The 7 step guide to motorcycle restoration



To have an old motorcycle and never attempt to rebuild its engine, is like having a grandma and never attempting open heart surgery on her.

– Valentino Rossi

Mechanics are a scam, they only do one of three things:

  1. Turn things one way and the other way
  2. Drain fluids and fill fluids
  3. Remove old parts and fit new parts

I am a bloody IT engineer, I can obviously do everything that an automotive mechanic can, and better. Not only am I extremely smart, I am also handsome, which is all that matters in the end.

If you are as smart and handsome as I am, you can restore your old motorcycle as well, and save trillions of dollars that you’d have ended up wasting at a garage or a service center. Just follow my easy step by step guide to glory and lifelong happiness.

Step 1: Get a bike

This is kinda important, pick up an old bike from somewhere, because doing what we’re about to do to a new bike is a legally punishable offense.

You could just buy any second hand thing online, or, to make the experience more personal and painful, do it on your own old motorcycle that you have thousands of memories with.

I chose, and recommend, the second route. This is my 2009 Pulsar 150 DTSi, I rode it some 60,000 kms all over India. It was my first bike, the bike that took me to Ladakh, and the bike I’ve had countless unforgettable experiences with.

Time to break it up into tiny little pieces then.

2. Buy tools

But wait, not so fast! Sure mechanics are dirty little fraudsters, but they have one special thing that makes them look legit and professional: Tools. If you want to play at being a mechanic, it’s mandatory you buy them too.

And not just any old tools will do, no sir. You must buy them new and shiny, preferably ones made by internationally known brands. Why is that important you ask?

Well, ask yourself this, when you go to a doctor for a surgery, what’s the first piece of info you ask for? Is it how much will it cost? Or how long will the post-op recovery take? Nonsense! Your first question always is about what brand scalpel would be used, and if the laparoscopic equipment is endorsed by an Instagram influencer or not. You gotta do the right thing man.

So naturally, I only bought tools made by Stanley or, when desperate, Taparia. Make sure that the cost of the tools you’ve bought to restore your old motorcycle is far more than the value of the motorcycle itself, that’s the only way to justify this expense on heavy lumps of metal that you’ll never use again.

Look at this cutie!

3. Don’t wash said bike

Of course it’s an old bike, so it’s going to be a cradle of filth. Are you really going to wash all of those memories away?

What if there’s some Ladakh sand still stuck under the seat? What if the fingerprints of the policeman who tried to pull open the side panel when he thought you’d committed suicide still live somewhere on the inside?

Of course not. Leave the bike as it is, make use of the shiny new nitrile gloves you’ve just bought. And when said shiny new nitrile gloves are ruined within the first 15 minutes, shamelessly raid your mom’s stash of those flimsy plastic gloves she uses to color her hair.

Anything to keep your hands as girly and soft as possible.

Let your room fill up with the stench of old engine oil. Let your fingers slip on the grease splattered on every inch of the motorcycle. Real men fear nothing, especially not carcinogenic fumes coming out of decaying petrochemicals.

4. Strip it down like a pro

You’ve seen all those restoration videos on Youtube haven’t you? The dude carefully unbolts, unscrews, uneverythings the bike, brings each individual part back to old glory, and then lovingly puts it back together. That’s what you must do, because that’s the only right way.

Sure you could do it like a “real” mechanic who tries to keep the original factory fitting as much as possible, and only tinkers with what’s absolutely necessary, but where’s the fun in that?

Stripping a bike to its bare bones will help you enjoy the following special feelings:

a. Pulling your nails out on those fucking electrical connectors
b. Tearing your ligaments as you lean on a breaker bar and it snaps
c. Finding out weird insect nests inside your beloved motorcycle
d. Rounding off bolts
e. Breaking off plastics
f. Destroying tools

Pro tip for anybody facing trouble dismantling the engine, hide behind the couch within hearing distance of the motorcycle, and when it least expects it, jump out and shout something shocking like “the earth is a flat disc with a wall of ice that keeps the oceans in”. The bike will panic and shit the piston out.

5. Become the object of intense hatred

As you dismantle your motorcycle, naturally the parts need to be stored somewhere in an organized fashion. What better way to do it than using random cardboard boxes crammed to the top with metal bits, strategically placed in every corner of the house?

As more and more of the house becomes uninhabitable, your family is going to start giving you the stink eye. Oh why is that suspension sitting in the middle of this corridor? What’s that wheel doing blocking this door? Why is there a naked chassis sitting in the living room?

Society does not yet understand the love a man can have for little pieces of dismembered iron and aluminum, so you must be prepared for these negative emotions that’ll quickly surround you.

6. Struggle

As you slowly lose the love and respect of friends and family, allow yourself to be washed in the waves of affection that a cylinder head can provide.

Sure the pipe thingy that holds one of the spark plugs isn’t pulling out, and you’ve already sprayed it with an entire bottle of WD-40, and unless you pull it out you can’t separate the top half from the crank case, and that’s stopping you from splitting the case as well, but don’t let that disappoint you into an uncontrollable agony of tears.

The beautiful marble flooring of your room may have started looking like orc skin, that bloody bolt may have become rounder than your bald head, and your brand new puller tool may have just cracked on first use, but of course nothing can compare to the feeling of joy and achievement you will feel when you’d have completed this project and brought this lovely machine back to life, even if that happens many many years into the future.

7. Give up

You know what, real men know when to say no. This project is clearly taking too much of your precious time, rather than riding the bloody thing you’re just wasting your time trying to figure out where to fit that stupid little spring that fell out of the engine yesterday night.

Yes you have all the engine components sorted neatly into different boxes that you’ll certainly remember how to put back together 79 months later, but why worry about these puny little things when you can enjoy the feel of wind in your hair while riding a real, functional motorcycle that’s not spread over 2 floors and 3 rooms?

Leave these little things for mechanics, they need to make money and feed their children too you know. The only little problem now is that you’ve broken too many parts and jumbled too many items together, so no fucking mechanic is going to touch this thing.

Time to call the friendly scrap dealer, and valiantly give up like a smart and handsome man.

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  1. Arvind Ramakumar

    WTF, scrapped..! LOL

    I can totally understand family members complaining about motorcycle parts lying all around the house. The only thing I can store at home without any kickbacks is the pressure washer since it can be used to clean things other than my bike as well.

    And I guess a warm Welcome Back to India is in order 🙂

    1. AK

      Not back in India yet 🙂

  2. Rohit Yadav

    Hey! Thanks for the guide man. Very helpful. Really, why do the FNG mechanics want labour charge? For screwing and unscrewing things? What a scam! We’re handsome men, there’s testosterone flowing in our veins, we can handle it. And the best part (and the most satisfying one) is when you sell all the stuff in scrap. What a feeling…

    1. AK

      You said it bro 😀

      1. Rohit Yadav

        That’s the spirit I’m looking for! Guess what? I’m gonna follow the steps in exact order to restore my rusty old vehicle. And to make things that more complicated, that vehicle is gonna be a Hyundai i10.

        1. AK

          Damn that sounds like a fun project, you can’t lift an i10 engine with your bare hands you know 🙂

  3. Govardhan Reghuram

    Haha LOL! It’s been some days where I had a real proper laugh like this.
    Hats off to your writing skills, bro.
    Never stop writing. I shall look forward to more Team-BHP posts from you.
    And by the way, have you captured the photos of the reaction of your family members?

    1. AK

      Lol, no they were annoyed enough with me already 🙂

  4. Rakesh

    Where is the riding and review videos. back to india?

    1. AK

      Hopefully soon mate, not yet in India, still to buy a bike 🙂

  5. Anoop Menon

    Buddy, You writing style is amazing. Burst out laughing reading it in T-BHP. Then came to the blog and literally rolled on the floor laughing, may be after donkey years. Keep aside the bike story. You should seriously get into writing satires. You may not have a mechanic in you but a writer for sure.

    And may be that’s how your bike is supposed to be famous.

    1. AK