motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

Contemplating A Resto.


When I was a young bloke, my parents forbid me to have a bike unless it was a 10 speed Malvern Star.

I respected this while I lived at home. I didn’t have a choice. Once I was out on my own though, I bought a bike. OK, so it came in a couple of milk crates and a few cardboard boxes but I had a bike none-the-less

You can read about it here if you like.

I’d be a hypocrite if I imposed the same rules on my kids. After all, I was riding before my kids were born, and they’ve been brought up with motorcycling and the motorcycle community all their lives. So it’s inevitable that one, or all of them, might decide to ride some day.

I realised the other day that day might be getting closer; After the Australian Historic Road Race Championships, “The Bar Tender” mentioned he’d like to restore an old bike before he gets his RE bike licence, sort of following what I did all those years ago.

I listened to his proposal, but didn’t say much thinking it was a teenage spur of the moment comment.

This was until a few days ago when he raised the topic again.

Now, I’ve got nothing against him restoring a bike, in fact I’d encourage anyone who wants to ride to do it. It’s the best way to get to know your machine and gain some basic understanding of how it works. The Pillion however, is a little upset that she is going to lose her garage for an extended period of time… again.

There will be restrictions on what he can restore, and I hasten to add the restrictions are not mine. It doesn’t matter if he holds a provisional licence or on an open class car licence, he will be restricted to a LAMS* class bike for 12 months. Then he will have to re-sit the whole process again to gain an open R class bike licence. So the whole process will take him a couple of years at least, assuming of course he wants to ride something non-LAMS.

I asked what bike he had in mind. He shrugged and said he had no idea. It would be a naked bike though, because insurance on a fully fared bike for an inexperienced rider would be crippling.

The options he has are endless, there are a few things he might want to consider though:

  • Age – how far back does he want to go? The further back the more work involved and the parts might be harder to get.
  • 1, 2 or 4 cylinder.
  • Cruiser, commuter or adventure
  • Japanese or… not
  • Capacity. He can go to 660 but has to stay within the power to weight restrictions.


This Was My Brother In aws Bike

This Was My Brother-In-Laws Bike in 2005

I also thought an early (say 2003) SV 650 S Suzuki would suit, but they don’t meet the LAMS criteria. There are a few Ducati on the LAMS list as well, including some Monsters (No boogeymen) and a 600 Pantah of all things.

All this talk about bike restoration got me thinking, what bike would I restore if I had the opportunity?

Yamaha TRX 850

Yamaha TRX 850

I’ve considered this in the past and thought a Yamaha TRX-850 would be a good candidate.

They can be picked up fairly cheaply, parts are readily available and the parallel twin engines have a nice beat to them, closely mimicking Ducati V-twins. There are heaps of aftermarket custom bits available and they respond well to some massaging.

I have to admit I’m not a fan of the fairing though.

Failing that a first generation ZRX 1100 Kawasaki.

What bike would you suggest for The Bar Tender to consider?


  • Provisional Licence: New drivers hold a red provisional licence for 12 months, followed by a further 24 months on their green provisional licence before they progress to an open licence. Provisional drivers have restrictions  like carrying  passengers and the type of car they can drive, V8’s and turbo vehicles are prohibited.
  • LAMS: Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme
    • A learner approved motorcycle is a production motorcycle that is fitted with an electric motor, or has an internal combustion engine with a capacity of not more than 660mL, and:
      • a power-to-weight ratio that does not exceed 150 kW/t (200hp/t)
      • has not been modified other than for an allowable modification
      • is included on the LAM Scheme list of approved motorcycles.

4 responses

  1. Dan

    For a young fella just getting into it, to learn on, drop, pick up again, and for ease of riding and maintenance I don’t reckon you can go past a Suzy DRZ400. And get the E so you get the flat side carbs which are easier to work on and give better punch. Then he could carve up some dirt and learn how to handle it, then put road wheels on for a bit of fun and commuting until he learns more.
    I also had a TRX 850 and LOVED THAT BIKE. It was great, bulletproof and fast. But I reckon that’s more like a second build bike.
    Jealous of you and the bartenders journey, sounds like a great time growing up!


    October 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    • Good idea on the DRZ, you learn lots on dirt… the TRX would be for me (says he sheepishly)


      October 8, 2014 at 2:02 PM

  2. I see this post is very old – I’m guessing you’ve either chosen a bike or it’s still on the back-burner 😎 I’ve always thought and never acted upon, the belief that it would be much easier to restore an old two stroke bike. To that end I would suggest a Yamaha RD350 or a Suzuki GT250. Cheers and must say, I’m enjoying your blog. Take it easy and stay upright

    Liked by 1 person

    August 19, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    • You’re right Andy it is an old post and sadly nothing came of it for The Bar Tender. He isn’t mechanically minded.. but I’m working on that.

      As for me a resto is still on the back burner… and I’m still partial to ZRX and TRX. Both for different reasons.

      Thanks for stopping by, and welcome. I hope I can keep you entertained with my irrelevant musings 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      August 19, 2016 at 3:27 PM

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