IF YOU ARE A KID IN THE PHILIPPINES fantasizing about superheroes and playing with Batman and Captain America toy bikes, what do you do when you grow up?
Exactly, you build yourself a dream on wheels.
That is precisely what 28-year old Kila Adame set out to do and we believe he has succeeded.
For nearly a decade the university student has been following developments in the custom scene. Early 2019 he was finally lured into the shed and set out on his fist building expedition.
He was inspired by a post of a bike with a V-twin engine and fell in love instantly. According to Kila Yamaha Viragos are not easy to come by in his country, but he managed to find the right donor vehicle for his plans, a 1983 Yamaha Virago.
The Virago is a reliable bike, but even when the cruiser models were in fashion we found this one of the more boring models. Every time a builder sets out to improve on what originally came out of the factory, we start smiling.
He toyed around with several ideas for a while and wanted to do something completely different. Being a fan of Medieval stuff and scaly leather (used for protection in these days) he decided this was going to be the basic idea to build from.
Fast forward a couple of centuries and you find yourself in the steam age. Combine the scaly leather and the elegant way in which those heavy steam engines were built et voilà! You find yourself in the realm of Steam Punk.
If you want to find a proper way to describe the fruit of our Manila friend’s mind, a Steam Punk caféracer is the closest you will get. There is a lot that meets the eye and you can spend quite some time admiring all the little details which were added to the build.
Besides the V-twin our builder was smitten by the monoshock of this bike. He states: “It gives a nice clean look to the rear end of the bike.” As the Yamaha was assembled in the early eighties, time and miles have had their impact on the condition of the motorcycle. There was some work to be don on the engine, but after replacing necessary parts he got it to run smooth as sushi again.
Working under the Medieval influence angle Kila choose to ‘leatherize’ the Japanese bike in such fashion any passing Samoerai would be drooling all over it. His view: “My idea is to made a Virago somewhat purely leatherized motorcycle, from leather seat up to leather tank armour, I wanted to showcase how leather and motorcycle perfectly combine in a café racer.”
The law student managed to work on a $ 3.850 budget which includes the bike and all material. Quite a feat we can state.
Most of the work was carried out by himself, but for some tasks he needed to call in external help. Fitting the ‘big fatty tires’ as he describes them, proved to be a challenge. But the cavalry came to the rescue and installed a set Triumph mags accommodating the rubber Kila wanted.
Working with leather is a specialist’s job too. His friends at Iron & Hide Custom were a great help when it came to creating the Steam Punk vibe. They cut and worked the leather to fit the Mojave styled gas tank, which goes very well with the overall design.
The bike is Kila’s pride and joy and he cruises around Manila with a permanent grin on his face for sure. Widening the grin even further is the way the overall leather design came out and the Steam Punk pipes. He is sure everyone will agree to that.
We find the bike refreshing in its uniqueness. It may not be up to everyone’s taste, but it looks very cool and it is definitely one of a kind, ensuring the rider will be easy to spot amongst the 1.7 million inhabitants of the Philippines capital.
In terms of riding the builder claims: “It rides cool not too comfortable like bobbers nor very aching like sports bikes. Since it is a virago, surely, you will feel that “cruise” you are looking for.”
If you make it to Manil
a and you see our friend cruising around, make sure to share a picture with us.
• 1983 Yamaha Virago 750
List of modifications
• Fabricated aluminium plate for swing arm
• Shifter conversion
• Fabricated pipes
• Front tire conversion
• Change of tank
• Change of seat