Virago 250 Street – seating position and safety mods


The blog is about modifications to the Yamaha Virago 250 to give it more of a standard seating position and to improve its safety.  If you are interested, please check the other postings.

My basic plan/goals with my Virago 250 are:
1) Minimalist
2) Functional – not stylish
3) Lightweight/weight reduction
4) Low cost of ownership.

The Virago 250 is a lightweight cruiser – I am trying to change mine to be more like a street machine and keep it minimalist – I only add things that are really necessary and I remove what I can (have removed about 25 lbs).  One advantage of being minimalist and very selective about what you add to your bike is that you save money – you are not tempted to buy most accessories for your bike.  I have reduced my bike’s weight, but I could have done even better – if I would have added a different model fairing, I could have saved 3 pounds, and if I have gone to a smaller rear tire, instead of larger, I could have saved 5 pounds.  Because it is such a small bike, eight pounds less weight would have made a noticeable difference in acceleration.

  • Approximate weight – will vary by manufacturer:
  • 120/90-15   12.1 lbs
  • 130/90-15   14.6 lbs
  • 140/90-15   17.1 lbs

This picture shows the left footpeg moved back and the “Minimalist Virago” removed rear footpegs and 4 1/2 lbs of the muffler assembly removed

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Click on each picture to make larger. On some computers, you can make the picture even larger or smaller by moving the page up/down wheel on your mouse while holding the “Ctrl” key.

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MOVING THE PEGS BACK
When I first got my Virago 250, I found the cruiser seating position to be uncomfortable (I have a back problem).
On my other bike, the pegs are more under me so I can rise up out of the seat a little when I see a bump coming, which saves my back,
I raised the seat up on the Virago 250 two inches and moved the pegs back 12 inches.
It made a huge difference in the comfort.
Moving the left side back was not too hard to do (for the shift lever, get a 1981 Honda CM400 shifter – it’s almost perfect). The   right side was really difficult – I built/trashed two ideas before I finally got one that worked.

HANDLEBARS
My bike came with low bars which I really like – they are about 29 inches wide, 4 ½ inches pullback, and 2 inches rise.

If you drive in traffic, this light could save your life, and it fits the Virago 250 like a glove – easy replacement of existing reflector

SAFETY
Here is probably the brightest tailight/stoplight that you will find for $9.99 shipped (price varies).  It is much brighter than the stock unit and some competing lights.  You can mount it right above the stock tailight – remove the reflector and mount it using the reflector’s metal bracket.  Check ebay for “Red Double Stop Tail LED Light for Motorcycle”.   Seller is in Hong Kong.  Dimensions are 3.9 inches wide  x 2.1 inches high.  It has 18 LED’s and it has three wires that are about 8 inches or 21 centimeters long.  Like most motorcycles, the stock tailight/stoplight on the Virago 250 is not enough, and the bike needs additional lights to be seen by other drivers.

Best way to connect – Most motorcycles use 4mm (3.9 mm or .157 inch) bullet connectors for their electrical connections.  (http://www.vintageconnections.com in California has OEM style bullet connectors.)  A good way to connect this LED light is to make two Y connectors – one side is male to plug into the factory connector, the other side is double female, one to plug the stock light into, and the other to plug the LED light into.  This way you do not need to cut or splice any wires.  You can make a third one for the Black (ground) wires if want, or you can just cut and crimp them.

Or you can use quick-splice electrical connectors to connect the wires instead of splicing.  The quick-splice electrical connectors are available at Walmart, auto parts stores, or Radio Shack.  This connector is actually  not as good of an electrical connection as a plug or a soldered connection, but they do work and are good for someone who is new at this.

This picture shows the footpegs moved back and the “cheap Virago 250 exhaust mod”

WEIGHT REDUCTION
The stock Virago 250 exhaust system weighs 13.6 pounds and consists of 3 parts – the front pipe/muffler assembly is 11.0 pounds, the rear chrome non-functional pipe is 1 pound, and the rear black functional pipe is 1.6 pounds.  The mod described in the 8/31/11 posting: “The cheap Virago 250 exhaust system mod” reduces the exhaust system weight by 5.6 pounds – after the mod the exhaust system weight is 8 pounds.

On my Virago 250, I removed the footpegs and mounting plates.  The downside is that you can see a lot of the muffler parts that the footpeg plates cover up. But it makes that area easier to clean and reduces the bike’s weight by 4.3 lbs.

Items that I removed (and did not replace) include:
passenger seat + bracket  – weight 1.6 lbs
helmet lock – weight 4.8 oz
left chrome pod – weight 11.2 oz
sissybar + backrest – weight 2.9 lbs
left passenger footpeg assembly – weight 1.9 lbs
right passenger footpeg assembly – weight 2.4 lbs
chrome head covers – weight 2.56 pounds or 1.16 kg (for all 4 pieces)
mounting plate for rear brake pedal and the two 2.5″ bolts – weight 1.5 lbs

Items that I removed and replaced with lighter parts include:
front footpegs – weight 1.3 lbs
air filter assembly – weight 1.2 lbs + element (replaced with new air filter 9.0 oz)
replaced bars – reduced weight by about 1.5 lbs
shifter assembly – weight 3.5 lbs (replaced with shifter weighing 0.4 lbs)
I also removed the sidestand which is 1.5 lbs and I added a centerstand (4.3 lbs).
Gas tank – replaced with plastic ATV tank – reduced weight by 3.5 lbs                            -Les S.

There are about 40 other postings – here are two of them:   

http://wp.me/p1LWaM-2T    The cheap Virago 250 “2-to-1” exhaust mod Part II – you need one used Supertrapp muffler – reduces exhaust system weight from 6.2kg (13.6 pounds) to 4.3 kg (9.5 pounds)

http://wp.me/p1LWaM-13     Fix the Virago 250 gearing ! Changing sprockets (gearing) on Yamaha Virago 250 to 17/38, 17/40, 17/42, etc.

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28 Responses to Virago 250 Street – seating position and safety mods

  1. Interesting post. Thank you!

  2. darren says:

    CAN YOU SHOW MORE OF THAT CENTRE STAND MODIFICATION?
    CHHERS

  3. Michael says:

    I would like to know a little more about converting the forward controls to midsets. I too have a xv250 and have been wondering what the best way to go about this is.

    Great blog by the way, glad I stumbled on it!

    Thanks!

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Michael, I raised the seat up two inches and moved the pegs back 10 inches.
      (The prior owner had reversed the front peg mounting for more forward extension; the change from that was 12 inches.) Moving the footpegs back on the left side was not too hard to do (for the shift lever, get a 1981 Honda CM400 shifter – it’s almost perfect). For the left side, I mounted 3/4″ x .125″ aluminum square tubing (6063-T5) 11.75 inches long to the swingarm pivot bolt with an additional support bracket about two inches behind it.

      The right side was really difficult – I built/trashed two ideas before I finally got one that worked. I used a steel brace (1/4 inch thick, 1 inch wide, and 17 inches long) which had a 30 degree downward bend. The left end attached to the swingarm pivot bolt and right side attached to the rear brake support bracket (the hole that is directly below the last “a” in the “Yamaha” on the oil filter cover). The rear brake lever and linkage are removed, I bought threaded rod at Home Depot for the brake rod. I used a 1979 Kawasaki KZ400 rear brake pedal lever assembly and cheap “Motosport Super Sport” footpegs (ebay).
      Thanks for asking. – Les S.

  4. l8again says:

    Nice work! I got the LED tail light to add to my bike- how did you adapt the reflector mount to the 2 studs on the LED unit?

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Nathan,
      After you remove the reflector, you will see that the single hole that is already there lines up perfectly. Just drill a second hole and you can mount the LED light. Thanks for asking. -Les S.

      • l8again says:

        Thanks! I got the LED tail light set up today, and it is working great! So much brighter than the stock light!

        I cut up an 18 AWG IEC power cord (standard for desktop computers, monitors etc.) and used that to wire the light back to the snap connectors under the seat. The IEC cord is perfect because it has three conductors.

        The whole job would have taken me only an hour or so, but I had a tough time getting the connectors for the LED light to fit under the stock tail light housing. I ended up having to take the TL housing apart and stuff the connectors inside, and then put it all back together again.

        If I could do it over, i would just have soldered the IEC cord on in place of the pigtails that the LED unit came with, and then pull that through alongside the existing wiring back to the terminals under the seat.

      • James says:

        So are you not using the stock tail light? Or did you wire the LED with the stock tail light so they both illuminate at once? That’s what I want to do…

        Any instruction on how to do this would be very greatly appreciated.

        Thanks

        -James

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi James,

        You should use both the stock tail light and the LED tail light. Using two tail lights (or more) makes riding safer.

        You can 1) take the tail light apart and wire the LED using the wiring inside the tail light, or 2) you can run wiring from the LED under the fender to the wiring under the seat.

        The second method is much easier, because the tail light is tight to work with on the inside and the wires are short.

        Here are the Virago 250 wiring color codes – tail light is Blue, brake light is Yellow, and Black is ground for both.

        Hope this helps – and thanks for asking.
        -Les S.

        Virago 250 wiring
        Tail-Light positive is Blue.
        Brake Light positive is Yellow.
        Black is the ground for the tail light and brake light and the turn signals as well.

  5. James says:

    So for method two…

    Do you need to lengthen the wires?

    If so, what type of wire should I use?

    I see a little plug that the brake light is connected into already… Do I squeeze the new wires into the existing plug or something different?

    Could I splice said wires together under the fender?

    I am a total noob when it comes to electrical systems.

    Thanks

    -James

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi James,
      connecting under the seat:
      I just checked and found that the LED wiring is about 8 inches long, so you need to add some wire to it – you need about four feet total of wire.
      (Since the wiring is short and already has the proper connectors, wiring it inside the tail light would be better than connecting under the seat, please see the bottom of this comment.)

      LED’s draw little current, so you do not need thick wire – just use wiring that is the same size that came attached to the LED light.

      I would not do anything to the plastic connectors – just splice the wiring where it is at least 2 or 3 inches away from the plastic connectors (so you do not affect the plastic connectors). If you want, for the black wire (ground), you can just attach it to the frame with a screw and not even plug it in to a black wire.

      I would not splice the wires under the fender – there it would be exposed more to outside. I would do the splicing under the seat where it is more protected from the elements.

      After you splice the wires, make sure you wrap them with electrical tape.

      When you have the seat off, you should become familiar with the fuses. I have a 2002 Virago 250 which has a 15 amp Main fuse and a 10 amp Signal fuse. The Signal fuse is for the brake light, turn signal, etc. I think the Virago 250’s from the 1990’s have a 20 amp Main fuse.

      connecting inside the tail light:
      Your virago 250 uses 3.9 mm bullet connectors for it’s electrical connections. The best way to connect this LED light is to make two Y connectors – one side is male to plug into the factory connector, the other side is double female, one to plug the stock light into, and the other to plug the LED light into. This way you do not need to cut or splice any wires. You can make a third one for the Black (ground) wires if want, or you can just cut and crimp them. Please see my post (updated) for a picture.

      Hope this helps.
      -Les S.
      …. Re: “Red Double Stop Tail LED Light for Motorcycle” on ebay
      3.9 inches width x 2.1 inches height – 3 wire – has 18 LED’s

      • James says:

        This is great info thanks a lot!

        Going to the auto parts store tomorrow!

        I’ll post after i’m finished

        Thanks again

        -James

      • Samantha says:

        I am very interested in putting in this taillight as well so thank you for your blog (and thanks to James for asking the exact questions I was wondering too). I have two additional questions though. You mentioned not to splice by the fender since it’ll be more exposed to elements but I will have to splice the wires attached to the light with my own wires, right? Won’t that *have* to be by the fender since the lights’s wires are too short? And can I use wire nuts to connect them or just electrical tape? Keep in mind I haven’t actually ordered from eBay yet; I want to make sure I can definitely do this before buying (newbie as well).

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Samantha,
        I just checked and found the LED wiring is about 8 inches long, so since it is short, then, yes, you will need to splice them under the fender to run the wiring so you can connect it under the seat. Then I would use electrical tape to seal the connection – I would not use wire nuts. But instead of connecting under the seat, see the next paragraph for a better way to do it.

        Your virago 250 uses 3.9 mm bullet connectors (auto parts store and Radio Shack have them) for it’s electrical connections. The best way to connect this LED light is to make two Y connectors – one side is male to plug into the factory connector, the other side is double female, one to plug the stock light into, and the other to plug the LED light into. This way you do not need to cut or splice any wires. You can make a third one for the Black (ground) wires if want, or you can just cut and crimp them. Please see my post (updated) for a picture.

        You can use quick-splice electrical connectors to connect the wires instead of splicing. The quick-splice electrical connectors are available at Walmart, auto parts stores, or Radio Shack. This connector is actually not as good of an electrical connection as a plug or a soldered connection, but they do work and are good for someone who is new at this. If you use the use quick-splice electrical connectors, then you will not need to seal the connection with electrical tape.

        Hope this helps – let me know how it comes out.
        -Les S.

      • Samantha says:

        Great! Thank you so much for taking the time to look things up and getting back to me! I will definitely be ordering this taillight now and will let you know how it goes.

  6. l8again says:

    Based on my experience doing this tail light mod, Do not extend the existing 8″ wires- open up the LED tail light unit, and replace the 3 short wires with a longer set of wires (3′ or so should be sufficient). A perfect replacement is the power cord from an AC appliance that has a grounded plug. I used the power cable from an old desktop computer. Inside the cable are 3 wires (white, black, and green).

    Once you have the new cable attached to the LED light, route the cable alongside the stock tail light wiring to the terminals under the seat and connect via the Y method that Les has detailed.

    This should be the easiest and cleanest way to do this job.

    • Mike Johnson says:

      Hi l8again,

      First let me thank Les for a great informative site!

      I have purchased the LED light and 2-to-1 connectors.
      After modifying the reflector bracket I discovered the short wires on the LED light and am in splice-heck now!
      How hard is it to unsolder the existing short wires from the LED light, and re-solder on the 2-3 ft long wires? I have no experience with soldering but will try it if it is not too hard.

      Thanks!
      Mike

      • lstrick115 says:

        Mike,
        Since you have not soldered before, I would try to find a way to use the existing short wires and connect to the longer wires.
        Connecting 2 wires is easier than soldering a wire to an LED.
        If you do buy a soldering gun, it might help to practice soldering some old wires first.
        Instead of soldering, you can use quick-splice electrical connectors to connect the wires. The quick-splice electrical connectors are available at Walmart, auto parts stores, or Radio Shack.

        If you do end up soldering the long wire to the LED, try to not apply too much heat to the LED connector.

        Let me know how it goes..
        -Les S.

      • l8again says:

        Mike,
        Les is right- the butt-splice connectors are the easiest, but you may not have room for them inside the LED housing.

        the safest (mistake tolerant way) to solder the wires would be to clip the wires leaving 2″ or so connected to the circuit board. If you have room inside the taillight housing for the extra wire. Melt a little solder onto each wire end individually before connecting (tinning)- then hold them together and they will fuse with just a touch of the iron. Make sure the joints are taped to avoid shorting.

        Soldering the new wires directly to the circuit board is the cleanest and will give you the most reliable service, but do not attempt If you do not have access to a small soldering iron (8-15 Watt). The risk of overheating your electronic components is too great IMO.

        To de-solder the old wires grasp the old wire and pull gently on it while briefly touching the iron to the solder terminal- the solder should melt and the wire will come free. Remove iron immediately.

        Tin the ends of the new wires before soldering to the circuit board terminals. Then hold the tinned end against the terminal and fuse them with a brief touch of the iron.

        If you have a friend with some electronic soldering experience, he or she could help you do this in less than 10 minutes.

      • Mike Johnson says:

        Thanks very much Les and l8again for your fast, detailed replies.
        My current plan is to use sealed crimp-butt connectors, possibly the waterproof type, to connect the LED wires to the PC power cord wires. I am considering cutting the LED and PC power cord wires to different lengths, so the connectors will be staggered. The staggered connectors should allow the connected wires to fit into a smaller diameter containing tube.
        For the containing tube, for weather protection, I plan on using 1/2″ split polyethylene tubing, compressed down to the smallest width so as to best fit into the tail light housing with the least leakage, or heat shrink tubing if I can find some wide enough for the connectors.
        I guess the butt connectors will end up in the containing tube, not inside the tail light housing, but I’ll see.
        I am a little concerned the wires will separate inside the butt crimp connectors.
        Thanks again, and your thoughts are welcomed! 🙂
        Mike

  7. James says:

    I installed the light finally… See my link for what it looks like and how I did it 😀

    http://viragotechforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=32078&p=283721#p283721

  8. Tim says:

    I was just curious as to how you went about raising your seat 2 inches.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Tim,
      I used aluminum to make thin brackets for the rear of the seat. Bolt hole spacing I made about 2 inches. You should use two or four strong bolts to hold the two brackets, because the front is not bolted down. You need to drill the frame for these bolts; these holes will be covered up by the brackets. For the front, use two “L” brackets to make a “U” bracket and use the tank mounting bolt to hold it. The tank mount is not changed, you just remove the bolt temporarily to bolt the U bracket down. Use a long bolt to close off the top of the U. Then to install the seat you slide the front tab into the U bracket (add rubber spacers to the front so it is not loose) and fasten the rear bolts. Make sure the front of the seat is raised the same amount that the rear is raised. If you look at the pictures (in my other posts also) you can see what I did.
      Hope this helps, and thanks for asking. -Les S.

      • Tim says:

        WOW! Talk about a prompt reply! I’m impressed! Thank for the technical details for this mod.

  9. Mike Johnson says:

    I was able to successfully install the LED light as described here.
    Thanks to all posters and to Les for their valuable contributions.
    I used the PC power cord, the connectors from vintageconnections, and heat seal butt crimp connectors. The crimp connectors are outside both the tail light assembly and the fender. They are protected from the elements by their heat seal, and are inside a short length of 1/2″ split poly tubing from Home Depot. This is further wrapped in some Gorilla Tape.
    I suggest people buy at least one TS1 4mm Triple-Socket Terminal from vintageconnections, which I used under the seat for the ground wire connections. Also NOTE that getting the 3 fine-threaded bolts that hold the tail light assembly to the fender to reconnect, even if you did not run the new LED light wire under the tail light assembly as I did, is an incredible pain in the ass with the rear wheel in place. I spent the vast majority of my time on this project getting those f*@#$ers to reconnect. All in all the LED light is very bright and a fine mod. Thanks! Mike

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