If you want to look the king or queen of cool on your retro scooter, be it a classic Vespa or Lambretta or a more modern Japanese machine such as a Yamaha or Honda, you’ll need some scooter restoration and maintenance tips to keep it in top condition.
The team at Bikesure swapped their parkas and sta press strides for workshop overalls to find out how to keep your machine running like a dream and here’s six tips on how to do just that.
But the first thing to remember is that retro scooter restorations and general maintenance are labours of love and, no matter which classic you decide to renovate, you’ll probably endure a few sleepless nights.
And, especially if it’s your first serious renovation project, you’re also likely to over commit, overspend and run over time.
Scooter restoration tip 1: Budget wisely
You may think the retro scooter you’ve splashed out on was a steal — even if your mates insisted it was rotten as a pear. But renovating a scooter will be expensive, especially if it is an older or rarer model or an import.
When working out your budget you will have to factor in parts, labour costs, storage space, and fabrication of any parts no longer in production. How much will it cost? How long is a piece of string?
Scooter restoration tip 2: Choose your bike carefully
Many scooters are bought on a whim. You see the retro machine of your dreams, the sun is shining and you imagine riding in convoy with friends to the coast. But in truth, the long hot summer ain’t that long and there aren’t that many days that are kind to bikers weather-wise.
Only buy a scooter for restoration if you’re absolutely sure it’s a match made in heaven and you have the perseverance and know-how to get the job done.
Scooter restoration tip 3: It takes time (a lot of time)
If you plan to tackle your classic scooter restoration in your spare time and fit the project around other commitments such as work and family, you may struggle.
Even if you’re a skilled craftsman, classic scooter restorations are labour intensive. If this is your first restoration, the project could go on for months, even years, and your enthusiasm may wane when things don’t progress as quickly as you would like.
There can also be lengthy periods of inactivity as you search the internet and await delivery of authentic parts to restore your machine to its full factory spec.
Scooter restoration tip 4: Know your limitations
The scooter restoration process demands a whole new set of skills you will have to master if you are doing the job yourself.
There are five stages to the restoration project:
- Bodywork disassembly and rebuild
- Suspension, steering and brake disassembly and rebuild
- Engine rebuild
- Seating upholstery repair or replacement
- Sand-blasting and repainting
In reality, few people can do everything and some of these tasks will have to be outsourced to experts.
Scooter restoration tip 5: Get specialists tools and pukka parts
Once you have a plan of what needs to be done you will need to consider the cost of parts and the tools you will need to complete the job successfully. But finding the right parts and tools can be time consuming and expensive.
Again, with more obscure and older models parts may no longer be available and that means you will have to make them or adapt more modern examples to make them fit for purpose. The fabrication of parts is a specialist job and if you can’t do it, or find someone else to do it, your classic car restoration project can stall.
Scooter restoration tip 6: Regular maintenance is important
Regular maintenance of your scooter is imperative to ensure it looks good, runs well and is most importantly safe to ride.
Get in the habit of checking for faults regularly and replacing or repairing things that aren’t working as they should. That could be anything from a failing light bulb to a slow puncture or a worn brake cable.
Check that all screws, nuts and bolts are tight, and if they are not, tighten accordingly. You should also examine your brake system, axles, muffler fasteners, steering and wheel bearings regularly. Some items, such as air filters, brake pads, engine oil and other lubricants, need to be replaced on a regular basis.
If you check your scooter regularly and make good the issues you discover, it will help ensure your pleasure and your safety.
Keeping your classic scooter safe
If you have a classic scooter renovation on the go you will know how much time and cash you have committed to the project. Bikesure offers specialist scooter insurance and value for money laid up cover while your classic scooter restoration project is in progress.
In most cases the best insurance deals are obtained over the phone — call 0330 123 1028 to find out how much you could save or book a free call back at a time that suits you.