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Virago Cafe Racer for a beginner - Where to start?

This is a discussion on Virago Cafe Racer for a beginner - Where to start? within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Does everyone own a Mojave tank?...

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  1. #11
    Senior Member Big Bad Bob Dog's Avatar
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    Does everyone own a Mojave tank?
    That's like, your opinion, man.

  2. #12
    Senior Member monkey's Avatar
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    fashion before function
    latered

  3. #13
    Junior Member Eskamobob1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
    The bike will not handle as well with those big tires as it would with normal sized tires.
    Having always ridden bikes (motorcycles and bicycles) have had tires on the bigger side so I didn't question much, but that makes sence for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    [spoiler]you aren't going to learn anything from the internet. You think you are but you aren't. Here is what you do: Buy a motorcycle. Want to know what kind of motorcycle to buy we can help you with that (not a virago). Want to know where to start here is where you start: buy a motorcycle that runs, is ready to ride, and ride it. Don't buy a style bike like a chopper or a crusier, or an adventure bike, or any genre specific bike. Just a standard like any pre 1984 japanese superbike, or an sv650, or a ninja 500, etc... then put rubber to road. Don't mod it, don't fap to fake cafe racer pron, just ride it.

    The thing you are looking for is what you actually enjoy out of the hobby. Basically what kind of riding do you want to be doing all the time. what is enjoyable. You will begin to answer this question right about the 1000 mile mark, and if you are doing it right you will never fully get an answer but will think you have answered it many times.

    ca va?

    don't put the cart before the horse, you are literally a year away from doing anything remotely looking like those terrible viragos. terrible? I hear you gasp? yeah they fail at being motorcycles, but they are pretty. that's the poseur trap. It's easy to make something pretty, very difficult to make something worthwhile.[/spoiler]
    Thanks you very much for the advice. This is exactly what I posted here to find out. Building the bike I never saw a problem, but I didn't realy think about getting comfortable riding it. I learned to drive on a 600HP 6 speed with a hand clutch. That said, it's a lot different to learn on a powerful car then a powerful motorcycle. Thank you for the advice (btw. Is there a rep button I can't find on this forum?)

    Lastly, seeing as I don't know much about motorcycles other then the engine mechanics and such, other then the massive wheels, what is it that makes these motorcycles "bad" (not arguing as you guys all know a lot more then me on this topic, just curious)

    EDIT:
    @Big
    What are you talking about? :P

    @monkey
    I wish that were in every situation... Would make building cars about 100x easier :P
    Last edited by Eskamobob1; 01-27-2013 at 12:28 PM.

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  5. #14
    Senior Member Tonnystark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskamobob1 View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I have been looking for a wider higher set motorcycle for a few years now and i recently stumbled upon the single rear spring Virago Cafe Racers and would like to build one myself. Here comes the problem. I have never worked on motorcycles before in my life (though I have been working on cars for years; primarily high performance engines and transmissions). Where would you guys recommend I start? I would assume motorcycles are aren't too different than cars, but in all honesty I don't know. Any help would be awesome.

    Thanks in advance,
    -esk
    does someone here for years just start these things for entertainment value?
    Have been a member for about 1/2 year now and think that multiple someone's "plant" these from time to time..

    Eskamobob1: ... just ride it and look for a better bike to convert to cafe.. Virago is not an ideal choice , its more of a bobber, bomber, chopper type of bike.. my 2 cents
    78' SR500
    64' YG1S
    15' XT250

  6. #15
    Senior Member Joep7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    you aren't going to learn anything from the internet. You think you are but you aren't. Here is what you do: Buy a motorcycle. Want to know what kind of motorcycle to buy we can help you with that (not a virago). Want to know where to start here is where you start: buy a motorcycle that runs, is ready to ride, and ride it. Don't buy a style bike like a chopper or a crusier, or an adventure bike, or any genre specific bike. Just a standard like any pre 1984 japanese superbike, or an sv650, or a ninja 500, etc... then put rubber to road. Don't mod it, don't fap to fake cafe racer pron, just ride it.

    The thing you are looking for is what you actually enjoy out of the hobby. Basically what kind of riding do you want to be doing all the time. what is enjoyable. You will begin to answer this question right about the 1000 mile mark, and if you are doing it right you will never fully get an answer but will think you have answered it many times.

    ca va?

    don't put the cart before the horse, you are literally a year away from doing anything remotely looking like those terrible viragos. terrible? I hear you gasp? yeah they fail at being motorcycles, but they are pretty. that's the poseur trap. It's easy to make something pretty, very difficult to make something worthwhile.

    Every new member should be forced to read this before they join! Great response.

  7. #16
    Senior Member Big Bad Bob Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eskamobob1 View Post
    EDIT:
    @Big
    What are you talking about? :P
    The tank off all those bikes is a Benelli Mojave tank. Every man and his cat wacks them on every bike. But since moto what's their names built the virago thing, it's that tank and a nitrohead seat.

    Buy a decent bike. Buy some modern tires. Make sure your brakes and suspension are up to scratch.

    Read this a million times. Then practice.

    A Twist of the Wrist: The Motorcycle Roadracers Handbook: Keith Code: 0636648000029: Amazon.com: Books
    That's like, your opinion, man.

  8. #17
    Senior Member kenessex's Avatar
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    OK, Eskamobob ( BTW, many of the Yup'ik and Inupaq people consider the term "Eskimo" to be a perjorative and prefer to be referred to by their language group),
    Where are you located? That is helpful since lots of us like to cruise Craigslist and Ebay to provide helpful leads to prospective bikes.

    Yamaha made 2 versions of their air cooled 750-1000 V twin the XV920R is the only one that is chain drive. It would be the best for the basis of a custom bike. It is not common, but is available. The shaft drive version, either 750 or 920 is cheap and common. It has horrible wheels, shocks and forks, but that can all be changed. They are also all limited to shaft drive, which is OK if you are aware of the limitations, you will be limited in rear tire width and you can't convert to chain drive without considerable expense or machining and welding skills. I think I understand what your desired look is and I think you can get that without sacrificing function for the sake of the look. Here is what I think would work for you depending on your skill set, budget and access to equipment.

    1. Wheels - get a rear from a spoke wheeled Virago 1000 or 1100. Send it to Buchanans or order a set of spokes from them and a 17" 4.0 or 4.5" aluminum rim. Then fit on a 150 or possibly 160 rear tire. This combo will not fit until you notch and then plate the swing arm on the drive shaft tube side to clear the tire. For the front, replace the whole front end with one from an FZR600 or YZF R6 and use the front hub from an XS650, again laced up to a 3.5 x 17" rim, so you can run a 120 x 17 tire.

    2. Shock. The stock shock does not use a linkage and is fairly short, so I would try something like a Ninja 650 shock to start with and see if it can be made to work.

    3. Once you get the shock in and forks set up, you can then either make a new subframe to put your seat where you want it or you can adapt the subframe from a current model sport bike and bolt on a racetail for it. I would take a look at Airtech and see if any of their current model stuff looks like what you would like and can be adapted.

    4. Fuel tank. I like the stock Virago tank if it has the angle changed so the bottom line of the tank is parallel with the ground when the bike is sitting on its new suspension with its new wheels and tires. The Mojave tank is the same old Benelli tank from the 60's that every "Custom Builder" thinks they discovered, cause it has a nice shape with factory knee indents. It is uver used and cliche at this point. Same goes for the CX500 deluxe tank. Just don't do it.


    That will be a good start for you. The 17" tires will look big enough and be the right sizes for proper handling. The rear shock and R6 forks will give you the suspension and brakes you will need. There is still a tone of work to be figured out with seat, pegs, bars, guages, etc to keep you plenty busy, not to mention carbs, pipes and fixing the starter.

    Good luck, do your due diligence before you ask specific questions and some of us may help you out if we feel like it.

    Ken
    WERA 119
    CCS 119
    CRA 119
    AHRMA not anymore
    \"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.\"
    Evan Esar
    Newbies, Geeto and Tex (Bye Tex)hate me!!

  9. #18
    Senior Member Pluto's Avatar
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    I had a virago 700. It was a nice ride with drag bars on it. Hated the stock handlebars. Never tried to cafe it. The geometry would have been alot to overcome, the engine had too many quirks and most of all the carbs were a M-A-S-S-I-V-E PAIN. I still shudder when I think about working on those. If you want a bike with a higher stance you don't have to go virago.

    Could you do it? Sure! But go into it knowing that it will cost you much more money and frustration than the courses already suggested.

    Cool! ---RIP

  10. #19
    Senior Member Burns's Avatar
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    Good luck finding a 920. Yamaha shipped most of the 920's originally shipped to the US to Europe, where they had a niche market. The 920 was never intended to be a performance motorcycle. It had a mild motor, a long wheel base and a huge gas tank, i.e. it was a long-legged tourer at heart. Its drive train differs from the rest of the line, being the only non-shafty in that pack as I recall. The 920's drive was, as far as I know, unique. It was a chain enclosed in lithium grease.
    mjb

  11. #20
    Senior Member Emit R Detsaw's Avatar
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    Mr. Eskimo, please find, enroll, and complete and MSF RiderCourse in your area before you proceed any further. (Cue the "I took an MSF course and it sucked/didn't learn anything/I got yelled at" chorus) Regardless of what you THINK you know, there is always something else you NEED to know.

    Then go buy a bike. I suggest a mid-eighties Honda Nighthawk S or a Gen 1 FZ1 (2001-2005). Good for taller folks.
    I believe we have run out of trolls.

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