Buying a Build Your Own Motorcycle Kit

To select a build your own motorcycle kit, you need to take care of a few basic details first. Before you spend a dime, make sure you take the time and do the research to find the right kit for you.

What kind of kit do you want?

You'll find almost as many build-a-bike kits as you'll find motorcycles. Before you even begin your shopping, you'll need to decide what kind of build your own motorcycle kit you want. Do you want a motorcycle, or a chopper? What sort of style do you want? Look around at the big bike kit manufacturers, such as Ultima, Big Bear Choppers or Southern Motorcycle Works, to browse available kits and decide what sort of style and design suits you.

What comes with the kit?

This is an extremely important question. Some kits come with everything you'll need, right up to the motor oil. Other kits are bare models that include the frame and other major components, but require you to purchase some parts and accessories separately. Make sure you understand what comes with the kit before you buy, and what you'll need to buy separately. Most manufacturers tell you any additional items you'll need to buy.

Do you have the skills and tools required to build the kit?

Different kits require different skill levels to build. Some build your own motorcycle kits are ready to assemble with a basic tool set, while others require welding, cutting and even machining. Before you build a kit, find out what tools and skills you'll need in order to build it. You may find that the kit you want requires access to tools you don't have, in which case you might need to outsource building it. Do your homework before you buy.

Choose a known brand.

Building a motorcycle kit is generally cheaper than buying a ready-made bike off the floor. It also enables you to do as much customization as you want from the beginning. Avoid the temptation to go directly for the cheapest kit, though. You may be planning to add to the kit or modify it substantially, but that's useless if you don't start with a quality bike. Choose a known brand with a good reputation before you buy.

Think about customization.

The whole point of a build your own motorcycle kit is customizing your ride and building a bike that no-one else has. You may decide that some of the stock parts that come with your kit don't meet your style or performance specifications. Be ready to customize your kit; especially if you buy a barebones kit that requires you to add on parts and accessories. Factor customization into your price, and decide what you want to customize before you finish the bike, or you may find yourself re-finishing.

Consider finishing.

Once you build the kit, you'll need to finish it. You might decide to finish it with a quick paintjob yourself, or you may want a custom paint job from a professional shop. When you're shopping for kits, think about how you want to finish your potential bike. Check around and find out what it costs to get a professional finish at your shop, and decide how you want to handle the finish before you buy.

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