Extreme Makeover: the Yamaha Virago XV920

Yamaha Virago XV920 cafe racer
Are there any remaining doubts about the resurrection of the Yamaha Virago XV920? If so, this latest build from Greg Hageman of Hageman Cycles should eradicate them.

“My inspiration for this bike was an old DT360 my neighbor had when I was growing up,” Greg reveals. “I just wanted to build a bike that was comfortable to ride, and would go most anywhere—including dirt and gravel backroads, not just pavement.”

Yamaha Virago XV920 cafe racer
“I guess my recent designs are coming from growing up on the farm back in the 70s,” he says. “We all rode enduros, lots of DTs and XLs. During the weekdays you rode your bike around the farm to get the cows home for milking, and ran around out in the fields checking crops. Then when the weekend came, you washed it up, and headed into town. These bikes were versatile and made to get around—and that’s been my goal lately, multi-purpose bikes.”

Yamaha Virago XV920 cafe racer
This 1982 XV920 might be practical, especially as far as customs go, but it’s also powerful. The motor has been punched out to 1000cc, and Greg has fitted new Mikuni VM34 carbs, a Laser Duo-Tech mid-pipe and reverse cone mufflers. The bike is also packing a Yamaha XV1000 TR1 front end, progressive springs and an old-school XS650 fork brace.

Greg was part-way through the build last year when the bike was listed for the Ton-Up show at Sturgis, organized by Paul ‘The Vintagent‘ d’Orléans and Michael Lichter. So Greg dropped the front end two inches and installed Tarozzi clip-ons and 18” front, 17” rear wheels. The style was ‘aggressive café racer.’

Yamaha Virago XV920 cafe racer
Now that the show is done, he’s returned the machine to the state we see it here, closer to his original vision. He’s raised the back end, thrown on some alloy dirtbike bars, and bumped up the front wheel to 19”. The subframe is a bolt-on unit that Greg sells on eBay: “It allows you to mount just about any flat bottom seat you could imagine.”

The eye-catching paint comes from Moe Colors, kicking up the original green hue a notch and turning it into a candy effect before replicating the old DT side-stripes on the tank.

Yamaha Virago XV920 cafe racer
Yamaha is a fan of Greg’s work too, and he’s just finished building a Star Bolt for the company’s ‘Bolt Build Off’ competition. Head over to the Star Motorcycles Facebook page to see Greg’s vision for the Bolt—and compare it to nine other Bolts created by leading US custom builders. You’ll also find the Roland Sands and Chappell Customs machines we featured recently.

Images by Erick Runyon.