Will you help me restore my bike?"
In a word, "no". I'm a computer programmer, not a mechanic. I will, however, offer small amounts of free advice.
Will you help me program my computer?"
Maybe. If your computer is running unix and you have money to exchange for this service, and if I think the job is interesting enought to take away time from riding motorcycles. I already have a day job.
I have a 1962 Spagthorpe Wolfhound. How much is it worth?
There are many ways to go about this, and asking me is the worst one. In decreasing order of usefulness, here are some other suggestions:
There's a guy who advertises in the back of the American Motorcyclist Magazine who says he'll date bikes before 1960. Send description, photo, serial number, large SASE and minimum $10 donation (payable to Motorcycle Heritage Museum) to:
Mort Wood 2793 Sombrero Blvd, Marathon, FL, 33050
If your bike isn't old enought for Mort to evaluate it, then you could do a general web search and see what other bikes like yours are offered at.
Visit the web site of the owner's club(s) for the brand bike you have. There's an incomplete list of them and probably other better lists elsewhere, or just hit google. The owners clubs usually have mailing lists and perhaps you can get an answer from them. Maybe even a buyer, if that's what you want.
Or you could go to Ebay and research the sale of similar items and see what kind of prices they went for. (Of course not all Ebay sales go through, as a friend of mine learned. So the prices you find on Ebay are not necessarily real.) Yahoo also has an auction site, and there are probably others.
You could subscribe to one of the motorcycle newsgroups, the main one is rec.motorcycles. After reading the group for a little while, post your question. There are plenty of friendly AND hostile people (not usually the same person, but sometimes . . .) there who will either answer your question, send you a nasty flame, or ignore you completely.
As a last resort, I have some friends who are more in tune with prices of British bikes than I am, we have an email list. If you subscribe yourself you can ask the group at large about your bike, maybe even find a buyer in my group. Once you're satisfied you've mined our groups' expertise, you can unsubscribe yourself. (Email addresses in the examples below are mutilated to prevent harvesting by spammer robots.)
To subscribe, send a message containing the single word
subscribeto the address:
fossils-request (at sign goes here) casano.com.
Then send a polite message introducing yourself and asking your question to:
fossils (at sign goes here) casano.com.
Unsubscribing from the list is similar to subscribing, except substitute the word "unsubscribe" for "subscribe" in the above instructions.
NOTICEIf people abuse my mailing list and the subscribers (who are my friends) on it, then I will just change the list subscription from "open" to "closed" so that I will have to personally approve subscriptions. So be nice and don't ruin it for others.
I have a 1968 Yamaha CS-1; where could I find out more or get parts for it?
Just to ask the obvious question - have you tried Yamaha yet? If your local dealer not cooperative or you don't have a local dealer, I'd like to recommend MR Motorcycle and Marine as a dealer in Japanese Bike Parts. Good prices and service, I've bought a bunch of stuff from them. If they have it, and you have access to fiche reader, get the microfiche for your bike from them.
Assuming the answer is "yes" and that Yamaha (US) disavows knowledge, next I'd try the following, not necessarily in this order:
The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club I'm not involved with them but the name sounds like they might be useful.
Next, if you just want to get it running, I'd try to find another Yamaha two-stroke model of the same displacement and vintage so you could source parts. It's very likely that there was a 180cc street bike using the same engine in the Yamaha line at nearly the same time that this model was available (give or take two years).
Parts like carbs may even be used on other brands of two-strokes, since Honda used Kehein (spelling?) carbs, perhaps Yahama did, too.
Parts like taillight lenses are probably even more widely used. The entire Yamaha line may use the same lens during that period. Honda used the exact same taillight lenses on many many models in the 70's.
Ebay and Yahoo auctions might (this is a stretch) be a good place to search for hits on the bike. Or perhaps just broaden your net-wide search to be "Yamaha 180cc" and see what happens.
Perhaps there is a Yamaha vintage owners club, or a vintage two-stroke owners club somewhere? I belong to the "Honda Single Overhead Camshaft Four-Cylinder Owners Club" which sounds exclusive but is really the name for all the Honda 4 cyl bikes of the 1970's - CB750, CB550, CB500F, CB400F, and CB350F - probably many tens of thousands of bikes. (http://www.sohc4.net)
Lastly, there's my little vintage motorcycle club, the Fossils. See the comments about them, above.
Can you help me identify this bike I found?
If the bike was made in the last 30 or 40 years, here are my suggestions:
You can narrow the possibilities down by answering the following questions:
1. What does the number plate on the head stock say? This often has the model number on it, as well has having the model number encoded in the VIN.
This should get you a model number and year (the registration might not have the year of manufacture, instead it might be the first year the thing was registered. The bike might be a year or two earlier.) If the VIN plate is gone (this happens), then:
2. How many cylinders? 2 or 4 is common, 1 and 3 possible but less unlikely, 6 or 8 possible but very unlikely.
3. What does the engine number say, and is there a place on the block where the displacement is cast in - something like "625cc", for example.
Given the answers from 2) and 3) I or someone like me could hazard a guess as to model name. I'm mostly a Honda man, but I know enough about some other brands to be dangerous.
If the bike is earlier than 1960, I'm have no experience to share. I'm not even real strong on non-japanese machines prior to the late 1960's.
Can you help me import my (illegal in the USA) bike from (other country)?
How about cutting it up into little tiny pieces, say, under an inch long, and then ship the pieces over in little tiny packages, and then, you get this big package of JB-Weld . . .
That was my best answer. I have even stupider ones that you'll like even less.
Why are you so crabby?
Someday you'll get old and tired of stupid questions, too.
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page last updated Dec 16, 2005.