1988 Yamaha Virago Vintage Style Cafe Racer

Having finished my 1982 Yamaha Virago 920 “touring” build, I’ve decided to convert my 1988 Virago 750 into a cafe racer.

I’ve seen many Virago builds that use the same formula that Hageman made popular – flat cafe seat + Benelli fuel tank typically, and sometimes a frontend swap. There’s nothing wrong with these builds, I just like to have a more unique bike that’s mostly DIY rather than bolt on.


The build that looks closest to what I want is this Kawasaki Zephyr build by November Customs. The defining feature I’m going for is the monocoque style fairing, fuel tank, and seat.

This is the canvas I’m starting with. I’ve dropped the forks an inch or two, and installed clip on bars. I’ll need to shorten the brake lines with the closer bars. I’m planning on keeping the fender subframe as it actually lines up well with where I plan on building the seat.

The fuel tank I’ve picked out is from a 1972 Yamaha RD250 trail bike. It wraps around the frame better, giving a flatter profile.

For the fairing and seat, I’ll be using fiberglass to make it one solid part. I’m planning on using small metal wire along with foam or cardboard as the plug for the fiberglass.

For the electronics, I want to use as minimal a design as possible. I’ll be using an Arduino to consolidate the controls into just one or two buttons. I have some pretty interesting ideas for relocating turn signal controls to the feet, possibly as a toggle control with the heel.

I’m planning on keeping the aesthetic design going with the speedometer as well. I plan on having a top triple tree clamp machined, and embedding a small LED bargraph as a speedo. I’ve already done some mockups, as long as it can display well in sunlight I want to go this route.

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