Below is a complete list of modifications I have performed on my bike to date. If you have any questions or comments about them, feel free to email me.
The bike as I got it.
The bike as I got it.
When I bought my bike in the spring of 2000, there were already a few things done to it. The pipes are made by MAC. They are nice in that, when you start the bike, there is not too much noise, but when you want your presence known, just twist the throttle. The two engine side covers have been refinished with triple-plate chrome. I expect this plating will last a very long time. Finally, the foam handlebar grips are very comfortable, especially in the cold. They keep your hands insulated from the cold metal or plastic.
I've replated a few parts on my bike. Rear brake drum cover, grab rails and sissy bar. All of this was done at Gary's Custom Cycle.
The custom lighting products seen on my bike have been wired to a relay that I have mounted under the seat. The trigger signal for the relay is taken from the High Beam voltage wire found in the main headlamp assembly. The turn signals are manufactured by Arlen Ness. Mounting them took a little ingenuity. The rear lights are mounted right on to the grab rails using some standard mounting bolts and large fender washers. The front signal lights and light bar have been drilled so I could mount them into the ends of the bar, instead of having them hanging. Also, instead of the regular bulbs found in most turnsignals, I've put in some halogen, reflector lamps. These things were bought at my local hardware store for about $10.00 for a pair. If you were to look for these in a motorcycle shop, (12V 30W) they would be up around $30 each! It pays to shop around.
I've installed a K&N air filter (click on APPLICATIONS) and removed the emmisions control.
Removing the emissions control is a very easy operation and has improved my performance by a couple %. Since this is only a quick and dirty write up, I will provide pictures and more detailed instructions in the future (if somebody actually asks me to, that is).
I removed the left "Bug-Eye", pulled off all of the hoses and the small plastic device that was found in there. Then the hoses were removed from the two rubber intake manifolds, on the engine. The open nipples were then plugged using the spare plug found on the now useless rubber plumbing and a vacuum plug I purchased from Canadian Tire (Automotive section) for about $0.25. Use one of the clamps on the useless hoses to secure it in place.
Why did I perform this procedure? Well, my bike backfires a LOT. Only on decelleration though. I wanted to try an experiment in pulling off this emissions control stuff. I was very pleased with the results. My backfiring didn't get any better, but I have quite a bit more power! As for the backfiring, I'm going to try replacing the Copper Gaskets on my exhaust pipes. Backfiring is often caused by an exhaust leak. In the future I plan on drilling out my pilot valve and then adding a larger main jet to each carburetor. Finally, I'll be removing the works and then switching to KJS's single Carburetor conversion kit and then adding on a Kuryakyn Hyper Charger.
This is a project I'm very proud of. I created my very own set of forward controls. Part numbers, plans and instructions are available, FREE!
I had my stock seat pulled apart and the foam moved around to offer a more comfortable seating position. Foam was removed from the bum area and moved up closer to the tank, so as to tilt the rider back a bit. In the future I plan on changing to an aftermarket seat. I'm not sure which one to go with yet, I like the Corbin style, but I hate their tags. I don't like tags and emblems. Have you ever taken a close look at a Junior Motorcycle? It's a company out of Montréal. They have their emblem on EVERYTHING! I hate it! Nice bikes, sure and their paint jobs are exquisite, but I hate their flagrant self-promotion.
The stock Virago tank offers about 13 liters (3.5 gal.) of storage. This gave my bike a range of around 160km (100 miles) around town and approx. 200km (120 miles) on the highway. With the addition of my 20 liter (5 gal.) tank I've not only increased my driving range, but also added to the looks of the bike. The bike now has a range of 310 KM (193 Miles), BEFORE going on reserve! The larger fuel tank is manufactured by Highway Hawk It comes new, unpainted and requires a vented Harley Davidson fuel cap. It also needs a fuel sender unit, that can either come from your old tank or you can buy a new one from Yamaha for around $150.00
I have changed my handle bars, switches, clutch and master cylinder setup. I'm went with a set of "Twin Down Tube Drag Bars". These things are 1 1/4 in diameter and have holes drilled to allow for the wiring to be run inside them. The main mounting areas are 1" which posed a problem for me as the typical Virago has a set of 7/8" bars. I needed to drill out the mounts on the Clutch Lever Assembly and the Master Cylinder. The Master Cylinder had to be further modified by grinding down the inside edge to accommodate the handle bars change from 1" to 1 1/4". The stock switches were a total loss, so I had to go with a set of Harley switches. That's one of the good things about Harley Davidson. There are so many parts available and all offered by aftermarket companies that save you money. Stock Japanese parts are priced through the roof!
My new bars accept a mounting bolt of 1/2" but the mounting holes on the Virago's triple tree is 10mm. My local machine shop made me some custom mounts. I tried to buy some pre-made mounts, but there were none available.
I've got a bit on information on the wiring that had to be done too. But up 'till now, I've been too lazy to write something about it. If you email me, that would serve as a good "kick in the butt" and urge me to finish what I started.
In an effort to try to solve my backfiring problem, I wanted to replace the copper gaskets sitting between the exhaust manifold and the pipe flange. Imagine my disappointment when, in removing my front pipe, the hanger fell right off. I guess it just got fatigued from the vibration of the engine. Anyway, it was a good excuse to get new pipes.