Classic Motorcycle Build

About Me

I've been riding and wrenching for 40+ years, and in that time I've brought home numerous disassembled and basket-case cars and motorcycles. Because of this, two things have happened; I have become quite familiar with old iron, and I have pushed the limit of my patience far beyond what I thought it was.

basket case motorcycle repair

Classic Motorcycle Repair

Most local repair shops shy away from working on vintage motorcycles, especially project bikes. This is what started me to do it myself. Over the last 20+ years, through trial and error, I've picked up the skills (and tools and equipment) needed to repair classic and vintage motorcycles.

Ironhead Sportster project

What I Ride

My first motorcycle was a 1972 Harley-Davidson Sportster, which I bought wrecked in 1981. It was the only way I could afford the bike I wanted, but six months and $500 later, I was riding. I rode this bike for 13 years.

author Mark Trotta

In the winter of 1982, I decided to convert my Sportster into a custom hardtail. This meant I needed to find another daily rider.

hardtail Sportster build

From 1983 to 1988, a Yamaha Seca Turbo was my commuter bike. As you can see from the picture below, it got me through all kinds of weather. It was also wickedly fast.

author Mark Trotta riding motorcycle in winter weather

Triumph Trident

I bought this 1974 Triumph Trident as a basket case, not running and parts missing. With three cylinders, three carburetors, and three sets of mechanical points, this bike was a challenge.

basket case motorcycle build

Vintage British motorcycles have gained a reputation for having bad electrical systems. Truth is, the stock ignition system works well if set up properly.

From 2005 to 2010, I rode a Harley-Davidson Road King. At the time, I was working at a Harley-Davidson dealer in the county below mine. It was a 70-mile commute, and the King was a good ride. After riding it for five years, I decided cruisers weren't for me and sold it.

1997 Harley-Davidson Road King

In 2012, I bought a basket-case 1976 Sportster.

Ironhead Sportster Project

After it was together and running strong, I rode it for a few years, then sold it in 2014.

disassembled Sportster motor

Servi-Car Trike

Harley-Davidson Servi-car frame

I found my 1961 Harley trike project on ebay. Purchase price included a frame, a disassembled motor, and boxes and boxes of parts.

Harley-Davidson Servi-car project

Read: Harley Servi-car Restoration

Harley-Davidson Servi-car

All Servi-cars were powered by the venerable Harley 45 flathead.

BMW Oilhead

This is my current daily rider, a 1995 BMW R1100R. The R-series motorcycles are called "Oilheads" because the heads are oil-cooled, but the cylinders are still air-cooled like traditional flat-twin Beemers (Airheads). It's smooth, reliable, and comfortable, and when called upon, the 1100cc motor gets up and goes!

BMW R1100R Review

Read: BMW Oilhead Real World Review

Ironhead Sportster

This is my current project bike, a 1965 XLCH Sportster. Financially, it would have been more profitable to part out a basket-case motorcycle like this, but this is a very low production-year bike with matching case numbers.

1965 Sportster Project

1965 Sportster Production: 3,770 total units (2,815 XLCH models, 955 XLH models)

Mark Trotta classic motorcycle repair

Contact: Mark @