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Old 11-22-2009, 11:38 AM   #1
G2mk3 OP
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Messing around with a Virago

First I would like to say that everyone should feel free to talk about their viragos in this thread, please don't worry about hijacking what will ultimately be a somewhat slow build thread. For a bike as common as viragos are it is somewhat surprising the lack of a community for them on the internet. Yes there is viragotech, but for whatever reason that place doesnt tickle my fancy (people can't post big pictures? wtf mate. and the info in that forum is sometimes somewhat hard to retrieve). So as I said, feel free to post whatever virago related stuff you want in this thread.

I have only just recently got into motorcycles, my only other bikes were a yamaha gt80 i messed around with and reviving a 81 xl185s, the thread on which is somewhere buried in old school. I have always had a fondness for cafe bikes, my friends that have RD's haven't helped much. When I saw pictures of the "zerocafe" virago that are around the net I started to like viragos for all the same reasons I like impreza's that are turned into rally cars. Ok, it is not so reasonable to turn a virago into a race bike like a impreza can be turned into proper rally car, but I do believe the virago can be made "decently" sporty and unique while remaining a cheap and dependable motorcycle.

As it turned out, after a few months of researching them a close friend from highschool offered me a 81 xv750 he had acquired from a coworker. He has a few projects going on and eventually realized he just wasn't going to get around to it and passed it on to me.


After making sweet love to the hitachi carbs (and I thought hitachi primarily specialized in ruining audi's...), unclogging a few jets and emulsion tubes and replacing a torn diaphragm, it finally runs. It still needs to be synced and the floats adjusted, but I think I am on the up side of that battle.


I doesn't exactly rip yet, but considering it's my first 'substantial' bike I'm not so worried. I have ridden a few gsxr's and decided I prefer to get those sorts of thrills from my rally car, so this will stay more on the sport tourer side of things.

Realizing that a lot of the handling differences between the 920 and 920r's is due to the 18" rear wheel on the r, I decided that was a good place to start out, however I was not to crazy about the design of the wheels and decided that the wheels from a xj900r would fit my sporty theme a bit better. I found a local person on CL parking out a 900 seca and ended up taking the majority of the front end off of him as well.

I have test fitted the rear wheel, which only requires a mount for the brace to be welded on the swing arm and a bit of work to make the MC jive with the brake pedal, otherwise a bolt on affair .


The larger rear wheel looks like it will raise the rear axle about 3/8-1/2" once a new tire is on. A simple side to side comparison makes it look like the xj forks and wheel will drop the front end about 3". Any input on all the handling changes that might/should occur is appreciated, but I am pretty sure the front end will be going on regardless.
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G2mk3 screwed with this post 11-22-2009 at 12:37 PM
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
benwiggin2
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Good for you on this project! Do keep us posted!
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:27 PM   #3
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I don't have too much to update; After rebuilding the carbs for the 2nd time (the first time was just blasting carb cleaner around them) the bike starts and runs on both cylinders. It starts easily but has some hesitation reving off of idle. I have set the float levels and balanced them with a home built manometer (I got them very close, but there is just enough play in the linkage that at idle I can not for the life of me get them to be exactly even). It could be tci issues that the bikes are somewhat known to have, but first I am gonna throw in a new set of plugs and adjust the valves. Any imput on the situtation would be great.

Since my xj900r front end didn't come with front brake calipers I picked up these r6 calipers on ebay for dirt cheap. I can't wait to offer them up to see how much work it will take to them them on...

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Old 12-14-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
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Love the Stig doll. Good luck with the build.
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Old 12-14-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
JimVonBaden
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I had the damn carbs out of a Virago 5-6 times trying to get it to run right. Those things are a bitch coming and going!

I hated that bike, and wished I had never agreed to work on it for a friend!

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Old 12-14-2009, 01:54 PM   #6
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I've at least gotten good at taking them on and off. I find it is a lot easier to put the carb mount on the rear cylinder, slid the carbs in and onto the rear mount, then twist the carbs and push on the front mount. When both mounts are already on it really sucks...

I'm really hoping it is a bad TCI unit, but I wouldn't be surprised if new plugs made the difference considering how long it only ran on one cylinder and all the chemicals I shot in there to get it to start.
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