a 40-year-old bike can seem overwhelming. Where do you even start? Don't worry, we've got you covered. We know the ins and outs of sourcing parts for your classic ride, from engine gaskets to brake pads and everything in between. In this article, we'll share our favorite websites, salvage yards, forums, and parts suppliers so you can find what you need to get your bike back on the road. Before you know it, you'll be riding your vintage steed through the countryside without a worry. Restoring a classic motorcycle takes patience and dedication, but with our help, you'll be well on your way.
The classic Japanese motorcycles of the 1950s through 1970s are iconic. If you're restoring one of these beauties, you'll want to source high-quality, authentic parts.
Sites like CMSNL, PartsnMoreJapan, and 4into1 are dedicated to classic Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha bikes. They have parts diagrams so you can find exactly what you need for your year and model. Look for parts labeled "OEM" - original equipment from the manufacturer.
Suppliers like David Silver Spares, Parts Unlimited, and Revival Cycles may have parts that fit your bike. Measure your parts carefully and compare measurements to listings to ensure fit. These sites often have a wide range of components - from brakes and shocks to seats, tanks and fenders.
You never know what gems you might uncover on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Lots of collectors buy extra parts over the years. Search for your specific motorcycle make, model and year along with terms like "OEM parts lot". Be prepared to do some cleaning and refurbishing, but you can score great deals.
Don't forget to tap into valuable community knowledge. Join forums and Facebook groups for your motorcycle brand and model. Explain what parts you're looking for and ask members where they've had the best luck finding them. Chances are, someone has been down the same road and can point you to some reliable resources.
With some persistence, you'll be amassing all the right components to bring your classic back to life. Happy hunting and happy wrenching!
Restoring a classic Japanese motorcycle like a Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha is a labor of love. Tracking down vintage parts can be half the fun. Where should you start your search?
You never know what gems you might uncover at a local meetup or garage sale. Chat with the sellers, let them know what you're looking for - they may have leads to other collectors or parts stashes.
Websites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are treasure troves for vintage motorcycle parts. Set up saved searches for the specific parts you need. Be prepared to bid competitively on rare finds. Buy from highly-rated sellers and ask lots of questions about the item condition before purchasing.
Certain salvage yards specialize in vintage motorcycles and parts. They acquire entire bikes as well as loose parts to resell. Search online for "vintage Japanese motorcycle salvage" and the names of major brands. Call them to inquire about parts for your specific bike model and year. Some may ship nationally or internationally.
For certain common parts like carburetors, air filters, brake shoes and cables, aftermarket reproduction versions are available from retailers that specialize in vintage bikes. They produce new parts made to original factory specs. Prices will be higher than used originals but the quality is guaranteed.
With some sleuthing, you can track down most of the parts needed to get your classic back on the road. Staying patient and persistent will pay off in finding those rare parts at a price that won't break the bank. The thrill of the hunt is all part of the journey. Isn't that what vintage bike restoration is all about?
Once you have your classic Japanese motorcycle project in the works, the next step is finding parts. While some parts may still be available from manufacturers like Honda, Kawasaki or Yamaha, many will need to be sourced from specialty retailers. The good news is, there are several reputable shops dedicated to classic Japanese motorcycles that can supply everything from carburetors to shocks.
4into1 is one of the largest retailers for vintage Honda CB and Kawasaki KZ parts. They stock complete exhaust systems, ignition components, brake parts and performance upgrades for popular models like the CB350, CB550 and KZ1000. Their parts are high quality and they ship worldwide.
CMSNL has been providing parts for classic Japanese motorcycles since 1995. They focus on Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha models from the 1970s to 1990s. Their catalog includes engine parts, chasses, brakes, suspension, ignition, carburetion, and more. Parts can be searched by model and year. CMSNL has a solid reputation and parts at fair prices. They ship globally.
For over 30 years, David Silver Spares has supplied parts for classic Japanese, European and British motorcycles. They stock a wide range of parts for popular Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki models from the 60s to 80s. Their selection includes engines, frames, wheels, brakes, suspension, fuel tanks, seats, and cosmetic parts. They are based in the UK but ship worldwide.
Z1 Enterprises specializes in parts for Kawasaki Z1, KZ, GPz and Ninja motorcycles from the 1970s to 1990s. Their catalog includes engines, chasses, brakes, suspension, ignition, carburetion, and cosmetic parts. They also sell parts for other vintage Japanese makes like Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Z1 is a reputable source for high-quality parts at reasonable prices. They are located in the US and ship internationally.
Between these top retailers, you should be able to find everything needed to get your classic back on the road. Be sure to check multiple sites for the best deals and availability on parts. Once you start the restoration, share your progress with the classic motorcycle community who will surely appreciate your efforts in keeping history alive!
Salvaging parts from donor bikes is a great way to find cheaper spare parts for your classic Japanese motorcycle restoration project. Check local classified listings, auction sites, and motorcycle junkyards for bikes the same make, model, and year as yours. You may be able to find a whole parts bike to dismantle for your needs.
Look for bikes with a solid engine and transmission, even if the rest of the bike is rough. These core components are the most expensive to replace and hardest to find. You can always scavenge body panels, wheels, brakes, and other parts from other donor bikes.
Inspect the bike in person if possible. Check that the engine turns over and isn’t seized, and that the transmission shifts smoothly through all the gears. Test ride it if you’re able. It’s best to buy a bike that was still riding before being taken off the road.
Offer a fair price based on the condition and usable parts. Factor in the cost of towing the bike if it’s not rideable. Be prepared to negotiate, but don’t get taken advantage of either.
Once you have the donor bike, dismantle it systematically. Remove, label, and organize all the parts you need for your restoration. Clean, inspect, and test parts as you go to determine what’s salvageable.
Sell or scrap any leftover parts you don’t need to help recoup your costs. Some parts like wheels, seats, and body panels may still have value to other collectors or restorers.
Finding a dependable source for used parts will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in completing your restoration. With some digging, you can uncover real gems and get parts that are otherwise hard to come by. Staying patient and persistent will pay off!
Restoring a classic Japanese motorcycle is a labor of love that requires patience and the right parts. Here are some tips to help you in your restoration journey:
Salvage yards that specialize in vintage motorcycles are treasure troves for finding obscure parts. You may luck out and find original parts for your exact make and model. At the very least, you can find parts to use as templates for fabrication. Build a good relationship with the salvage yard owners - let them know what you're looking for and they may keep an eye out for parts on your wish list.
Websites like eBay, Craigslist and specialty motorcycle forums all have sections dedicated to vintage parts. Set up alerts for your specific motorcycle details so you get notified as soon as anything matching comes up for sale. Be prepared to move quickly, as good deals tend to get snapped up fast.
For parts that are hard to find or no longer available, reproduction parts are a great option. Many manufacturers now produce high-quality reproduction parts for popular vintage Japanese motorcycles like Honda CB's, Kawasaki Z's and Suzuki GS's. Repro parts are brand new, so you get the benefit of modern manufacturing techniques and materials, yet the parts retain the classic styling.
If all else fails, you may need to fabricate certain parts yourself or have them custom made. This is a chance to get creative and put your own unique stamp on the restoration! Work with a skilled metalworker or machinist to fabricate parts from templates, photos or original parts.
Restoring a vintage motorcycle requires patience and persistence in tracking down parts. With time and effort, you'll get your classic Japanese bike back on the road. The hunt for parts is all part of the joy of bringing a piece of motorcycle history back to life!
So there you have it, a guide to help you track down those hard to find parts and get your baby back on the road. Restoring a classic motorcycle is no easy task but with some patience and persistence, you'll be riding vintage in no time. Don't get discouraged if it takes visiting a few shops or sifting through piles of junkyard parts to find what you need. The thrill of revving up that engine for the first time and hitting the open road will make all the effort worthwhile. Stay determined in your search and before you know it, you'll be cruising down the highway on two wheels of Japanese history. The adventure of the hunt is part of the journey. Now get out there and make some motorcycle magic happen! Ride free my friends.