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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So this is a little pre emptive, but I am starting this bad boy for my next build, after Uglier Betty. Getting the bike for free from a friend, and needless to say, it desperately needs some love as it was beat with an ugly stick. Lol, bad part is that I beat it. I had done some work, NOT TO MY TASTE, for a my friend. Long story short, it has sat for like 3 years with out ever being ridden, and now I'm gonna fucking turn it's world upside down.

Starting with a 1983 Virago shaftie 920. It's getting the Cafe treatment. Never built a cafe before, so well see where this goes.

In keeping with tradition for anyone who has seen my builds, I have absolutely no plan, and will likely jump all the fuck around and end up with who knows what.
Ideas that are floating around in my head are: either gold USD front, or Rear tire conversion on stock forks. No fenders, clip ons under top tripple, big round headlight (have one from a buell I might use), new sub frame, small seat with a tiny bump/round tail, Single flatslide carb to feed both cyls, rear sets basically where the passenger pegs are, custom exhaust, convert the starter system to the new style that doesn't sound quite so much like gravel in a blender, and who knows what other shit I'll come up with.



The build will start whenever my lift is empty of Uglier Betty....or not.




EDIT: not this bike, but this is what it looked like before I changed it up for my buddy.












And for those who don't know, this is what "cycom" looked like, biggest POS ever honestly.





Here's the only pictures I have of it right now.














 

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Isn't as dumb as he seems
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549 Posts
Are you naming this one Ugliest Betty, haha?
I like Viragos a lot... The V-twin has lots of potential for cafe builds.
I think gold USDs would look nice on it. Gold or black.
Spoked wheels would look badass, too. Just a thought.

Please tell me the tiny headlight will be the first thing to go though, lol.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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3,516 Posts
Before the XJ fell in my lap, I was looking to get a virago 920 for a Hossack build. Would still love to try it; full custom frame, use the engine to directly mount the front control arms on, John Britten style.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Are you naming this one Ugliest Betty, haha?
I like Viragos a lot... The V-twin has lots of potential for cafe builds.
I think gold USDs would look nice on it. Gold or black.
Spoked wheels would look badass, too. Just a thought.

Please tell me the tiny headlight will be the first thing to go though, lol.


Not one for reading, huh?:oops: lol

That head light is actually EXACTLY the same one as is on UB. I would love to go with gold forks, I do have a set of USD blue gixxers that I could use, but all I have is the fork tubes, nothing else. Everything else went on UB. Going with a big round bobber/cafe style light. I fucking LOVE spokes, but only if they were cheap or fell in my lap. I think there's a few years of Yammys that I could steal spokers from, but I'll have to research that when time comes.


This guy is a "hiding it at the shop so the wife doesn't know about it" kinda build. She knobs about UB, but maybe not how much I actually paid for the parts...

In keeping with tradition for anyone who has seen my builds, I have absolutely no plan, and will likely jump all the fuck around and end up with who knows what.
Ideas that are floating around in my head are: either gold USD front, or Rear tire conversion on stock forks. No fenders, clip ons under top tripple, big round headlight (have one from a buell I might use), new sub frame, small seat with a tiny bump/round tail, Single flatslide carb to feed both cyls, rear sets basically where the passenger pegs are, custom exhaust, convert the starter system to the new style that doesn't sound quite so much like gravel in a blender, and who knows what other shit I'll come up with.




Before the XJ fell in my lap, I was looking to get a virago 920 for a Hossack build. Would still love to try it; full custom frame, use the engine to directly mount the front control arms on, John Britten style.

I'd love to make a custom frame, but this guy is a low key build. Saving some pennies after this for a full on rigid frame bobber. No seat springs nothin, we're talking kidney killer build.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Well, I was GONNA pick it up last sat, but Friday my tranny decided to die in my truck. Gonna try again next weekend, have to work this weekend.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Managed to pick up the bike today. Def needs some love. No start. Bad bat, pin holes in tank leaking, Front calipers were seized.













Man do I hate these bars.









Got this box of old parts, not that I think anything is going back on it.





And this box of parts. It's almost everything I need to convert to the newer starter system, so it might start instead of sounding like rocks in a blender.

 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Those are some stranger bars. Clip-on mini apes? The Japanese did some weird things in this era.lol.
The Japanese still do weird things
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Got a lil bit of work done on her.

First thing I did was to see why the brakes were stuck. Master still works good. It was just some surface rust on the pistons. I took em all apart, cleaned out the little white spider webs balls (you all know them!) and just took some WD and emery to the rust, lube it all up and put it back together and bled. Working again.


After checking her out, the ignition went bad, so I popped in a spare one I had from a Zamboni 520. (yeah, who else has Zam parts on their build?) lol



For those unfamiliar with the sound of a original 81-83 Virago starter, Think of the sound your bike makes when you are standing still, rev the engine up a bunch and then SLOWLY start to depress the shifter without pulling in the clutch. That's basically what this bike sounds like stock. All of 'em. Yep. 84-? was a much better design, and then after that gen it was redesigned again. Don't know why they couldn't get a starter system right, but they definately fell real short.


So, knowing I had everything I needed sans a small cover and two bolts, I popped the side cover off and converted all the goodies to the newer starter system, oiled it up and no dice. BETTER, don't get me wrong. It doesn't sound like a bag of rocks any more, but the starter is just spinning, not turning anything. Took it all back apart, and it turns out the starter clutch is bad. Looks like a non OEM one is about 60 bucks. That, and a carb clean out and bat should have thing thing running.
 

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I bang metal
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2,779 Posts
that thing looks pretty clean from the outside. I hope its a good base for you :)

the virago starters that have problems sound like marbles knocking around in a box, just thinking of that sound still makes me cringe. From what i understand its because they tried so hard to copy harley davidson and didnt get it quite right, you have to keep in mind that this was the first jap vtwin and it was aimed right at harley (who got a tariff passed to try and keep people away from japanese bikes). Luckily since this problem has been around for so long people have found a fix that actually works.

You may feel unlucky with the adjustable bars, but thank your lucky stars you didnt get a cycom.

you probably did a bunch of research already, but look into upgrading the ignition with a supercoil (the most documented conversion) or other suitable coil.

Cant wait to see where you take this, wish i could have finished the viragos i had. Good luck!
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You may feel unlucky with the adjustable bars, but thank your lucky stars you didnt get a cycom.

you probably did a bunch of research already, but look into upgrading the ignition with a supercoil (the most documented conversion) or other suitable coil.

Cant wait to see where you take this, wish i could have finished the viragos i had. Good luck!
Lol, It had cycom on it. I had built this bike how it is to suit my friend's taste like 3-4 years ago. It never went anywhere, just sat on the patio. Tires still have the paint lines on them.

I had gone through and did all sorts of stuff, Change blinkers, tail light, head light, get rid of fucking cycom (what a piece of shit that thing was), eventually I just made my own wiring harness, it was easier than fucking with that thing. Wired in some spare GSXR bar controls I had, relocated ignition and fuses, got rid of all 70 relays, Did tires, brakes, oils, the basics to make it a decent bike (when it would start).

Good call on the coils, I forgot all about that bad boy.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Got a new starter clutch in it and rode it around. Seems super rich. Cleaned the carbs and bench synched. Went to try again, won't run off the jumper pack. Looks like the rectifier died, it's putting out up to 17v. Got a used one on ebay for like 12 bucks shipped.

So in the mean time, I really got to thinking. I got this bike for free. I don't have any money, and if I get some, it goes toward Uglier betty so I can get her done. However, I can't deal with this barkalounger fucking sofa seat and these bars, so It's going to become a bobber for a while.


Got started scrounging up whatever I had laying around the shop. Got drag bars, a buell headlight, some cheap fork clamp mounts for the light I've had forever, one GSXR bar control, One Katana bar control, Master cyl from a Katana, bar risers from who knows what. Got started on that crap instead.





Stock POS shock




The huge hole where it lives. This will probably be the future home of a small battery.



This is how much I am thinking of lowering it.








I am going to build a solid bar to replace the shock to fuck around with what height I like before I do anything permanent, so I scrounged up some shit. Gonna use the adjusable end links for the tie rod ends so I can play with the height up and down.


 

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Is my bike ok?
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15,020 Posts
If you are getting 17volts DC then your rectifier is working. Its doing it's job to convert the ac voltage generated by the stator to DC voltage. The high voltage points to your regulator.

Not trying to sound rude, just don't wanna see you order a part you don't need.

Anyway, that's a fair amount of lowering. Will the forks be able to cope?

Edit: you're not on ancient shit. Modern bike probably has combo r&r unit. Nvmd.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Hmm, seems i did write rectifier. I mean regulator. Anyways, that IS what I bought.


In other world news, I think it's back to cafe. I got to really thinking about it, and for bobbers, my favorite part of a bobber is the hardtail triangle shape of the frame, and the minimalist part in the middle between the tire and engine. I know that the amount of work that that would take, though I could do it, would totally undo, build a cheap, quick build rider. I also would never be happy with it, with out doing all that, so it's not worth it.

So back to Cafe again! lol Looks like this build already has the same theme as UB, " I never know what the fuck I'm gonna do" I'm just gonna have to find a way to keep the cost down, and make it ridable.
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
WORLD OF DIFFERENCE with the 84+ starter system in it. Anyone who has ever started or been near a 81,82,83 virago knows what they sound like normally. Bike sounds like a normal bike now.

Regulator should be in today me thinks.

I'm debating on doing a rear wheel swap in the front (I have a set of matching swoops to this bike from a junker xs 550 I bough years ago). Garlic Sauce wants my front off that for his XS, so I may go that way. I'd love to get some spokers on this thing, but that gets expensive with a shaft, as I only know of one year that had shaft and spokes, and I believe it still needs spacers. So I was thinking about just doing a dual rear swoop wheel bike. Gotta find the adapter kit I saw somewhere online some time last year for just that purpose. I am reluctant to do that because I'd really like to keep the dual disks up front since this thing will be ridden like I stole it. Not sure what I'll end up with as of right now.



Had to buy some metal for a trailer project for work, so while I was there I bought some DOM tubing for a sub frame for a buck a pound. I believe I bough 1" 1/8" wall. Looks like I might actually get something done some time soon. I have a good idea of what I want to do as far as a sub frame, but I need to settle on a seat so I can incorporate the tank mounts into that as well.

I have a decent tank of some unknown year and make Yammy I bought for like 10 bucks at a swap meet 2 years ago and never used. I think it needs to be widened a touch, but the gas fill is the same, and the pet cock is in the right place.


Gotta find a shock that will swap out for this air ride hunk of shit. Air ride still works and shit, but I don't want the lines and knob anywhere. You can't just plug them, it needs SOME pressure in it other wise it's just the coil. Still working on finding something. For shits I played with a Katana 750 rear shock I have kicking around, but it's about 2" short. I also need one mount to be 90* to the other one, which I could modify easy enough, but I'm still looking to see if there's and easy swap out there first.


On a side note, any know know a good place to get random exhaust bends? Gotta change up the exhaust (leaks and shit).
 

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Oiler Boilereerer...er(s)
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1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Ok Minor stuff

Voltage regulator on the way. Maybe it will run lol

Ordered some misc goodies, but nothin to write home about.

Started planning out a sub frame, going cafe. Gonna actually commit to it. I wouldn't be happy with this frame as a bobber. Plan is to do a mild cafe conversion and ride it like that till my Kat is done, then this will under the knife for some major shit like USD and nice paint and what not. For now the gets cheap shit, what's lying around, and rattle cans.

Stage one goals:
1) make it run and stop
2) gas tank swap
3) custom subby, seat and tail
4) fix exhuast leaks
5) relocate bat under tail bubble
6) hide as many electronics as possible
7) aftermarket air filter into stock airbag hole in frame (just for looks really)
8) new headlight (big round guy)
9) different front master, perches, lever and bar controls
10) cheap rattle can paint all around
11) convert to new start system - DONE
12) different bar set up - DONE
13) small speedo, no idiot lights, just the very basics
14) remove center stand
15) different shock that does not have air pressure bullshit fill



Stage 2 ( after uglier betty is done)
1) relocate foot controls further back
2) custom linkage extensions
3) USD front end swap (probably like early 90's gixxer cause I have a bunch of that shit, and an extra set of forks)
4) some other bar set up to be determined based on the front end that gets used
5) Custom exhaust ( plan to meet the pipes on the side of the bike where the right foot control currently is)
6) a decent paint job
7) SS brake lines
8) SS clutch line
9) SS throttle lines
10) Flat slides (but keep TWO carbs, not convert to single)







Tank bubble is getting worse, so of course I poked it.








Swapped over for a tank I picked up for exactly 10 bucks like two years ago. I have no idea what it's off of though. I bought it because it was 10 bucks, and it was clean as fuck. Wasn't dented when I bought it, but shit happens man.

So first I tried the virago petcock, doesn't fit.





The I dug thought the parts bin and found a Kat 600 petcock. That fit nice. two outlets though, but since I've got two carbs, that's a pretty easy problem to solve.








This is one of the BIG reasons I bought this tank and why I'd like to use it.




This is the tank sitting about 1 1/2" above the old mount, which is totally different anyways so it doesn't matter much.



and here is roughly what I'm thinking.





Any and all input is always welcome.



AND please, if you can tell me what this tank is off of, please let me know. I need to buy a cap for it lol
 
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