Virago 250 – Do not buy chrome parts – just polish the parts that are already on the bike

        Polishing the Virago 250 – get more chrome without buying chrome parts


For polish, I use “mag and aluminum polish”.

If it needs more than just polish, I start with fine steel wool, then polish.

If it needs even more, I start with 400 grit sandpaper, then 800 grit sandpaper, then steel wool (coarse, medium, fine), then polish.

If you use steel wool to polish your Virago 250:
1) Before using steel wool, put a cloth over the top of the front sprocket cover to keep fragments from getting into the front sprocket area (a large opening is behind the cover).
2) When you are finished, immediately use a magnet to pick up the steel wool fragments. 

 Do first – these make a big difference

1) The fuel pump – Chromed Steel – use fine steel wool first, then polish, then wax.  It is unbelievable how nice it looks after you polish it (easy to do) – Do this one first !

2) Front exhaust pipe and muffler assembly (remove first) – Chromed Steel – use Windex – by removing before cleaning you will clean areas that you cannot reach when exhaust is on the bike (easy to do)

3) Spokes and spoke nipples – Chromed Steel – use polish, then wax – polish until spokes feel smooth, not rough – spokes get corroded easily so you need to wax them

Polishing and waxing spokes improves the looks and helps prevent rusting

 after you have completed polishing (hard to do)

4) Starter center section – Chromed Steel – use steel wool, then polish (hard to do)

You can get a chrome starter for your Virago 250 with steel wool, aluminum polish, and about an hour of your time

5) Front disc rotor – Steel – use steel wool, then polish fairly (hard to do)

Run your mouse over each picture to see a description. 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.

Do second
• Polish the steering head bearing cover – Alloy – use polish (easy to do)
• Allen bolts that attach rear fender to frame – Steel – use polish (hard to do)
• The rear shock chrome spring plus the inner shock absorber – both are Chromed Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Swing arm pivot bolt – Steel – use polish (easy to do) 


• Polish the valve adjustment caps and cam sprocket cover (only if you do not use the chrome cylinder head covers.)  The way I do it – start with 220 grit sandpaper, then go to 400 grit, then 600 or 800, then steel wool, then polish.  It takes 30 minutes to one hour for each one, but if you put enough into it you can get them looking like chrome, or close.    If you skip the 600 or 800 step, you might end up with small scratches like I did – please see the cam sprocket cover in the picture above. 

• Polish the carburetor right side, left side, and the fittings in the front of the carburetor.  Polishing the right side is especially good if you run without a fuel pump, as the carb is much more visible.  On my bike I had temporarily moved the petcock, so I polished the left side of the carb – I was surprised by how nice it looks – I never even cleaned it before as it was hard to reach.

Do third
• Starter end caps – Alloy – use polish (hard to do)
• Rear wheel spacer – Chromed Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Rear wheel axle – Chromed Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Rear brake torque arm – Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Rear brake actuator arm – Chromed Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Top of rear shocks – Alloy – use polish (easy to do)
• Cover for fork lock – Steel – use polish (easy to do)
• Back cylinder pipe junction and clamp – underneath the bike on right side – Chromed Steel – use polish (fairly easy to do)
• Four rivets on top of front fender bracket – Alloy – use polish (easy to do)
• Fuel petcock – some steel, some alloy – use polish (easy to do)
• The black rear exhaust pipe.  I always wanted
 to buy one of these already chromed but I don’t think anyone has one.  I do not think you can get it to look like chrome, but it will become fairly shiny.

• If your left side cover is scratched above the shifter, you can polish just the center cap (3.5 inches diameter) – Painted Steel – Use sandpaper, then steel wool, then polish (hard to do)

• For parts that have really good chrome, I do not use polish, I just use something like Windex
• Chrome wheel rims – Chromed Steel – use cleaner like Windex (easy to do)
• Exhaust system – Chromed Steel – use cleaner like Windex (easy to do)

When you are ready to polish something more difficult –
Polish the right and left engine side covers.  I always wanted to buy the chrome engine side covers but they are close to $100 each.  I am 90% completed with the right one and it is close to chrome.  It will take me about 12 hours to do the right cover  – using 400 grit, steel wool (coarse, medium, fine), then polish –  but I tend to go to polish too soon – which makes it take a lot longer – I should use the sandpaper and steel wool longer. 
TIP OF THE WEEK – for difficult pieces like the engine side covers (which are painted), the steel wool part goes faster when the engine is very hot – but wear heavy gloves, be careful, and avoid the exhaust pipes – it is very easy to get burned.

I am almost finished polishing the right side – please see the first picture in this posting.

This is what I am doing on the left side (please see picture above):

·  I have started polishing the left engine cover.  I only hand-polish, so it will take about eight hours – a lot less if I do the paint sanding step with the engine hot.

·  The “delete left side plastic cover and expose regulator mod.”  I removed the left side plastic cover,  and polished and waterproofed the voltage regulator.  I will be leaving the cover off permanently – I like the looks of the voltage regulator, even though the cooling fins orientation does not match the engine.  On some Virago 250’s, the voltage regulator runs too hot –  I do not think that mine has that problem but being in the open air should help a little to keep it cooler.

·  I do not recommend this mod:  partially expose front sprocket by removing lower part of front sprocket cover.  This mod reduces safety so I do not recommend it.  (If you do it anyway, make sure your chain is in excellent condition and you always wear boots when you ride.)  What I like about this mod is that you can polish the front sprocket and you can keep that area clean.  On the bikes that I have owned, that area always has lots of dirt and grease.

Other postings:   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)   Fix the Virago 250 gearing ! Changing sprockets (gearing) on Yamaha Virago 250 to 17/38, 17/40, 17/42, etc.

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4 Responses to Virago 250 – Do not buy chrome parts – just polish the parts that are already on the bike

  1. mike says:

    is the brake caliper that is shown in the picture of your virago front end photo about polishing – is it standard? looks like a brembo? have you upgraded

  2. Darius says:

    I’m from Italy, just bought a 1997 virago 250 and it needs some polishing. However, I’ve been wondering…what is Windex?? I think we don’t have it in Italy, I’m trying to find some sort of equivalent cleaning substance.
    Thanks, your site is very nice and helpful.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Darius,
      Windex is a glass cleaner – it comes in a spray bottle.
      Good luck with your polishing – I am sure you will be impressed with how your can make your bike look great at little or no cost.
      Thanks for the question.
      -Les S.

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