Comments / Questions


I’ve got a question I think you could help me with! The VW air filters I’ve looked at all have only one opening for an extra hose, but my Virago 250′s chrome pod had two hoses attached to it… How do you get it all to work?

Also, how exactly did you install yours?


1)The hose that goes from the upper left side of the carburetor is the one I would connect to the new air cleaner.

Or you could connect it to a small filter (on ebay, search for “crank case filter”).

2)The crankcase vent tube is larger tubing and connects to the crankcase vent (about 2 inches from the oil filler cap).

a) If you have a port under the tank near the back, you can connect it to that. (If the port is not currently being used, it probably has a plug on it that seals it)

b) You could connect it to a “crank case filter”.

c) You could just run the tubing behind and below the engine, without a filter. That is how I did mine. The crankcase vent does not need a filter in my opinion.

The VW air filter inlet is a little bigger than the stock air filter, so you need to wrap something maybe 2 to 3mm thick around the inlet on the bike’s frame. I used rubberized electrical tape which is thicker than most electrical tape. Attach the tape so that it seals well – you don’t want any trash to be sucked into the carburetor. Then you need something like a tiny bungee cord to hold the air filter tightly against the frame. The bungee cord is needed because the inlet clamp by itself will not hold the air filter (same is true for the stock filter).

-Les S.


I’ve decided to try this filter out:

I’m worried it might supply too much air, though, and that I would have to rejet the carb and lose a little bit of gas mileage in exchange for slight performance increase… It’s also a little bigger, but I like the idea that it has a cheap, replaceable foam element, and that it looks vintage and neat.

Do you have any advice? Should I stick to the louvered air filter you have instead of this one?


I don’t think too much air will be a problem.

At some point, you will probably want to check your jets anyway.

The size of the filter you are looking at is 6.375 inches diameter, 2.5 inches height, with a two inch inlet, so it should fit fine – check your bike first to make sure the diameter is OK. (I have a 2002 Virago 250, and it would fit mine.)

The foam will probably last a very long time. You need to oil it before use, and then clean and re-oil every year or so. When you receive the air filter, if you can’t wait to try it, you can just use motor oil if you want – but you should get real air filter oil (it’s more sticky) when you can.

If you buy that filter, you need to have some sort of cover over the top and front section to block rain from above and from the front. In a medium to heavy rain, the foam could get soaked. If you make the cover to be easily removable, you could keep it on the bike and just put it on if it rains.

-Les S.

Comment /  Question:

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.


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).

Comment /  Question:

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?


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.


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.

Comment /  Question:

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.


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.

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.

Comment /  Question:

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.


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.

-Les S.

Comment /  Question:

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).


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.

-Les S.

Comment :

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.


Comment /  Question:

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.


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.

-Les S.

Comment :

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.

Comment /  Question:

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.


Comment /  Question:

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

Comment /  Question:

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


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.

Comment :

I was able to successfully install the LED light as described here.

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.


Exhaust Note Rating 3


other sites: Improving night vision My 1981 Honda CM400C The “Stretch Up” exercise method Low cost LED flashlights Bruce Sweatt – who was he ?
Bruce Sweatt – 1953 to 1990 – Okeechobee, FL

53 Responses to Comments / Questions

  1. Karl Bongers says:

    Thanks for all the neat info on your bikes. I rode a CB500 4 cyl back in the 80’s. Got back to motorbiking a few years ago with a 83 CM400T. I knew a 2 cyl generally gets better mileage.
    This spring I had to work on the carbs and the age of the bike worries me, and I’ve noticed these Virago 250’s are available newer and would get even better mileage. I probably should find one for sale and take it for a test drive to see how I like it, but I was hoping you would make a comparison on power for highway driving. I’m 5’11”, 150lb. My CM400T goes plenty fast for me, doing 70 mph or more easy enough. But I wonder how 250cc would compare, would it feel much weaker getting up to speed, etc. Or maybe a bike that is 20 yrs newer at 250cc can compete fine with 400c of a much older bike. Can you comment on the difference between the two bikes?
    Do you ever take a passenger on the 250? Is that pushing it? Does the 400 have a lot more power or not.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Karl,
      A Virago 250 is a cruiser so the footpegs are forward. Some people like that riding position, and some don’t. For me it caused back pain, so I moved the pegs back about 12 inches – the riding position now is more like my CM400.
      A CM400 does 0-60 mph in about 5.5. seconds. A Virago 250 does 0-60 mph in about 10.5 to 11.0 seconds. Above 60 mph, the CM400 has much better acceleration.
      Even though the CM400 has much better passing power, I love driving my Virago 250 on the highway. I never feel underpowered and I am almost never at full throttle. You have to plan ahead when you want to pass, like I did on my 40 hp VW bug – which actually is fun and requires more skill than a higher-powered bike. I cruise at 60 to 70 mph.
      If you change the stock Virago 250 sprockets (16 Front / 45 Rear) to 17/40 or 17/38, the bike sounds comfortable at 65 or 70 mph, whereas the CM400 engine is comfortable at that speed but it is turning more rpm and it sounds revved-up.
      The exhaust note of the Virago 250 is very pleasing compared to the CM400, or compared to anything. The average Moto Guzzi probably sounds better than the Virago 250, but not that much better. Plus, with only 21 horsepower, if you have 17/38 or 17/40 you get to really rev it up going through the gears, and you’re not speeding (much). I drive that way a lot – do that on a faster bike and you will be spending time down at the police station.
      See exhaust note ratings near the bottom of the Comments/Questions page.

      I think the CM400 has a more comfortable ride and handles bumps better than the Virago 250.
      The CM400 handles passengers better than the Virago 250.

      I highly recommend that you rubber mount the upper engine mount on the CM400 – on mine it cut 2/3 of the vibration felt through the handlebars. I will posting about this later today.

      -Les S.

  2. Matt Martz says:

    Hi there. Thanks a lot for your site. Quick question: I love the look of your Virago minus the rear seat. I went to remove mine and was disappointed to learn that the rear bolt is welded to the fender. Any advice on removing it? How did you remove it? Thanks in advance.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Matt,
      The passenger seat is mounted with a large bolt in the back, and the front slides into clips that are attached with two small bolts.
      The large bolt could have been over-tightened – I would put some oil on it where it enters the metal fender, then wait a while and try it again.
      Once the large bolt is removed, the seat will slide out. You can just leave the front mount on the bike, or you can remove it. (I left my front mount on – it helps to hold a rear luggage bag.)

      It is not welded at the factory. A prior owner could have done it. Welding seats is not normal practice; it is a common thing for owners to remove and re-install the seat(s) often.

      There was a recall years ago to fix weak seat mounts – not sure if it was front or rear seats. Maybe yours has the stronger mounts – they still would not be welded, though.

      Hope you can get it off. Let me know how it turns out.
      Les S.

      • Barb Powell says:

        I just purchased a 2008 V250. We called Yamaha and they said the back bolt was attached to the reinforcement plate underneath. Does that sound right and if it is, can we remove the back seat?

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Barb,
        Yes, just remove that bolt, and then move the passenger seat back about an inch, and the seat will come right off.
        -Les S.

  3. Matt says:

    Interesting. Well thanks for your reply. I’ll certainly go try it again cause that’s a little weird. Thanks.

  4. viragotech says:

    Hi were is the kickstarter set from, from an company,our a mix from Yamaha.super.

  5. Steve Coe says:

    Hey this is a great website/blog for information. I am amazed at how much info you have put together. I realize how much effort it takes to put this together, a great resource, thank you.
    My wife and I have V Star 250’s which are really great bikes. I have done a few a couple of mods similar to yours but with more reserved application. Due to living in the mountains of southern British Columbia I found that going to a 17/42 tooth combo just about perfect for the 7 or 8 % grades on our mountain passes. This sprocket change has amazingly cut down on overall vibration on my bike. When I was driving at about 50 to 60 mph ( 80 to 90 kph) before the change the vibration was high but now it has literally disappeared and did not show up at a higher speed. One thing I was trying to find out was the factory maximum rpm of these motors as I have not found a listing anywhere. Nice to be able to gauge where I am at when down shifting for hills at highway speeds.
    Secondly you commute 3 hours, wow, that must be hard on the rear end. I can get about an hour and a half the first session then an hour afterwards. But I have found that using the back pegs to rest on occasionally helps enormously (I am 6 ft 1-1/2 inches tall :).
    I don’t recommend using back pegs in town thought, and only occasionally on the highway as you are removed from the rear braking. Have you seen any after market seats that are a little wider?
    I too have looked at bigger bikes but as you say the power ration keeps one much safer. A fellow with what looked like a stripped down harley sportster came out of an intersection in front of me yesterday and looked liked he gunned it to make a left turn. But he gunned it right on top of the wide white crosswalk line. Him and his bike did a couple of sliding circles. But fortunately he was wearing all leather (but no gloves) so he got up and pushed his bike to the side sat for a bit looked at his hands and left. If I had done the same I don’t think that I would have skidded out like he did because the 250 does not have the same immediate power and torque. But I don’t like to be in a hurry on a motorcycle so I hope I never get into that situation.
    One other mod I did was drill 3 – 3/8 holes in the muffler end plate. This seemed to give me a little more sound an a touch more power. But I know that doing any more would most likely end in reduced power as I know that too much free flow results in less power.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for the nice comments.
      And thanks for telling us about some of your experiences with your Virago 250.
      The “mountains of southern British Columbia” sounds like a fun place to ride a motorcycle.

      The redline for the Virago 250 is 8,400 rpm.

      As far as the seats, I have moved my front footpegs and controls back about 12 inches. If the seat starts to be uncomfortable, I can put more pressure on my arms to take some of the load off.

      In my opinion, small bikes are more difficult and more fun to drive than bigger bikes. You have to downshift a lot more, but I like that. On some big bikes it does not matter which gear you are in, but on the Virago 250, you always have to be in the “right” gear. Plus you have to plan ahead and use your momentum to pass.

      Three holes in the muffler should be good enough. If you do drill more, you can always cap them if you change your mind.

      Les S.

    • TravelBug says:

      My lower back kills me on many bikes, so I’ve found I often sit in a grasshopper position on long rides (I just finished 30,000kms across the Americas on a CGL125). Using the back pegs on long stretches of empty highway have saved my back. Definitely not the safest way to go, but I’ve found I just have to move them every now and then.

      I’m disappointed to see that moving the pegs on the 250 V Star I’ll be picking up this weekend is so challenging. That’s way beyond my fix-it skills, so I’ll have to continue riding like a cricket every now and then.

      Another question I’ve had is regarding the seats. Is it possible to replace the two seats for a simpler, flat-back bench seat? I’d like to get the sitting position a bit higher if I can, and I like bench seats. Thanks! Great website.

  6. Bill Riggin says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for documenting your experiences with the Virago. This has been worth “it’s weight” to me.

    I’m 72 years old and still riding my Aprilia Tuono, however I’ve been wanting a lighter bike for riding around town. Just picked up a 2008 V-Star 250 in a joint venture with a friend. I’m doing a few mods (from your recommendations) and will ride it until winter when we’ll build a custom, aluminum frame and turn it into Cafe Racer/Tracker style for use as a show piece for my friend’s business. (He builds race bike parts, etc. and has a full machine shop.)

    Thanks for sharing your bike and experience.

    Bill R
    (Look me up at

  7. Steve Coe says:

    Hi Les
    I keep finding great little bits of info on this site that are of interest and help. Thanks Les. I was looking at the image of your Virago 250 and it seemed like you have a wider seat than stock. Is this so? Or is it just an illusion without the rear seat portions. If you do have a wider seat where did you get it? Or what did you get it from? I wouldn’t mind getting something a little wider for those longer rides. The stock seat can be somewhat hard on a longer ride.
    Steve C

  8. Jimmy says:

    Can anyone please help me, I am fully modding my virago to a bobber..First: what exact size spring seat kit will fit the virago? the only one i could think of is the harley sportster, would that work?
    Second: How do i get the air filter cleaner moved to the middle of the Vtwin engine and replace it with a circle cover?
    Thirdly: Anyone know what size springer spring front fork would fit the virago? or is it not possible?
    And fourthly: I want to replace the rear shock absorbers with a chopper chrome straight bar absorber? any suggestions as to what size i need to do that?

    Last question lol : I just bought west eagle pipes and someone mentioned that i had to adjust the carburatuer, any websites or vids that could show me how to do that or can someone explain it to me?

    All answers I am most grateful for, cant wait for the answers 🙂

    Thanks everyone

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Jimmy,

      I do not have any experience with spring seats or springer forks – if you do a search on the Virago Tech website, you should find info on the spring seat at least.

      Instead of moving the air filter, you might want to cover your Virago 250 fuel pump with a 4.5 to 6 inch chrome air cleaner cover – it is an easy way make a big change in the looks. (bottom of post – item #16).

      For air filter ideas see these posts on

      “Air filter – putting 2 inch vintage louvered VW air filter on Virago 250” (middle of post – item #8)

      “Air Filters – looking for ideas? – 25 different Virago 250’s with 25 different air cleaners”

      There are a bunch of posts on the Virago Tech website about solid struts and shorter shocks (Rebel). Also these are several posts from people that have west eagle pipes with their experience on re-jetting.

      The 6 Sigma carb jet kit for the Virago 250 includes three main jets (you need just one) 115, 120, and 125 and one low jet #20. Stock jet is 110. Reasons to re-jet:
      1). you added less restrictive exhaust — you need to run richer – get a larger jet size
      2). you added less restrictive air filter — you need to run richer – get a larger jet size
      3). high altitude (at high altitudes, bike will run richer)– you need to run leaner – get a smaller jet size
      4). spark plug color — this is complicated, but if your plugs are black, you might need to run leaner – get a smaller jet size.

      Les S.

      • Dan says:

        Hi just wanted to see if anyone can help me with a question , just about the breather hose in the air filter, as most people have just gotten a crankcase filter installed I myself have ordered one but as it will take a few weeks to arrive, some people have said that this is not necessary to ride and can just tuck the breather hose underneath the tank, so my question is should I cover the end of the hose with a cloth and tape to stop anything going into the carb or would it be fine as is tucked away. Thanks

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Dan,
        It would be OK to use some cloth just for a few days. I would use a hose clamp to attach it. Also make sure it is not near anything hot. -Les S.

  9. TravelBug says:

    I forgot to click on the “notify me of new comments” button above, so I’ll repost my question here:

    Is it possible to get a bench seat for a 2008 V Star 250? I like the retro look, but I also want the sitting position to be a few inches higher, and I like bench seats more than those dip-down seats.

    Thanks! Great information you’ve put together. Just disappointed to find out moving the front pegs is such a pain. I won’t be able to do that myself, nor pay to have it done!

    • lstrick115 says:

      It is fairly easy to raise the Virago 250 seat about two inches. Remove the two rear bolts (10mm) and add a small brace with holes about two inches apart to each side. Bolt a 1.5 inch high brace to the rear tank bolt to support the front part of the seat.

  10. CX Rancher says:

    Thank you Les,
    These Gems are overlooked.
    From -80ft under the bay to 14,110ft @ Pikes Peak. 30k mi, never trucked never trailered we
    roll’em longmile.
    CX Rancher

  11. Artur says:

    I just got the Virago250 and I am planning to ride it in the winter time. Would you have an idea how much of electrical load I could connect in addition to the stock for my heated vest, gloves and such?



    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi, Artur,
      Sure you can add at least one of those.
      I would just add one device first so you can see if your bike has the voltage for a second heated item (vest, gloves).

      My suggestions:
      1)..Add an on/off switch to control the low beam of your headlight (so you can turn off your headlight when you are using the grip heaters)
      2)..Add LED driving lights (so you drive in the daytime with your headlight off).
      3)..Replace all incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs.
      4)..Add an LED to indicate when your carb heaters are on (it is fairly easy to do)
      5)..Maybe add a switch so you can turn your carb heaters off (They use 50 watts. Your bike will probably run better with them ”on” though.)
      6)..Add a digital voltmeter (so you can make sure your voltage is high enough as you are driving)

      I have grip heaters on my Virago 250. I can use them only on low – not enough voltage for high.

      Keep in mind your bike might have more voltage available than mine.

      For more info, see the “” page and go to a post from April 8, 2013 “First commute of the year”

      Good luck!
      -Les S.

  12. Artur says:

    Thanks for the replay, I have few more questions, I hope you or someone else can help me:
    Led driving lights, do you have suggestion where to get one from? I do want to have the dot approved, for one thing I do not want to blind everyone, in addition in case of any issues on the road I do not want to have the insurance issues.
    Voltmeter, what voltage values do you think are acceptable?
    Turn lights, any hints as to where to get the led replacement bulbs?

    I am actually considering extra battery I can charge every night in the garage and use it for heating the vest only, I need to investigate (try) that, if I get it done I will let you know if it worked for me. But now it is summer time, so hard to try it out, no need 😃 for it.

    Btw, I am planning to remove the back pax seat and install the luggage rack. Any suggestions for good product?


    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Artur,

      LED driving lights bright enough to use as headlights are real expensive.
      What I would suggest is getting a brighter H4 bulb for your headlight.
      1) Osran Night Breaker Plus 60/55w
      2) PIAA
      3) Phillips

      The xv250 headlight reflector has excellent cutoff (does a good job of not blinding on-coming traffic). Changing to a brighter H4 bulb is probably all you need.
      Virago 250 voltage examples:

      12.5 volts – Headlight and 55w x 2 spots “ON” (at 60 mph)

      13.4 volts – Headlight off, spots “ON”.

      10.8 volts – At a fast idle (headlights and spots on), mine starts at 11.3 volts and then settles down to about 10.8 volts.

      12.9 volts – Headlight + carb heaters (50w) “ON”

      12.3 volts – Headlight + carb heaters (50w) + driving lights (110w) “ON”

      13.2 volts – Headlight “ON”

      (My readings are low, because I wired my gauge to some small wires near the headlight. I would get higher voltage readings if I ran a larger wire directly to the battery.)
      For LED replacement bulbs –
      I usually just buy mine on ebay – brightness can be hit or miss.
      For high quality LED bulbs try these sites:
      For the luggage rack, I would check ebay.
      Les S.

      • Art Kru says:

        Short update on the progress on my mods (for these interested):
        I installed the LEDs for the blinkers for the Virago250, I still need to replace the flasher and install the blocking diodes. Before I will install the blocking diodes which takes time (weekend job), I will temporarily remove the turn-light indicator bulb, that should fix the bleeding issue.
        I replaced the incandescent bulb in the taillight with LED, this did not go all that well. The LED just barely glows for taillight, it remains off when brake is pressed. I tested the LED bulb with the battery and it works, so it is not a bulb issue, there is something else going on. For now I am back to incandescent. If any one knows what is the issue please let me know.
        I am planning to replace the headlight with LED to gain some more power for my heated vest and possibly pans, I am worried I might run in to the same issue I run in to with taillight. Any one had an experience with the headlight? What is better choice, sealed unit to bulb replacement?

        Thanks for all your input so far,



      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi, Artur,
        The incandescent bulb that originally was in your taillight probably had two contacts on the base.
        Does your new LED bulb have only one contact ?
        If just one contact, that would explain the problem.
        Les S.

  13. Artur says:

    Les, that would be too easy. The bulbs are the same type, 1157. The LED is:
    I tested the bulb with 12V battery and works fine, does not work on the bike though. I checked the the DC on the bike bulb socket with the scope just in case rectifier does something unusual and no, the DC has minimal noise, remains around 12.5 VDC. I cleaned the contacts in the socket and put some penetrox, did not help.
    I will wire the bulb with socket jumper wires tomorrow, today I concentrated on installing diods. It took about an hour to do it, now the LED blinkers look like million dollars and blink as needed. I still have old flasher relay so blinking is a bit fast, but it is acceptable. The indicator light is a bit brighter because it is connected strait to ground, works even better that way.
    I keep you posted,


    • lstrick115 says:

      Hey Artur,
      For a bulb that tests good but won’t work on the bike, here is what I would try:
      1)..First I would check the ground. (I had a similar problem last week and that was the solution.)
      2)..Clean the terminals and the shell of the new bulb, corrosion that you can’t even see can prevent it from working.
      3)..Measure the distance from the contacts to the tabs and compare to the original bulb – if short, you can build up the contacts with solder.
      4)..See if you can increase the spring tension in the socket.
      Let me know how it turns out.
      -Les S.

  14. Artur says:

    Hi Les,
    So I removed the seat got access to the electrical. There were some modification to the wiring done by the previous owner, he installed the side-boxes with led lights. He needed to e tend the wires to the blinkers and split the wire to the stoplight. A for effort, F for quality. He traded to use the solder but had no clue how to make it flow. I corrected that and still had no noticeable improvement, I took all the wires to the rear end apart and started connecting them, verifying the functionality. I ended up with black wire going to yello “splitter” and yellow wire ging to black, well, it was evident previous owner had them crossed, but it did not matter for the fluorescent, where the LED is polarity sensitive. Light works like a charm. Next is to install the voltmeter and the LED headlight. I am thinking about installing the ammeter on the output from rectifier. This would ensure I do not overlod the charging system and I could load my heating jacket, pants and gloves to the allowable max.
    Thanks for help so far, I will let you know how it goes with the rest.


  15. Ron Goble says:

    I need help with a 2012 VStar 250. Trying to replace the handlebar grips and can not figure out how the old ones come off. There is no bolt in the end of the grips as shown in the posted manual on here. On the 2012 with the low bars are the end caps a press fit or threaded?

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Ron, To get the grips off, just spray Windex on it, gently pull grip away from the bar with a screwdriver so the windex can run under the grip. Twist the grip to break it loose and it will slide off. If the bar weights are not attached with an Allen bolt, I would think you would unscrèw the whole bar weight. Never heard of that, but that is more likely than a press-fit. Let me know how it turns out. – Les S.

  16. Ron Goble says:

    I have tried twisting off the end caps and also pulling on them but they do not budge at all. There is no end bolt holding the. I want to remove them without destroying them in case I need to put it back original. Once I get the caps off I can remove the grips with no problem. Have done that many times.

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Ron,
      You should check carefully where the attaching bolt would go if it had one. Yamaha might have put a trim cover over it. You could pry it off with a small screwdriver.
      -Les S.

      • rongoble says:

        There is no trim cover on the end of these caps. Are they just press fit or did they glue them in place? Anyone out there familiar with a 2012 xv250?

  17. colin preston says:

    Hi I have a 1991 virago with a Kawasaki ninja muffler fitted and would like to forward a picture for your consideration to be included in the exhaust modification photos, how do I do this??.

  18. lane turner says:

    Hello Les—really enjoy the website and all the info on the virago 250! I also have a 2002 250—stock at this point—I have only had a month. it sat for 6 years and it has 4900 miles. it runs good except when i open it up all the way it feels like it loses 1/2 the power but only when completely opened up. any thoughts? Again thanks for all the good info Take care—Lane

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Lane,
      I would buy new spark plugs. Until you get those, I would just clean and gap the existing plugs. I would drain the gas and put in new. Clean your air filter (for a foam element, use only real air filter oil.) Your carb might need cleaning – but first just run carb cleaner for 3 or 4 tanks at about 3 ounces per 1 gallon. I use Berryman B12 carb cleaner. Let me know how it goes.
      Les S.

      • lane turner says:

        Les—I installed new plugs and ran several tanks of gas w B12 and the full throttle bogging condition didn’t improve. So I hired a mobile motorcycle mechanic and he came out and checked out all the basic stuff and test drove it and thought it was probably the coils as he has experienced this before.
        . So we pulled each plug and grounded it out so we could look at the spark while we turned it over (i know not scientific) but one of the plugs had only a tiny weak spark and the other one was so weak you could not see it. He was not trying to sell me coils as it was up to me to get them if i wanted and he would install if needed. I checked with a local Yamaha dealer and they were very expensive—like $140 each. I checked ebay and bought new generic coils for $11 each. I figured out how to install them once I tore into it and its not too hard. Took me about 2 hours only because it was my first time getting to them and figuring how to get them out and back in. The result? Well it made a huge difference in power and the issue with the engine bogging down when full throttle is almost gone but still there at extreme throttle. It actually made riding the bike 100% more fun. At this point I think the issue is probably is just dirty carb or maybe valves need adjustment as I do not think they have ever been adjusted. But overall it is so much stronger and accelerates way better so at $22 for coils it is way worth changing them out. The only question is how long they will last being cheap clones. Your thoughts welcomed! Thanks again for all the good info! Lane

      • lstrick115 says:

        Hi Lane,
        I’m just guessing, but I think the coils will last a long time. Glad your bike is running better.
        -Les S.

  19. Mario says:

    with your stories and experience written on this blog you changed my bike so much you wont believe it, I’ll with a massive thank you to share it.
    I must say, you helped me A LOT.
    I almost feel bad to ask you for more, but I’m working on a new speedo and I need your help with wiring. I’ve got an aftermarket, with LEDs and some cables I tried and tried to reconnect, but I can’t make it work. The new speedo as 3 black wires, 1 green(neutral), 1 red(speedo light), 1 blue(high beam), 2 yellow (turning signals). The original connection as only 2 black.
    I figured just some of the connections, but the others really wont work right.

    .. Neutral .. (not working)
    Black – ? (sky/blue)
    Green – ? (brown)
    .. High Beam .. (works)
    Black – Black
    Blue – Yellow
    .. Backlight .. (works)
    Black – Black
    Red – Blue

    Not sure the 2 yellows, they should be connected to a brown green (or brown/white in my case) and a chocolate, but the light will just stay on and it barely flash.

    Neutral just stay alway on also, flashing when the turning lights are on and barely bright down when on neutral (so actually it’s doing the opposite)

    Hopefully you can help me out on this, checked everywhere on the viragotechforum you named once, but couldn’t find a solution.

    Wish you the best,

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Mario,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Here is the stock Virago 250 speedo wiring:
      When you put it in neutral, the neutral switch grounds out the Sky Blue wire which leads to the neutral light. The positive wire for the neutral light is Brown.
      Turn signal indicator light – Chocolate is left, Dark Green is right.
      High Beam indicator light is Yellow wire.
      Speedo illumination light is Blue wire.
      If you have an extra Yellow wire, that might be the wire for the front brake light switch (at the brake lever).
      Black wire is (almost always) ground.

      Hope this helps..
      -Les S.

  20. Dan says:

    Hello Les,
    Great blog with very useful information. I am a new Virago owner and would really like the opportunity to communicate with you one-on one via email or phone. Not sure if you will have the time, but I have a few key questions for you. It might be a bit much to have this communication via comments and replies on this blog. Please let me know if you can make a bit of time for me. Thanks much for creating and maintaining this blog. If you are willing, please reply to my email ID below.
    Thanks and Regards

  21. Lane Turner says:

    Les—getting back to you on my surging and power loss at wide open throttle. The new coils did help but it still struggled at WOT. So not long ago the battery died so I pulled it and found it was almost completely dry. I had never checked it since buying the bike almost a year ago.(my mistake). So I added distilled water and charged up the battery with a portable charger reinstalled it and I soon discovered upon first ride after this it had full acceleration at WOT and was running better than ever!! no struggling at WOT—raps all the way up which is much more fun. Evidently the bike needs all the electrical power it can get and if the battery is not healthy it will starve the system for voltage and things will suffer including spark level etc. Just something to pass on and keep in mind if performance is suffering especially at WOT, Take care—-Lane

  22. lstrick115 says:

    Hi Lane, Glad you figured it out. When I first pulled the battery out of my Virago 250, it had only about 25% of the water left. I think the Virago 250 has a simple charging system and it frequently over-charges the battery. -Les S.

  23. Carsten røjgaard says:

    Hi Les

    The start motor on my Virago ticks, but does not grund the engine – would you know what the problem is – and how difficult is it ti fix?

    Thanks – Carsten

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Carsten,
      I would start with the battery. Clean the terminals and charge it if it needs it. I usually add a 2nd ground wire to bikes. On my Virago 250 I put in a switch to turn off the headlight when cranking (even though it has a relay that does that when you press the starter button).
      Clean the push button starter switch (the parts inside). Check the wire to the starter motor.
      Try jumping it with another battery.
      If none of this helps, it could be the starter mechanism (common problem with older Yamahas) or starter motor. There are several helpful videos on YouTube – search for “virago 250 starter motor”.
      It is not too hard to do if you have used an impact driver and removed engine covers before.
      Hope this helps.
      -Les S.

      • Carsten says:

        Hi Les – Thank you so much. Put a charger on the battery which solved the problem 😊. I guess I drive it too little as I have to choose between my Virago and two other Yamahas. Best regards Carsten

  24. Carsten Røjgaard says:

    Hi Les – my faithfull Virago 1994 is now in the hands of my girlfriend, who just got her MC license last week – and I bought an XVS650 to be able to cruise along with her. Both great bikes and the Virago has no problems keeping up. Weighs 250 pounds less including drivers, I guess that’s why :-).

    Anyway – the steering on the Virago has begun to “stick” a little in center position, as if it wants to stay there unless pushed a little – something it has not done before, and also unlike any other bike I have driven. So I suspect something is not right. Would you have an idea as to what I could be?
    best regards Carsten

    • lstrick115 says:

      Hi Carsten,
      It probably needs new steering head bearings. It has two (upper and lower). This requires the forks to be removed.
      If you see the “Manuals” page of the site, download the Service Manual; steering bearings are discussed in pages 6-19 through 6-30.
      Hope this helps,
      Les S.

      • Carsten Røjgaard says:

        Hi Les – thank you, it makes perfect sense, should have thought about this myself. I guess I did not think about it since it has only about 7.000 miles on it, but maybe age and a broken seal has caused excessive wear. Will take it to my mechanic as this rep is above my pay grade ;-).
        Will have him adjust the valves when he’s at it anyway….

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