Recycled Hawtness: 1981 Yamaha Virago Resto-mod Motorcycle


Yamaha XV920R Virago

The whole point of the “Recycled Hawtness” series is to play off the fact, often, that the greenest vehicle you can buy is the one that’s already built – and that a little elbow grease and welding can make something old into something wildly desirable that puts the “head-turning” factor of the new Lexii, BMWs, and Audis to shame.

The sexy street-beast you see here is a prime example of that, because it’s a gorgeous, aggressive, scene-stealing road missile ready to explain to that Ferrari driver in the next lane that he knows he didn’t buy that car for performance, and you know it, too.

Also, because it started out looking like this bone-stock, 1981 Yamaha XV920R Virago:

1982 Yamaha Virago

Nothing to write home about, in other words – but look at what the builders of this bike were able to do with good, working Virago. The suspension, wheels, and brakes are readily available Yamaha R6 sportbike bits that can be found at many local salvage yards. You can find the tank, light, and handlebars at salvage yards, as well.

The dash and instruments are all-digital, though, and the look is completed with a custom-formed exhaust system. Not a bad job for the bike’s builder, John Ryland, who have managed to make the most of leftover parts, up-cycling the bike and leaving the awkwardness of the factory original far, far behind.

According to the original article over at Ari Cox’ Sub5Zero style blog, Ryland has actually built two of these Yamaha Virago-based bikes – so maybe Singer will finally get some ongoing competition in the Recycled Hawtness business! We’ll see.


Sources | Photos: Classified Moto, via Sub5Zero.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • Jason Carpp

    I like bone stock. It’s as functional and practical as one can get. It’s also a good starting point for some retrofits one can do with a little imagination and some know-how.

    • I was starting to worry that the Elio people had gotten to you until I got to “… good starting point …”.

      For what it’s worth, I’m still riding my CX mostly stock. I can’t think of anything to do to it – it’s just, almost sorta perfect the way it is. You know, like most UJMs from the early 80s!

      • EdselFord

        Does it run on ethanol, you should run it on ethanol, ethanol would be good for your bike.

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