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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being without a bike for about 2 years, I decided to pick up an XV1100. I always had I4's, with the exception of my XS850 triple, but have wanted to give a twin a try. I wanted something with more grunt, where the power was usable, legally, on the street. The Virago 1100 has that, and I think they look really cool with a little work. I don't plan to go crazy with it, as I don't have the resources to do what Knifemaker and others have done to their XV's, but some modernizing and cleaning up I do plan to do.
I started with a '98 that was fitted with saddle bags / highway bars / back rest / skeleton hand mirrors / purple ghost flamed tank / and purple neon led glow kit from the previous owner.

It is actually a very clean bike, but I had to get rid of all that crap from it.

I've stripped a bunch of crap off, aside from the highway bars, but they'll be soon to follow. I'm just using the highway bars for jack stand points at the moment, since there is no bottom frame to lift the bike from. I've synced carbs, changed fluids, checked / adjusted valved, and fixed a small oil leak from the oil level sending unit. I've also picked up a few parts. Some have arrived and some I'm still waiting on.
I picked up a set of '91 / '92 GSXR 100 USD's off craigslist that needed fork seals as well as the upper triple clamp, axle, and axle pinch bolts. It wasn't until I got the upper triple in that I realized the lower triple that came with the forks were for '93-'98 forks. While the 91/92 USD's share the same lower fork tube size of 56mm, they don't share the same fork to steering stem offset. So, I had to buy a lower triple for the '91/92 forks. There is a lot of conflicting info out there on dimensions of the GSXR 1100 fork sizes too. For those seeking it in the future, GSXR 1100 USD's are not the same. Mainly, they both share 56mm lower fork tube diameters, but the upper fork tubes on the 91/92 are 52mm, whereas the 93-98 are 50mm. And, as I stated, the fork to steering stem offsets are different between the 91/92 and 93-98. Anyhow, I chose these forks due to their length being longer than just about every other USD fork out there, at a little over 30" long. The Virago doesn't have much ground clearance as it is, so coupled with shorter forks and a smaller diameter wheel over stock, I needed as long of a fork as I could get.
After getting all the associated fork parts, I changed the fork seals. I've never done forks seals before due to the supposed complexity of the job, but it really wasn't much of a deal. I watched a youtube vid and made a fork spring compressor out of some galvanized chain link fence post and a couple nuts and bolts, which worked perfectly. The cylinder portion is way longer than it needs to be, but it was just a section of pipe that I had and didn't feel the need to cut it.

I pulled the stock front end and mocked up the GSXR forks. The gsxr forks' steering stem was just under an inch too short. Fortunately, the steering stems from both bikes shared upper and lower steering stem bearings, so the stem swap was a direct fit. I just had to cut the XV stem out of the lower triple, then had the machine shop do the press work. I also had to ream out the upper triple for the steering stem to fit in.
For the front wheel, I wanted something that would closely match the Virago rear wheel. As I'm not doing any crazy chain conversion, the factory rear wheel is staying. It us a 5 spoke, so the gsxr1100 3 spoke front wheel wouldn't work. The closest affordable wheel would be newer r1/r6 5 spoke wheels. While their spokes have a slight twist, the are close enough for my liking, as they would mostly be concealed by brake rotors anyways. The issue with them is that they fit a 22mm axle and the gsxr1100 is 20mm. There are no conversion bearings to be had, but I was able to source some 20mm id x 22mm od flanged bushings.
Continued....
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I also used '07 R1 rotors, which are 310mm to match what the original gsxr1100's are. I'm using gsxr1100 calipers, so I wanted the same diameter rotors. Besides making up some wheel and caliper spacers, I need to lengthen the axle. The R6 wheel hub us offset to the right more than the left, so this causes the wheel's centerline to be off then the axle is threaded all the way into the fork. It only needs maybe 3/8" in length to be able to thread all the way into the fork, and would lokely be fine, but I don't feel comfortable with the axle not being tightend all the way in the fork threads, so I'll lengthen it.
I was able to get the front end on yesterday. It already looks much better.


I'm waiting on the gas tank to come in before I drill the upper triple for my bar clamps. I want to be sure of tank clearance before mounting the bars. There should be plenty of clearance though. I went with a benelli mojave tank. The options are pretty slim for tank fitment on these XVs, due to the high rise of the backbone / frame, but the Benelli tanks has been used many times before on others' builds.
Once I get the tank mounted, I can mount the zx6/9r clutch perch and master cylinder, which I'm throwing some ebay levers on. I'll be getting rid of the factory gauges and lights for some ebay specials.
More to follow when I have time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With 2 kids and working OT every day, I don't have much time during the week to work on the bike, so progress is slow.
I was able to get some things done on it over the past couple weeks. I've been waiting for my tank to arrive, but I was messaged by the seller that he had a family issue, so the shipping would be delayed. So, I worked more on the front end. I made some aluminum wheel spacers and got the front wheel centered. Also spaced the calipers with some washers and got longer mount bolts for them.
I also stripped out the air injection system which was part of the left side "bug eye" pod on the left side of the bike and included hoses that went to couplers on the head at the exhaust header.

I had to make some plugs to fill the hole in the couplers so exhaust wouldn't leak out. They're just temporarily capped until I can figure a more permanent solution.

The right side "bug eye", which is the air filter, is getting tossed too. I'm replacing it with a much smaller / lower profile air filter from Norton / BSA.

I'm debating whether or not I'll paint the chrome after I install it. I've got to find a way to couple it to the air box / main frame first.

I also removed the main tank and the reserve tank. The Virago 1100 uses a secondary tank beside the battery to serve as a reserve. The whole fuel system flows gas from the main tank down into the reserve, where a fuel pump pumps fuel back up to the carbs. I wanted to simplify things, so I stripped out the main tank, reserve tank and fuel pump. The Benelli tank I'll be using uses 10mm x 1 NPT threaded outlets on both sides of the tank for the petcock connection, unlike the more common design that uses 2 bolts to mount the petcock to the tank. I didn't want to use petcocks due to the possibility of forgetting to turn them of, so I'm going with a different idea I read about. The NPT tank outlets will allow me to use banjo bolts and banjo fuel fittings at each tank outlet, which I will run fuel lines from into an electrically actuated fuel valve.

I'll tee both lines into it, then another tee after to route into both carbs. It will be controlled by keyed power. It's a "normally closed" type, with viton seals rated for gasoline, that will open up when I turn the key on and shut off when ignition is off.

I also decided to go ahead and drill the top triple and mount the handlebar clamps (stock Virago clamps) to it. I used some metal filler in the underside of the triple to help spread the load. I installed the superbike bars as well. I got my ebay levers in too for the zx6/9r perches. Also mounted up the aluminum brake reservoir.




I also got my gauge in. It's a China special I thought looked pretty sleek that has speedo/tach/indicator lamps/etc. all in one. The tach is analog and the rest digital.


My only issue so far is I'm worried the face will be too dark to see. I just hope the backlighting will make the difference in visibility once installed.

I also removed the highway bars. I'll be having a bunch of stock / aftermarket Virago stuff for sale after a while. Still lots to do yet. I'm mainly waiting on the tank, so I can get it mounted to figure out the seat, then the tail end/tail light...then exhaust, wiring, paint, etc.
Last pic, as it sits now
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Shiny. The build will be slow..tons still to do. I'm really trying to get rid of all the chrome. Still unsure of what do do on the exhaust. I'd like to do a 2 into 1, but I may just use the stock header and remove the stock mufflers and do 2 baffled slash cuts on each end..we'll see.

The fuel vavles is normally "off"..it opens up with 12v. I figured I'd trigger it by the ignition switch. I found the company thru google while looking at my options https://www.ussolid.com/1-valve.html?cat=23 They've got all different sizes and an option for stainless as well. I ended up getting it via ebay. It was pretty cheap at like $13 shipped. I've never seen it used before on a bike in lieu of petcocks, though I'm sure it's been done before. I read someone mention the idea on ViragoTech and figured I'd give it a try. It doesn't come with the fuel barbs..got those seperate.. 1/4 npt x 1/4" fuel hose barb end. I've got 6mm fuel lines, but they fit fine.
 

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Nice to seen another virago build. Looks like a good start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice to seen another virago build. Looks like a good start!
Thanks..I was checking yours out..what a great transformation you've done. I tell ya..a year ago I wouldn't have given much thought to an XV..but they've totally grown on me and can really be made to look so cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just trashed one of these gauges. Couldnt get tachometer working on Bandit - but yes it looked good :)
Well that's disheartening. It's such a clean looking gauge..I sure hope it'll work out. So you couldn't get the tach to respond at all? Or was it inaccurate? I've had a China gauge in the past..I had issues with the speedometer stop reading after a certain speed..but the tach worked. It doesn't really help though that this tach doesn't have any wiring instructions. When u had the gauge..how was the backlighting on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well that's 2 reviews out of 2 that report a bad tach..not looking good. This is the problem with China purchases...communication/translation is bad for support questions and shipping for returns wouldn't be worth it. Oh well...I did find some minimal wiring and setup instructions on the ebay ad..hopefully they'll be of some use. I've got a ways to go before installing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After waiting over 2 months for my tank from India, it finally arrived. Despite the wait, it's hard to beat for 160 shipped. I've got it mocked up right now. The front will go a little lower. I can get it down maybe 1/2" more after removing the factory front tank mount posts, so it should be close to level. I don't want to raise the rear any higher, as it is really higher than I want it to be as it is.


A couple things I'm considering right now. First, I wanted to keep the subframe as is as I like the low seating position and look. If I do keep it, I will build up the seat pretty high, the sort of curve up the front end of the seat to meet the rear end of the tank. Or, completely redo the subframe and run steel tubing from the main frame straight back with the level of the bottom of the tank. Then run straight down tubes from the sub frame area near the shock mounts down to the swingarm pivot point of the main frame. This will get rid of the weird trapezoidal shape of the current subframe. This will also raise up the seating position considerably and give it more of a cafe racer or street tracker look, which I'm not necessarily trying to do.



Or this



Forgive my crude drawing..trying to draw it on my phone with my finger.

Second, I'm not sure I'm going to have enough fork to tank clearance at full steering lock. I don't want to move the tank back any farther. I might have to put some fork clearance dents in the tank. I've never done that before. Does anyone have any info on this procedure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I absolutely can do that..and am contemplating it..but I'm not sure I will have enough turn angle if I limit it before the forks foul. I'm going to check how much turn I get when I get home. Is there a recommended degree of turn for a motorcycle? I should have measured the angle of maximum turn with the original forks, but I didn't think about it. How far or little is too far or little for the degree of turn angle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I've done a few things over the past few months.

Picking up where I left off on this thread..I made a steering stop and bolted it to the lower triple



I mounted the air filter using the factory air box elbow and mounted the electric fuel shut off valve




Made some mounts for the headlight and mounted it



Made a collector pipe to get rid of the factory muffler / collector box thing



Mounted the the Lossa ss muffler



That pic jumps ahead in showing the tank mounted in its final position as well as my seat after I completed it. I ended up not liking the seat height so I pulled the vinyl back off and shaved a couple inches of foam off to allow a lower seating position..I'll have to upload a current pic later.

I cut the rear fender for the tail light mount




And mounted




I stripped the fenders of paint and chopped the front down..welded up the factory tail light mount holes in the rear fender and body filled it and the tank







Being that the tank was handmade...and I'm guessing in a hurry..it had like 4-5 pinholes along the seams that I had to weld up. I found them while I pressure tested it. I almost didn't pressure test it..but glad I did. Jmand just to make sure it was sealed up..I lined the tank with red kote. I wish I didn't have to line it at all..but it is what it is.

I painted the tins with specialist paints epoxy primer then their "yamaha vivid purplish blue cocktail"...yamaha r1/r6 blue.

Before clear






After clear







I got some orange peel unfortunately..but I ain't sweating it too much.

I did a bunch of wiring..shortening and lengthening every single wire where needed and relocated fuses to under the seat as they were originally inside the factory gauge housing.



I made a mount for the gauge



I didn't like it on top of the top triple and wasn't a huge fan of the speed holes..so I chopped it down and relocated it under the top triple



After reading how a couple other guys mention earlier that they couldn't get the tach to work on this gauge they had..I found numerous people online saying the same thing. After watching a bunch of youtube vids..I ran across a polish dude who got his to work using 100k .5 watt resistor and a 10nf 630v capacitor inline with the tach signal feed. I wired those up and it worked..miraculously..I tried seemingly every other trick. However..the tach needle would bounce..so I tried it without the resistor and now it works smooth as butter..really happy about that.

After the exhaust and intake changes, I rejetted to the next size up on the mains and pilots and left the pilot screws at factory 2.5 turns out and it cranks right up / idles / and pulls through the rpm's great. I've only been around the block a few times..so we'll see how it goes after a longer ride. I'm gonna pull the carbs tonight and replace the needle valve assembly just to make sure they don't leak any fuel into the crankcase as I'm now using a gravity feed fuel delivery system after having removed the factory secondary fuel tank and pump setup. Which reminds me...I ended up doing away with the electronic fuel valve. After running the bike maybe a total of 45 minutes in total..the fuel valve stopped opening up. It was getting real hot too. I'm thinking it isn't designed to be opened for extended periods of time..only momentarily. I attempted multiple times in getting some answers from the manufacturer about it..but they never returned my emails. So, I just installed a manual inline fuel cut off valve instead.
 

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Good idea going with the long forks, wish I would have done that from the get go on mine. The low profile of the front tire does look a little off compared to the high profile of the rear tire. Is there anyway to get a better matched front tire? I've found Pirelli Sport demon's to be one of few tires that have front and rear sizes that will fit. Those look reasonably well matched on the XV750. Great work on the paint!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks. I've got about 4 inches clearance to the bottom of the sump. It's closer than I'd like but I'm not too worried about it bottoming out. I'm very likely going to have to raise the foot pegs though..they would scrub on a hard lean with the factory forks and wheels on. I agree with the imbalance between front and rear tire sizes. It will help once the fender is mounted by adding some visual heft..but I'd like to do something about it. I've looked for a taller tire, but haven't really found anything with a bigger aspect ratio. I'll look into the pirellis.
 

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Man i'm wanting to get a virago now.... And they can be had for so cheap most the time


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
True. I picked mine up for 1700..which was an ok price considering the condition and mileage..but u can find plenty for cheaper if ur willing to do some more maintenance. I was wanting to get the original mono shocked rear models..it those are all mid 80's models before they switched to the dual shocker. And if u can find a chain driven model..snatched it up because those r rare.
 
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