Since launching Return of the Cafe Racers back in 2006 I have only come across two builders who have managed to do something worth writing about with the Virago and they’ve somehow managed to change my opinion of the bike. Admittedly they have been based on the 750 model which is a far cry from the 250’s of my youth, but it takes more than a bit of extra grunt to improve a Virago.
This Virago was a project developed for season two of Cafe Racer TV which is currently airing in the states. Built by Greg Hageman from Docs Chops the 80’s Virago underwent a full ground up facelift to achieve it’s now jaw-dropping good looks.
Just the right ratio of black to bling has been applied to Doc’s Virago. Carefully chosen components on the vtwin engine have been given a satin black finish helping to break up the mass of silver slung under the frame. The engine now appears less “bolt on” than in its original state and is complementary to the other parts of the bike. The bikes fuel tank is a NOS Benelli unit which has been finished in brilliant yellow/gold flake and it’s easily our first place favorite from this season of Cafe Racer TV. Specifications:Bike: mid-1980 Yamaha Virago Frame: Stock Subrame: Handbuilt Engine: 750cc Carburetion or FI System: Dynojet Carburetion Rear Swing Arm: Stock Rear Wheel (Size): 15 x 3″ Front Wheel (Size): 18 x 3″ Steering Stabilizer: N/A Rear Shock(s): Showa Clip-Ons or Bars: Tarozzi Seat: Moto Lanna Tank: Benelli Original NOS Rear Sets: Tarozzi Radiator: Stock Tires: Front 120/90-18, Rear 140/90-15 Exhaust: Jardine Paint: Custom by Kenny Chains
When the Yamaha Virago was released back in my high school days it was commonly referred to as a “girls bike”. This was primarily due to the fact that the 250cc version was the most common in my state. It’s cruiser styling also did nothing for its reputation as when it was released it was often looked upon as a try hard Harley clone, despite being a well made motorcycle with bulletproof reliability. The combination of these two things resulted in a lackluster response from myself and my mates. Because of the negative attitude towards the poor old Virago at a time in my life when peer group pressure was at its peak, I would never have considered purchasing one, let alone selecting one as a base for a custom Cafe Racer.