Saturday, May 21, 2011

Virago mods: seat has arrived

I purchased a seat off eBay this week. It's new, from a Triumph Scrambler. I placed it on the bike today to get a picture of how it will look.

Here is the bike as it came to me:

Here it is with the seat in place. It's quite a different bike! You can see I will need to build some supportive frame under the seat and do something about side-covers to hide the consequent mess. I will also need to raise the rear of the fuel tank to make it horizontal.

Last Thursday my friend Marlon came by and we pulled the float bowls off the carbs, sprayed carb cleaner around, and boiled the jets. The pilot jet was completely clogged with rubbish. You can see some of the muck that was sitting in the bowls:

We didn't touch the needle jets so that is next on the list, along with replacing the diaphragms. The tappets also need doing, and the carbs want balancing. But the bike's behaviour improved by at least a third - it accelerates much more smoothly, and feels better when cruising. Hopefully by taking care of these other matters the bike will run very well.

I am still deciding whether to replace the dual fuel-tank and its electronic pump with a bigger gravity fed tank as per most older bikes.   I will be sorely tempted to chuck the carbs and purchase a single VM34 Carb, and have somebody make a manifold for it to bolt into the new carb boots.  That is a standard design on, for instance, Harleys and Virago 250s. People who've done this report that the bike becomes more torquey, which sound good to me even if though it becomes less revvy up top.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


'Dreamstuff' was the word that came to me right on dusk as I swept fast through the corners past Packapunyal, then into the hills above Tooborac, hunched '70s racer-style in a cocoon in my old-fashioned motorcycle clothes - sheepskin and leather, flannelette and wool - which protected me from the bitterly cold air swirling all around. In this state I entered some kind of 'zone' - the road felt abstract. Perhaps it was that in my mind I had Cream's White Room on repeat, more likely it was the strangeness of being so exposed yet so protected from the cold. Where normally I would slow for fear of night-time animals, tonight I opened it up, the single big piston making thunder through the exhaust. And me floating along with it but from above, or to the side, in a zone, on a trip.

That was how the day ended. Earlier I wove through an old road by streams and rocks, all alone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brian's ride

I've been internet-chatting with a fellow local to me after seeing a photo of his wild ride!

This is Brian some years ago. Dynamite?

"My back rested against the seat all the time, I used to screw the twistgrip nut up and I would travel for miles sitting
Back against the seat with my arms folded and just enjoyed the ride, Look Mum, no hands, Hahahahaha"

Brian wrote: "A chopper is 2 wheels, Motor, Tank, seat, lights and very little else, But it must handle,"

Sums it up perfectly!

Virago mods: seat

I've been experimenting with the seat design for my Virago. You can see in my previous post that I have raised the riders seat by increasing the foam. The cover is simply taped in place while I experiment with what I want. And now I have decided. On last week's ride I really felt the need to be able to slide forward and backward to any point on the seat I want, which means I need a bench seat. The added bonus is that it gives the bike a more Brit-bike look, which actually suits my taste. 

Tonight after work I took the seat from the SR500 to see what one would look like on the Virago. See below. I will custom-make a seat so that it is longer and much flatter. Its base will be metal and strengthened so as to sit on the bike without frame supports under it.

These photos are not very good due to the light, but they give an indication.

I will remove the side panels and have flat sheet metal panels made that meet the seat and hide the messiness of the flat seat on a curved frame.

Here is an indication of the angle the seat needs to be on.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Short ride to King Lake

I decided to take the Virago on a short ride. It is not running right so until that is sorted I won't go very far, for fear of damaging the engine. I rode the 50km up to King Lake. It was cold but dry, and at the summit I met two other riders and we sat together and chatted, with one of them afterwards joining me for the journey back down the mountain.