My shop is in an over-sized two-car garage attached to my home. My work is a calling, in the theological sense of the word. Ethical and moral questions arise every day – they are hard, sharp, unambiguous and unavoidable.

Esitmating work on vintage bikes

Posted: July 18th, 2010 | Author: Administrator | Filed under: Around The Shop, Editorial, Motorcycle Repair | No Comments »


Thanks for your note of inquiry.  And thanks for preserving cool old crocks like your water buffalo – the Brits nicknamed them the Kettle.

My shop rate is $40/hr. – about half of what the major shops charge – and vintage Japanese bikes are all I do.  That said, I cannot responsibly estimate what the job will cost.  I can’t imagine it taking less than six hours, so figure a minimum of $240.  When dealing with 35 year-old machines, the possibility of unforeseen problems is very high.  It is not uncommon for a customer to bring me a bike saying that it just needs the carbs cleaned, tuned, and synced.  Well, unless you know for sure that the valve clearances are within spec – and they very seldom are – , you can’t get accurate vacuum readings to tune/sync the carbs, you are trying to compensate for mis-matches in valve opening/closing times with carb throttle opening changes – and one coil is very week and the points cam bearing has play, the chain and sprockets are toast, the cables are stiff and frayed, and so on and on.  And then there are all the opportunities for seized/stripped/other-wise buggered fasteners.  And so on.

In your case, we needn’t trouble about the valve clearances :-)

What I can tell you is that I keep a bench-log and record my work in considerable detail – useful for the customer too later down the road – and you will know exactly where my time and your money went.

Existential Motorcycles
Alexander, NC                                   TEL: 828-683-9289

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