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The Yamaha Virago is a very popular base bike for a cafe racer project. The creator of this bike, David Bailey, not only wanted a “head turner” but also a bike which can be ridden daily. He found a XV920 in poor state and took it under his wings. He completely build this bike with is own hands, which took him a year. The result is great!

Modifications on Davids Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom:

  • 2001 Yamaha R1 Front
  • Spoked rear wheel
  • Custom subframe and fender less rear
  • Biltwell solo seat
  • Tarozzi rearsets
  • XV750 gas tank with gravity feed petcocks
  • Mikuni VM34 carbs
  • Double headlights
  • Bar end indicators
  • Antigravity battery
  • 1985 XV1000 engine
  • No rear mirror but something cooler: a rear view camera!

Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom 2

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Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom 8

Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom 9

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Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom 12

Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom 13

By Published On: October 23, 2015Categories: Cafe Racer26 Comments on Yamaha XV920 Virago Custom by David BaileyTags: , , 1.3 min readViews: 1244

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About the Author: Ron Betist

Ron Betist grew up with motorcycles with a father heading the Amsterdam motorcycle police force. He has been riding (legally) for over 40 years and motorcycles are his true passion. With a life-long career in marketing and sales he has a huge international network. He joined as a contributor at BikeBrewers in 2017 to spread his word about bikes with the rest of the world.


  1. Bobak November 16, 2015 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Where did you get that seat mount? I have bought a Biltwell solo seat, and I want to mount it like this.

    • Joeri November 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Bobak,

      It’s a custom, welded mount. Maybe you know someone that can make this for you? It shouldn’t be too hard for an experienced welder. This gives you also the opportunity to lower it a bit, because this bike from David Bailey has a bit of a high mount.

      Good luck!

      PS. send me some footage of you’re bike when it’s ready!

      • Bobak November 16, 2015 at 6:42 pm - Reply

        Yeah I know someone. That shouldn’t be an issue. Thanks for the speedy reply!

        I will send you guys some pics of the semi finished build once it put together. It won’t have paint and all the bells an whistles for another 7 months, but it will look great.

        • Joeri November 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

          Great, I’ll look forward to it!

          Keep on the good work!

    • Pete Delboverlando June 22, 2021 at 5:25 am - Reply

      David Bailey your bike is what inspired me to build I’m currently working on a 82 XV 750 but the motor is a 88 I think , LoL what did you use to block off The breathers by the exhaust I would really like to be able to communicate with you my bike is close to being done I have everything about ready no paint on the tank yet and I’m going to start on my wiring harness tomorrow. I’m not good with this posting and all the tech stuff I’m putting my email here so any help with this build would be greatly appreciated thank you respectfully PETE Delboverlando

  2. Bobak November 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    I just attempted to attach my 06-07 Yamaha R6 front forks to my 81 xv920, and I ran into a problem. Was there any customization needed on your build to properly attach them?

    The Steering stem (spindle) looks to be too big for the frame. The YZ spindle is a bit too fat for the XV’s frame & the bearing races. Do you have a reference of anyone using this front end on this frame & what they had to do to make it work?

    • Chris T. November 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      Hey, I also did a R6 front swap… The stem does need to be replaced. I went through Cognito Moto, check them out. They are relatively priced, $120 and completely worth it. Great customer service!

  3. Parker February 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Hey questions on electrical… I have a 920 cafe that I’m working on, battery did you use 8cell, 12cell? And does routing it to the bottom ever give you any scraping problems?

    • Joeri February 4, 2016 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Parker, this bike has a 12cell, but an 8cell will also do the trick to power up the big v-twin. Especially for occasional use. The 12cell has some more “reserve” and is more suitable for daily use.

      Let us know when you’re ready and send us some pics!

    • David Bailey February 13, 2016 at 1:12 am - Reply

      (David Bailey) Hi Parker. It is a 12 cell battery. I removed the center stand and fabricated a battery mount.There are absolutely no issues with scraping because the bottom of the engine is 1/8 inch lower than the battery. I had to do a complete wiring job from front to back and I used a part of an 85 XV1000 harness.

  4. Vince Rosati February 24, 2016 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Hey! awesome build, i am building an 83 xv920 in a similar style, but i have a few questions,
    Is that a MAC 2 into 2 exhaust ?
    and what kind of speedo is that ?
    Thanks :)

    • David Bailey February 26, 2016 at 3:25 am - Reply

      Thanks Vince! Yes, it’s a Mac 2 into 2 exhaust. It was chrome when I bought it(I hate chrome), so I had it stripped and painted flat black. I also cut about 4 inches off each one to increase the pitch. The speedo is a Koso digital.

  5. paolo94 April 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    where did you get the spoked rear wheel? I can’t find one that fits on my XV920

    • David Bailey April 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      There is only one spoke wheel that will fit the rear without modification, 1984-85 XV700 Virago. They are almost impossible to find…but I got lucky. I recently installed a spoke wheel for the 2001 Yamaha r1 front end so now I’m rolling with front and rear spokes, but I’m not revealing info on that right now. I’ll see if Bike Brewers can update the pictures in the next few weeks. Hope that helps.


      • Joeri April 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm - Reply

        Hi David,

        Great! A laced front wheel is the finishing touch I guess! Send me the pictures when you’re ready so I can update the post!


  6. Jake Guebara June 11, 2016 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Hello there, I was wondering what you had to do to run those mikuni vm’s?

    • David June 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Jake.

      I really wish I had a short answer for you, but I don’t. No matter what carbs you use, depending on the bike, you have to make the proper adjustments. In my case, I used the stock carb mounts and fabricated my own adapters. My xv1000 engine required vacuum timing advance which is why I used stock mounts.

  7. Olivier February 6, 2017 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Do you know what offset you set for the xv700 rear wheel spoke setup?

    • February 8, 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

      Oliver, try to get a 1984-85 xv700 spoke wheel. It fits directly on the xv920 without having to alter anything. I couldn’t tell you how it fits on the early xv750s.

  8. James February 15, 2017 at 12:09 am - Reply

    David Bailey, I think your bike is awesome! I’m in the process of building one. I need to know what year make and model did the rear spoke wheel come off of? Thanks!

  9. James February 15, 2017 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Nevermind..da!! If I would have kept reading I would have seen that it’s a XV700! I got now! Thanks though!

  10. James February 15, 2017 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I have an 82 750. Do you think the 84-85 700 wheel will work on mine?

    • February 15, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the compliment James. You might want to check the rear swing arm because it might be slightly offset compared to the vx920. I’m not as familiar with the xv750.

  11. kk February 16, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Are tires of 150/90/15 attached without machining?
    Does not it interfere with the drive shaft?

  12. matthew November 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    love the build and am curious what rear camera set up you used. im in the market for a camera/monitor but cannot find a small clean monitor that ive liked

  13. Kelvin Quaye July 13, 2018 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Hey do you have a link for your rear sets set up. I like that it is close to or at the original position. I have been looking for something similar.

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