Export Quality: Classified Moto’s Yamaha XV920, v2.0

Yamaha Virago XV920
Two years ago, John Ryland finished his first customer build—a groundbreaking Yamaha XV920 that effectively launched Classified Moto onto the custom scene. The bike was a huge hit, and prompted a flood of requests from customers for similar builds.

One of those requests was from Biker’s Cafe in Dubai. “They wanted a replica to ride and display at the café,” says Ryland. “But the time allocated to the build was short, and we were in danger of missing the delivery deadline.” So Ryland asked Bob Ranew, owner of the original XV920, if he’d ship his bike (with upgrades) to Dubai and let Ryland build him a new one. Ranew agreed, and here’s the result.

Yamaha Virago XV920
“It seemed a shame to simply duplicate the original Yamaha Virago,” says Ryland, “so we began changing and refining things. Visually, the biggest difference is the color— we went for a ‘mostly metal’ look.” This time, Ryland stripped the frame and swing arm down and coated them with clear satin powder. The Benelli tank, a signature of the original bike, was stripped and nickel-plated, and a candy-black powder coat stripe was applied. (“In direct sun you can see a prismatic effect under the stripe. It’s subtle but cool.”)

Yamaha Virago XV920
Other upgrades include a fully custom stainless steel exhaust, a slightly longer seat, R6 foot controls, a Ballistic lithium ion battery, a DID Gold X-Ring chain, and a custom fabricated billet upper triple clamp.

“Overall the bike feels more refined,” says Ryland. “It’s still loud and rambunctious looking, but the fit and finish is better and we improved certain components. Last time, the starter gear upgrade (to remedy the notorious Virago grinding) took us weeks. This time my mechanic Greg Ownby finished it before I even knew he’d started. I like that kind of progress!”

Yamaha Virago XV920
Since the shoot, Ryland has added heated grips, more exhaust baffling and petcocks. The bike is currently running a stock XV920R rear adjustable shock, but will be upgraded to a Progressive Suspension setup once it has some miles on the clock. (“We used that on the bike we built for Katee Sackhoff and it was fantastic.”)

The Classified Moto crew have been working round the clock to keep all their projects on schedule, and the backlog is finally easing. “So we’ve decided to re-open the build queue briefly. And, fingers crossed, we’ll soon be moving into a bigger workshop.”

Yamaha Virago XV920
Ryland will soon be heading to Dubai to meet the crew at Biker’s Cafe and film a documentary about the bike culture there. And of course, he’ll take the original XV920 out for a spin again. “We owe a lot to that bike.”

Images by Adam Ewing.

Classified Moto XV920 v2.0 specification
Platform: 1982 Yamaha XV920R (chain drive)
Front end: 2008 Yamaha YZF R6-R forks, brakes and wheel with CM Triple Tree conversion and custom CM billet upper clamp and All Balls tapered bearings
Exhaust: Custom stainless with modified Moto Guzzi California muffler
Carburetion: Stock carbs, jetted for high-flow exhaust and pod filter
Tires: Dunlop D616 180/55-17 rear, Metzeler ME880 130/80-17 front
Swing arm: Heavily modified Yamaha 2007 YZF R6-S with stock YZF rear wheel, brakes and stock XV rear shock
Tank: Benelli Mojave, nickel plated
Frame: XV920R with modified subframe and bracketry, powder coated satin clear by Shaun Dusara
Battery: Ballistic lithium ion
Headlight: Bates style 5.75″
Gauge: Acewell
Seat: Custom made pan and foam shaped in house, upholstered by Roy Baird
Brake lines: Galfer stainless
Foot controls: Yamaha R6 with custom mounting plates.
Sprockets: 520 conversion with Renthal aluminum rear, JT front with custom spacer by Seth Ingham
Other: DID gold X-Ring 520 chain, stainless engine hardware, large cateye tailight from Dime City Cycles, Akrvpovic carbon fiber heat shield, heated grips

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