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Cafe racer rant

The area for the Yamaha Virago DIY enthusiast.

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faffi
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:55 am
Location: Norge
What Virago you Own: 1982 XV750 with XV1100 engine, Seca rear wheel, XT600Z shock, Seca 650 fuel tank

Cafe racer rant

Post by faffi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:44 am

This is something that bothers me. Not to the point of eating me from the inside, but enough to make me shake my head and ask "why did they do that?" every time I see one. And by one I mean a Virago cafe racer with a modern front end with a stock rear wheel. Especially the Gen I variant - Gen II at least have a five spoke design.

Other than the visual aspect of the spokes, there are technical reasons why matching a stock rear wheel with a 3.50x17 front wheel. One is the diameter, 16in for the Gen I and 15in for the Gen II, neither of which sporty rubber is made. Another, and much worse, is that the rim width for both Gen I and II rear wheels is only 3.00in! These builds are similar to running 6x15in rear wheels on oversize diagonal tires on the rear of your old American muscle car, along with 7x17in front wheels carrying narrower tires. Not good for anything, but at least it looks wrong :roll:

So what are the options? You can find them here viewtopic.php?f=55&t=2185
But to quickly summerise, you can - if you do not want to alter your brake system or offset - fit a rear wheel off a 1985/86 XJ700 Maxim to your Gen I. This has 5 straight spokes. It will not bring any technological benefits, but it will give you the same visual upgrade and match that of a Gen II using a stock rear wheel.

For me, though, the only solution worth bothering with would be to go with the 4.00x17in rear wheel off an XJ900 Diversion or a 5.00x17 rear wheel off a BT1100 Bulldog. Or, if cost is not an issue, you could go with wire wheels. Either way, you can now run modern radials both front and rear. Together with a good rear shock absorber, and proper setup of the front end, you should end up with a bike that does not just look sporty, but that actually perform like a cafe racer. At least as long as it isn't slammed to the ground.

Rant over.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a motorcycle.

User avatar
faffi
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:55 am
Location: Norge
What Virago you Own: 1982 XV750 with XV1100 engine, Seca rear wheel, XT600Z shock, Seca 650 fuel tank

Re: Cafe racer rant

Post by faffi » Wed Jun 22, 2022 6:58 am

For those who want to see what it looks like with the Diversion rear wheel, they can check out Chiefpep's facebook page. He also has a youtube channel. https://www.facebook.com/Chiefpep/

Image
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a motorcycle.

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