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 Post subject: Virago Project: Ugly Duckling
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:23 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:24 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Long Beach, CA
I got rid of my first bike this weekend... I've had my '79 CB650 for 2 years, and it's treated me well, but I bought it slightly modified, and I've been itching to get a solid running project that I can ride while I build it exactly how I want starting from stock.

So... this black bike isn't mine anymore:

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I've been keeping an open mind as I've looked at different old bikes, and thinking specifically about what frame/drivetrain layout can be built into something really interesting. I was thinking about '70s Gold Wings last year, with their boxer 4s, and I almost traded a couple different people for theirs, but with deals falling through it just seemed like it wasn't the right thing to do at the time, so I moved on.

Then I thought about CX500/GL500/GL650s, and how cool it would be to build a Moto Guzzi-style V-twin with a Honda-style budget and reliability. The one thing that kept bothering me was that radiator on the front of the motor (which the GL1000 also had), but I saw a CX500 built by a shop called Doc's Chops and it looked amazing.

Then I saw what other interesting builds he's done, and as you may or may not know he managed to build [what I would consider] Cafe Perfection out of an ugly old Virago. I started looking at the bike more closely and realized the drivetrain layout is really nice--I love how the V-twin hangs from the backbone like an old Vincent. Being shaft-driven is also a nice perk, which is something I was liking about the aforementioned Hondas as well.

So I kept my eyes open for both the Virago and GL650, put my bike on CL for cash or possible trade for either of those two bikes, and I worked out a deal this weekend to trade for an '82 Virago 920.

It's really ugly in the most '80s of ways, but I have plans for everything that sits along the top edge of the frame, so the look will change dramatically within the next several months.

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Fortunately, the framework that runs up to and around the seat isn't part of the main structure of the bike, so it won't take too much work to build up a seat frame that doesn't dive down into the rear wheel. Also nice--the rear monoshock is tucked up into the backbone nicely:

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