The other night, as I customarily do at times, I was perusing Craigslist on my tablet while in bed, just before turning in for the day. Wasn't really looking to purchase anything per se, as most of us do, just looking.
Until I stumbled across one particular motorcycle ad, written as verbatim:
Reposting for $100, need it gone, will not hold it anymore. Text only, first come first serve.
Started out life as a 1972 ct175, narrowed the sub frame, custom cafe seat, headlight/speedo unit from a 1967 Yamaha YL2C, handmade clip on bars, front end lowered the right way, has the down tube & engine from a 1979 Honda xl250 grafted onto it. Was building it as a fun around town cafe bike but need the cash for other projects so I'm turning it loose. No title on engine or frame but both are out of the system so no fees or paperwork headaches, will give bill of sale. Motor runs but smokes so will need rings at least. It’s a project not rideable, needs a custom sprocket made for the rear ct175 wheel to convert it from 420 chain to 520 chain, wiring for lights, a taillight, some seat padding, rear sets & brake/shift linkage. But it’s a good start for a cool city ripper.
Included were a couple of 3/4 profile shots of the bike, low-resolution as is usual with these ads, but illustrative enough for me to get a very good idea of the bike's shape and overall look, and it lookedfantastic in my opinion! And for just five $20 bills, I couldn't believe that it didn’t sell prior that the seller had to post it up for sale again! That said, it had been reposted back up in Craigslist a day before I saw it, so I had very low expectations that it would still be available. I fired a text to the seller anyway, telling him I could pick it up first thing in the morning, or that night if I had to. It wasn't too late in the night, so why not?
Ended up falling asleep with no response, and woke up to none either, so I chalked it up to having been nabbed up. It only made sense. But by noon the next day, the seller responded that he'll be home all day if I wanted it. I told him I'll be there in a couple of hours.
I got to the seller's house and immediately loaded the little rough diamond in my truck – no haggling, just wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. It actually came with a crate with the rest of the parts that needed to be re-installed on the bike to get it running, and even a spare XL250 engine that I opted not to take with me. I did ask the seller what his plans had been for the bike. Long story short, he was building it up for his girlfriend to start riding, but lost the desire or need to finish it, and just wanted the space back.
I then told him my plans for it, which actually made him light up in excitement, so we agreed that as much as I could, I'll keep him in the loop throughout the process.
So what is my plan for it?
Before I disclose it, here's a look at the bike as bought for $100:
Neat little bike, right?
I immediately fell in love with the shape of the bike, even from the low-resolution photos in the ad, and thought it just a shame if it was just going to sit like that unfinished, or worse – scrapped for parts by another buyer. It looked good the way it was, but the first thing that came to mind was it can look better. In fact, it can look fantastic, I reckon!
It just needed to be (re)finished!
And so that's my plan for this bike, to clean it up and refinish it. All wiring and hoses and miscellaneous parts will be removed, and the whole bike will be broken down to clean up each and every component, and then refinish them in a combination of hand-polishing and copper-plating. Then, all components that make up the fundamental workings of a motorcycle will be put together (chassis, wheels, suspension & steering, engine), but not to get it back to a running state, rather to create a rolling motorcycle art that you could have in your living room under a spotlight.
The way I see it, the previous owner did a very good job of putting together a rudimentary, but great looking motorcycle with a fantastic outline. All I'm doing is coming in and putting the color and finishing touches.
His build, my finish.