The 3rd bike I customized to any significant extent was my 1980 Virago 750. Picked this little peach up, no title, the guy hadn’t ever heard it run, I just hoped it had compression (later tested at 150psi in both cylinders! ..Phew..). Sadly I have no pics of the original bike…But I use this as reference, except imagine it way rougher!:
Anyway, this one I tore down to the backbone frame/ motor hanging from the rafters of the shop. Took every bolt off the bike and spent hours with a wire wheel polishing the hex heads and nuts…But times flies with Bayside on the radio and Jazzy (my shop cat) playing with the wire looms!
She always wants to be part of the action…
The biggest trick was the front-end swap, I used the ninja 250 front-end because it is a bit shorter, and they have a 16” front wheel, which matches the 16” rear much better than the stock 19”!! So I found the front-end on a forum, had them shipped and assembled them that night. Ordered a tire, picked up some chrome clip ons from eBay and it all slipped right into the stock virago triple trees! (the same works for some XJ models…fyi):
HOWEVER it’s not that easy, as would be expected, the virago weighs about 2x that of a ninja 250 so it was a scary beast to ride. So I ordered some Sonic Springs .97 spring rate (stock is .44) NOT progressive springs. Oh man did it change things! Now I love to ride that thing, corners great! Also built the exhaust from scratch, lots of hacking and welding!!
Then there was the tailpiece…Love the virago because I was just able to build a sub frame and bolt it on, no permanent damage done! I made it from some angle iron and 16 gauge sheet metal…That thing is STOUT. Drilled holes in the end for some tail lights, and it bolted right up. My only regret was not putting denser foam in the seat…maybe someday…
I tried painting it myself, and this is a picture of it with my paint job…it looks okay but doesn’t hold up to gas…
So I had my paint guy (Kevin…awesome dude) re-do it and it looks very similar but now you can pour all the gas you want on it and it doesn’t do a thing! Plus it’s glassy smooth…mmmmmmmm.
I think that’s a good summary of that bike~
After these pics it got better paint, a newer rear tire, and a white/ black faced mini speedo.