1981 Virago hits the North American Shores
My frame was a 1981 and the 151st virago built. I purchased it from a car lot in 1985, it had 9,837 Km, and I traded a '81 CB650 (that was puking out of the head gasket, and on it's last 50 miles) and $400. The bike was stock and in next to perfect shape.
Upon riding it Downtown at night I met a previous owner that said he was in fact the third owner, and he had sold it to the person that traded it at the car lot for a car.
Although it was an awesome ride I never started to customize it until, while it was parked downtown at a meter, and a car backed over it an smashed the instrument cluster. Each instrument was going to be 3 hundred plus. I couldn't see spending that much so opted for a Mini Speedo. That winter, I started looking at a new paint scheme, and thought why not clean up the rear fender and installing the '51 Ford tail lense that I had. I also put on a set of after market pipes, ape hangers and headlight beak. The best Idea was to take the soft tail look and remove the mono shock, and install a Shaft that was shorter than the shock, lowering the rear substantially. (28" seat height)
What Starter Problems!
“After trying all of the suggested fixes, I found that the starter problem can be a non-issue, if, twice in a riding season the starter is removed from the bike and overhauled”. This over-haul would include a complete teardown of the starter and all parts thoroughly "Gunk Tank" cleaned. After the parts are cleaned and inspected for failed components, all electrical contact parts are cleaned with an emery cloth, ensuring a good clean contact, and all grease-able parts are greased. Reassemble, and reinstall. Doctor Virago says "If I over-haul my starter at the beginning of the season, I am pretty much guaranteed a trouble free season. The second rebuild half way through the season, will Iron Clad Guarantee I’ll have no Problems".
The shadow shows the mirror placement. With both mounted on the left handle of the bar, The lower left was for checking left shoulder, and the higher right was for checking over the right shoulder.
Shortlist of Custom
Lowered Original frame, made it rigid, forward only controls, foot clutch, jockey (hand) shift, 51 ford tail lens mounted to the rear of the seat, and cleaned up original rear fender, curly Z Bars, open pipes with tear drop 45* down turn, 3" antique police bike flashing red lights for rear signals, original seat-leather covered. Forward tank mounts raised one inch. Forward turn signals mounted at front axel. Left and right mirrors mounted on the same left handle bar. Triumph Trident side stand, so the bike is leaning at 45* on the stand. Passenger foot pegs mounted on modified 650 Honda engine guards, so passenger’s feet are more forward giving passenger more control in hard breaking. Ignition key mounted in left lower toolbox, along with push button starter, and turn signal controls. On top of the headlight bucket are seven green LED lights in a row left to right for neutral and seven Red LED lights in a row for Low Oil Indicator. There was a speed wobble, and the air assist suspension was blown out, so I cut 1 & 1/2 inch long sections from an old set of handlebars, and inserted them inside the top of the forks to give the springs inside more tension. It worked wonders. Extra-Extra Large Rear Tire gave clearance of corrugated cardboard between tire and fender. With the larger tire I broke the bikes max speed and got 120mph out of it. (Timed Distance) AND MUCH MORE.
One spring we got caught off guard. More custom items added: Springer front end/w spoke wheel, Tractor headlight bucket, split rear hand grab, Leather saddle bags, right handle bar thumb operated leaver for choke. Buddy Bike added, so the main bike wouldn't get lonely. If you look closely to the left, you will see on the hand rail of the porch, an engine, a flathead single cyl. with kick start, called an IRON HORSE, built in Ontario, used to power a Rigger Washer, back in the day.
It Is Now 2012 Fall
I have decided to have a Virago again, and the one that cam up is a '84 Canadian XV 750 Virago, a little tougher to find parts for, maybe. Purchased it with 73,000km and the first day put on 333km and in a week 1000km. You know . . . just to get to know it. Har har
Below are a photo and a couple of videos . . . oh how times have changed.
Cold Start -3c
Forward Control Video
My Wild Witch Lady