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Old 04-04-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
mikesova OP
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98 Virago 535

I found a 98 Virago 535 on craigslist that has been sitting for over 10 years. (ding in the tank, "needs carb work", battery, tires, etc.)

It's got 5700 miles. The owner claims that there's nothing else broken or messed up.

I'm interested in having a low budget project bike that I could make into a cool around town custom. (chopper/bobberish, but nothing irreversible).

What would you give for it?
KBB Clean retail is $2,020.

I'm thinking 200 for carb parts/ cleaning, 300 for tires, 50 for a battery, etc.

Also, with a non-running bike, what would you reccomend to check? click through the gears, roll it around to make sure it's not locked up, etc?
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
kraven
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Without going through a laundry list of stuff it'll probably need: I'd go 4 or 500 on it and feel like I was doing the guy a favor.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
TINGLER
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Not running is $500.

There could be lots of stuff wrong with a not running bike. At $500 you are taking a chance and if it all goes south you might be able to get $500 back in parts, though I doubt there's much of a parts demand for an old Virago.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Beware the fuel pump. It's likely gummed up. I think it's internal in the lower tank, but I'm not 100% of that.

Parts are surprisingly expensive, lots are not available as new replacement. Important parts, like carburetor mounts and the like.

Most uncomfortable seat known to man. I'm usually squirming within 10 miles. Suffering in 20, and in tears by 50. Not really exagurating either.

Awful buckhorn handlebars. Good replacement is a Honda Rebel set.

Voltage regulator is prone to burning out.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
mikesova OP
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Hmm. He's asking $750 and I was thinking 5 or 6 hundred. So, I guess I was on track. I would be replacing the handlebars with some z-bars and I have a much better bike for long distance. This bike wouldn't be ridden for more than a half hour at a time.

fox trapper, anything specific I can check for while looking at it?
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:46 PM   #6
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...anything specific I can check for while looking at it?
I'd say it's more general looking over. Just take some time and look it over from one end to the other. How flat/rotted the tires are. How the engine oil is. What do the pedals & levers move like. How brittle the seat is. How rusty the upper tank is. Etc.

Mmm, if you've got an electrical charger and the owner is willing to let you hook it up to the bike that could tell you a good bit about the electrical gremlins. Lack of them would be a good sign.

Beware, for some reason Harley riders tend to think you're one of theirs on these little 535s. You have to learn to do the two finger flick at the knee.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:52 PM   #7
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Here's a pic of the bike. The person selling it is 2 hours away from it and can't get any better pics.

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:36 PM   #8
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If you can get it for $500 I'd go for it. My last bike was a '93 535. I put superbike bars on it, a stage 1 jet kit and MAC pipes. Great little cruiser. Not the best for highway trips but perfect for city riding and backroad bombing.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #9
mikesova OP
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I'm thinking z-bars and kind of stripped down look. Think poor man's Sportster. I've got my FZ6 with bags for road trips and my KLX250s for offroad, but I've been wanting a project bike that I can tinker with out in the garage. It gets boring when all I can do is clean them and change the oil. ;)
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #10
JerryH
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The Virago 535 was Yamaha's original Sportster copy. It has two gas tanks, on under the seat, because they wanted the top tank to look really small. It has shaft drive, wire wheels, tube type tires, and no centerstand. It is an excellent design, as was all the Viragos, with the exception of the first 2-3 model years that had serious starter drive issues that would dump metal shavings into the crankcase. New, the 535 was as reliable as any modern bike. But time and lack of use takes it's toll. If I don't know a LOT about it, I will not buy a non running bike other than dirt cheap as a parts bike. It might be in decent shape, it might be complete junk.

One thing I would do, is go to bikebandit.com, cheapcycleparts.com, and eBay, and see what parts are still available for it, and what they cost. Resurrecting an old bike that has sat for a long time is rarely an easy job. The Goldwing forum is full of people who bought an old neglected bike, with the intention of getting it back on the road, did a lot of work, spent a lot of money, and still never got it going.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:47 AM   #11
mikesova OP
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The Virago 535 was Yamaha's original Sportster copy. It has two gas tanks, on under the seat, because they wanted the top tank to look really small. It has shaft drive, wire wheels, tube type tires, and no centerstand. It is an excellent design, as was all the Viragos, with the exception of the first 2-3 model years that had serious starter drive issues that would dump metal shavings into the crankcase. New, the 535 was as reliable as any modern bike. But time and lack of use takes it's toll. If I don't know a LOT about it, I will not buy a non running bike other than dirt cheap as a parts bike. It might be in decent shape, it might be complete junk.

One thing I would do, is go to bikebandit.com, cheapcycleparts.com, and eBay, and see what parts are still available for it, and what they cost. Resurrecting an old bike that has sat for a long time is rarely an easy job. The Goldwing forum is full of people who bought an old neglected bike, with the intention of getting it back on the road, did a lot of work, spent a lot of money, and still never got it going.
oh, oh, I meant Poor man's bolt! ;)
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:56 AM   #12
foxtrapper
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Here's a pic of the bike. The person selling it is 2 hours away from it and can't get any better pics.

Well that alone answers a lot of the questions. It's been kept inside, it's not rusty, the plastic hasn't been destroyed by UV damage. It certainly appears worth a trip to go see it. If you still like it after sitting on it, low ball him to see if he bites, and rise up to whatever level you feel comfortable spending.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:58 AM   #13
mikesova OP
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I'd say it's more general looking over. Just take some time and look it over from one end to the other. How flat/rotted the tires are. How the engine oil is. What do the pedals & levers move like. How brittle the seat is. How rusty the upper tank is. Etc.

Mmm, if you've got an electrical charger and the owner is willing to let you hook it up to the bike that could tell you a good bit about the electrical gremlins. Lack of them would be a good sign.

.
I am thinking of bringing a good battery with a pair of alligator clips to hook it up. Should I hear the fuel pump engage when I turn on the key, like with my FZ6? I noticed that is a spendy part. If it is gummed up, I should be able to un-gum it, right?
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:07 AM   #14
kraven
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oh, oh, I meant Poor man's bolt! ;)


That's right!
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:10 AM   #15
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I am thinking of bringing a good battery with a pair of alligator clips to hook it up. Should I hear the fuel pump engage when I turn on the key, like with my FZ6? I noticed that is a spendy part. If it is gummed up, I should be able to un-gum it, right?
Yeah, totally. You can soak the pump. If it works, you can circulate some kerosene through it and break up a lot of the crud.

Some of the trouble afterward comes from the sludge left after fuel dries. It actually helps to chemically speed the process of gas going bad, so any parts that aren't thoroughly cleaned are in the system contaminating the fuel.
It's not so bad if you stay on top of it.
You'll probably want to replace all the hose with stuff rated for injection too.
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