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How much does it cost, and can you build a bike from scratch?

Published: 23 September 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

Building a race bike from scratch

Building an MZ race bike is so easy, even I managed it. When a mate told me he was interested in racing, I decided to try building a bike for him out of my spares. The main part I was missing was a frame. MZ tuner Tony Holmshaw, from March, Cambs, has loads of scrapped bikes and I bought one from him for £15.

I hacksawed off any parts that weren’t needed, like the battery box, a few brackets and the centrestand, then gave it a new coat of paint. I bashed out the knackered old head bearings and splashed out £15 for two new ones. I had a spare set of forks and yokes and getting the seals changed cost £30. After a bit of fiddling, I wrestled the swingarm into the frame, then slotted my spare wheels in with the aid of secondhand spindles. The seat unit simply bolts on and so does the tank. Clip-ons (£25) also have to be fitted – before the forks go in, as I discovered afterwards.

I have no idea about engines so I gave my tuned unit to Holmshaw to put together. This cost me £50. The engine is held in with two bolts at the back and one on the cylinder head – simple.

I had a spare brake system, a twistgrip was £10 and getting a carb bored was £25. My dad made the rearsets and the footpegs cost £20.

If you fancy a winter project, scan through MCN BikeMart or dig through the local scrapyard. Parts can be bought from Holmshaw (01354-656345) or Burwins (020-7359-3050).

What it costs:

Bike: £670. ACU licence: £27 . BMCRC entry fee: £30. Race entries: £900. Dog tag: £10. Dry powder fire extinguisher: £25. Petrol: £400 (inc car travel for a season). Two-stroke oil: £20. Spares: £50. Trailer: £400. Total: £2532.

Enjoyment: Priceless.

What they raced:

Even today’s racers had to start somewhere....

Niall Mackenzie started on an RD350LC. John Reynolds on a Velocette 250MOV. Steve Plater on a CBR600. Neil Hodgson on a TZR125. James Toseland on a Cagiva 80. Junior Superstock champ Ben Wilson started on an Aprilia 125.

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