How to Build Your Own Motorcycle

If you're ready to build your own motorcycle, you've got a few different options: build from a kit, or build a custom bike from scratch. If you're intimately familiar with motorcycles, you might be ready to build a bike using custom components. On the other hand, if you're still learning about motorcycles, you would probably benefit from using a kit. 

How much building do you really want to do?

Once you've decided to build your own motorcycle, it's time to decide how much building you really want to do. With chopper kits, you can buy the kit and assemble the bike yourself, adding your own finish and your own custom embellishments. If you eschew the kit route, you can either tear down your existing bike and rebuild it, or start with a pile of parts and metal and literally build it from scratch.

Consider your skill level.

Your skill level with your existing bike can give you a good indicator of whether or not you're ready to build a bike from scratch. Do you perform all the routine maintenance on your motorcycle? Have you customized your chopper, swapping out stock parts for more personalized styles? If the answer is no, you probably want to consider a kit. If you're comfortable with how your bike works, though, and how the pieces fit together, you might be a good candidate to build from scratch.

What tools are available?

When you're building a bike from scratch, you still have options. You can order parts and fit them together, or you can literally build your chopper from scratch, machining the parts yourself and putting them all together. At the very least, you'll need to be able to weld. If you want to fabricate the parts yourself, you'll need an entire machine shop, proficiency with the tools at hand and a lot of free time.

For assembling a kit, the requirements are less intense. You still need some mechanical know-how and the proficiency to assemble the parts. Mostly, though, you need space to store all the motorcycle parts that will be lying around while you build and a lot of patience.

Recommended reading, boot camps and resources.

If you want to build your own motorcycle but aren't quite ready to get started, you've got plenty of reading options. You can also watch instructional videos to familiarize yourself with how to build your own motorcycle. For the next step, you could undertake a boot camp or apprenticeship.

If you prefer something less intense, or have the desire but lack the tools, you could consider a community college or university auto shop. Both of these options give you the resources you need to build your own bike, including tools and an instructor who can answer your questions, without the full immersion of a boot camp or an apprenticeship.

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