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Discussion Starter #1
I know the Virago has been cafe'd to death ever since Greg Hageman's build debuted on Cafe Racer TV, but I think I might have a fresh take on it.

When I first saw Hageman's Virago cafe racer I thought it was a cool bike, but wasn't particularly drawn to it. A few years passed and I sold my current bike to catch up on finances while I finished college. But then it hit me. I couldn't live without a bike. I turned my last bike into a cafe racer. It wasn't the right bike for it and it got some negative feedback here on caferacer.net, but I think it turned out pretty cool regardless.

So now I am starting fresh with a 1982 Virago 750. I bought the bike complete with title for $350 in non-running but decent shape. My inspiration for this build falls heavily on the Ducati GT1000.

Here it is now with a little photoshop work done (tank color, seat and fender drawn in). The tank in this photo is a foam mold that I have carved and will fiberglass. The seat and fender are drawn in using Autodesk sketchbook on my phone. The sub-frame is a PVC mockup that I built to get the design and dimensions figured out. The finish sub-frame is being built by a local metal shop and will bolt right on with some minor modification to the frame at the stock tank mount.

2014-10-14 19.47.03.png

My current status is installation of an R6 front end, rebuilding the entire electrical system, and continuing work on the tank. More photos to come...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
side.jpg new harness.jpg
Here's a shot of the bike with the R6 forks installed, and the almost complete wire harness. Once fully tested, the yellow caps will be removed and all connections soldered and the whole thing wrapped up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here are some of the inspirational Ducati bikes that have inspired my aesthetic direction for this build.
SideViewFSFavouringFront.jpg ducati-900-walt-siegl-1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Before I get too far ahead, here is the bike on day one when I brought it home.
Day-One-2.jpg
 

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I don't get it, platform selection always seems to escape you.

Even if you get your virago to reasonably close to a Ducati sportclassic in looks (of which I have little hope for actually happening) it will never handle, go, or stop like anything remotely close, which was kind of the point of the Ducati - to back up its looks (and as a sport 1000 owner I can tell you it does, provided you put in the time to setup the suspension). For what you are about to spend you could buy a high mileage sport1000, and guess what? It will appreciate in price from the time you buy it. Know what won't? Your virago.

I don't think the basic virago platform is such a bad bike, but the variant you bought the only useable parts are the frame and engine, those spindly leading axle forks and the 19" front, 16" rear wheel setup has to go in the trash. You have to invest so much money I am wondering why you didn't hunt down a 920vx since it's the same frame and engine but without the chopper crap.
 

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yeah... You know - you seem to have decent attitude and skill toward the work. Workmanship looks good and the wire work well thought out etc. But you are taking a 80s shaftie cruiser and trying to turn it into a performance bike - that is pretty pointless exercise. AT best it will be ok but even that will take a huge effort. A jap 80s cruiser with n-hundred hours of work is still a 80s Japanese cruiser...

You talk a lot about aesthetics and look and style - this website is not so focused on the appearance but actual well working bikes that can be ridden. In that light many poser builds get ridiculed here quite a bit. Just a heads up.

Read this thread:
http://www.caferacer.net/forum/new-members-read-here/22280-read-first.html


just giving you a heads up so you don't get disappointed when people don't praise the beautiful gas cap or trick tail light or pointlessly trimmed frame (not really commenting on your bike here but the typical case of bike exif / pipeburn "scene" inspired bikes).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kerosene, thanks for the heads up. I guess I am posting this build in the wrong forum. Nevertheless, I have started here and suppose I will continue it here. I do want to have a digital journal of this project so this was my avenue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Before anyone else chimes in on how the virago is not a performance bike and never will be, you are wasting your breath. This isn't a performance build as most here believe it should be. I am perfectly okay with the fact that this is, and always will be an 80's Japanese bike. I happen to like that about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Kerosene, I should have read that "Read First" thread before starting this one. I really am posting in the wrong place, my apologies. Any suggestions on a forum more suited for this kind of project? Thanks
 

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I am perfectly okay with the fact that this is, and always will be an 80's Japanese bike. I happen to like that about it.
There are plenty of 1980's Japanese bikes that are performance bikes, and people love them. And there is potential in a VX chassis if you are willing to put the time and energy in. There was an article posted a while ago by kenessex about some guys racing a virago in superbike in the 80's.

Before anyone else chimes in on how the virago is not a performance bike and never will be... This isn't a performance build as most here believe it should be.
See the problem is your whole approach to the hobby. You think of motorcycles as valuable only in terms of their aesthetic beauty and not the thing they were built to do which is move a body from point A to point B.You are basically applying a chopper mentality to the hobby of motorcycles and as such are missing alot of other stuff that is great with this closed minded approach. You did it the first time with your other bike (some other weird cruiser I can't remember) and you are setting yourself up to make the same mistakes all over again and end up with the same experience. Right now you have the aesthetic approach to problem solving: you see an issue on the bike and you are determined to make it as pretty as possible, at the expense of weight, function, etc...if you rethink it and approach from a functional problem solving viewpoint you end up with a better product overall since it will work, deliver an increased riding experience, and there will still be room on the back end of the design process to make it pretty anyway.

Honestly, since the chopper forums seem to be all about brotherhood and have co-opted some of cafe racer "culture" anyway, just go find an all make chopper forum and I bet they will be happy to have you.

I know you think I am wasting my breath but really I am writing this here for all the other dipshits that will google search thinking a virago is a good idea for the start to a project.
 

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Not all Viragos turn out like shit:

Not mine, but this is the way to do a Virago IMO:



2014 Moss Custom Aggressor Prototype

1982 Yamaha Virago 920 engine and final drive
Custom frame
custom subframe
One-Off carbon fiber/kevlar tank and tail
GSXR front forks and brakes
16x3 harley front rim with adapters for GSXR rotors and custom axle
ninja 650r rear shock
custom swingarm
one-off CNC rear hub laced to a harley rim with custom spokes
Custom header and Danmoto exhaust
40mm CV carb on custom 2-1 intake manifold
etc etc etc












Build thread over here:

Knifemaker's 82 Virago 920 cafe racer - Custom Fighters - Custom Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum
Just sayin :cool:
 

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That aint a virago at that point. It literally is just a virago motor. Plus to get it to that point will cost you THOUSANDS of dollars when it'll probably only be a $2500 motorcycle on its very ultimate and best day of all time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, I'm gonna keep my build here. I respect the knowledge base here, despite being called a "dipshit" for doing what I'm doing.

I have tested all that I can test on the electrical right now. This includes all lights and the starting circuit. I will need to put oil in the case and throw the carbs back on to see if I can get her running.
 

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OK, here is the real problem with the Virago. The rear wheel on all of that vintage Yamaha shaft drive bikes suck, and they are not even interchangeable without considerable machine work. It can be done, but you are then limited to about a 140 rear tire unless you modify the swingarm on the drive shaft side. None of this is hard, but it all adds up to a fair amount of work just to mitigate some inherent design flaws. A chain drive conversion has not been done to a shaft drive Virago that I can find since for the cost you could just start with the chain drive XV920R. The Virago does not have a removeable middle gear case so the left case half would have to be cut and welded or something to get a chain drive conversion so you could get a decent selection of wheels and tires.

What front wheel do you plan on using with the R6 front forks? The rear won't match unless you use spokes on both ends.

Ken
 

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By the way hillsy, that's quite a build. Nice work.
That's not my build (I'd be quite proud if it was). There's a link to the build thread on Custom Fighters below the pics and if you look on page 7 you will see how he used a 535 rear wheel to get a spoked hub (minor mods required). He made his own frame though....quite tasty.
 
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