Just like the Honda CB or BMW airheads, the Yamaha Virago is one of the most popular base bikes for custom projects. And yes, it has been done over and over again. Some good, some bad, some terrible. And when a bike design is being consolidated, it gets harder and harder to stand out. Some bikes simply stand out by design, other bikes have something that isn’t so clear to point out. The latter works for this machine built by Bal Deo, a photographer from Vancouver, Canada. If you have a photographic memory and take a quick look, it’s easy to put this bike in the line of the Virago that was built by Moto Adonis. But it also has some similarities with the XV920 by Ugly Motors. Nevertheless, a cool machine that deserved a spot right here. Words by the builder:
Due to some medical issue and going through a rough patch, it was hard not to feel depressed. By profession, by trade, I’m a photographer with microelectronics and some mechanical engineering background. Always loved bikes and surfing the web came across a couple of bike sites that had a wonderful piece of art in term of the builds. There’s nothing more inspiring than look at beautiful art in any form and shape. Hence my journey begins with finding a donor bike. So the most popular for cafe were BMW, Honda, and Yamaha Virago. It happens that while traveling the beautiful countryside of Canada BC, I came across a true “barn find” with 20K on the clock. So my donor bike was a 1982 Yamaha Virgo 750.
I wanted to the bike to look dominant yet pleasing and simple to the eyes. Having a comfortable ride factor was a priority. The main challenge was to keep the build costs down by using the original components much as possible, however, it should be hard for people to recognize the bike as a Virago.
The wiring was completely removed, besides the stator and regulator wires, The electronics were based on the motogadget M-Unit and M-button. You simply can’t buy better, the guys at Rivival Cycles were wonderful in support, considering this being my first build. The frame was sandblasted, cleaned and powder coated, The rear subframe was completely removed and a simple seat pan was fabricated and the frame modified by my friend Jeff (the welder), who’s great in understanding your vision. Initially, we considered moving the battery box underneath the bike and go with a smaller lighter lithium, anyone who knows a virago and their famous starters, for the first version we stayed with a modified stock battery box. The wheels are stock Yamaha virago Rims, however, the tire size was beefed up by using Bridgestone – Exedra MAX 140/90-15 for rear and 120/90-17 for the front.
The top end was completely rebuilt, including new seals, oil filter, adjust valves, and new matte black paint with fins cleaned up to give the lines perspective Aftermarket stainless steel exhaust to give a, even more, simpler clean look. The front end comes from a 2001 R6 with a 2007 R1 fork with a modified stem. We had two padding size for the seat, one comfortable ride, the other “it’s all about the looks”. Unfortunately, at the time of taking the pictures, the “look” seat was borrowed by a friend for his build. The upper shock mount was welded into the frame with very little effort, as we measured, drew up the plan and measured again, and again…
You simply can’t go wrong with careful planning. I had a pretty good handle on from my engineering days.
The overall ride is just wonderful. I’m 6’1″ and find the seat to be little higher, this may be fixed as I would like the front to be lowered by another inch or so. This is pretty simple by moving the clip ons to the topside of the stem, which would give a more comfortable ride.