TOP TEN TIPS (for Virago 250 motorcycles)

1)  The magic reflective vest – about $7 or $8.

I got an orange reflective vest for $6.39.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  Immediately, people starting giving me more respect.  For the most part, people stopped pulling out in front of me and also stopped tail-gating.  I have seen many drivers start to change lanes, and then they see me and do not make the lane change.  You should consider wearing a light-colored vest (yellow, orange, or green) when you ride a motorcycle.

reflective vest - it's magic

I do a few more things that can make drivers notice me better:  I wear a white helmet, and I have a white front license plate (black letters) and two front auxiliary driving lights (white, but yellow is better).

Two very important ways to avoid collisions on a bike is to increase your following distance and wear a reflective vest.

Get a vest – you will be amazed – and your spouse/significant other will rest a little easier when you are out on the bike………

2)  The weak rear brake on the Virago 250 is actually a safety feature  (“poor man’s ABS”).  I have never locked up the rear brake on the XV250, but on my other bike I have locked up the rear brake (and sliding/fishtailing) several times in emergency stops on I95.  In most motorcycle accidents, the front brake is applied too lightly and the rear brake is applied too hard.   If you have a Virago 250, practice using the front brake more effectively.

3)  On low-powered bikes like the Virago 250,  weight reduction makes a big difference in increased performance  (improved acceleration and reduce stopping distances), especially with wheels and tires which reduce rotating weight and unsprung weight.
I took some seats out of my car this year (weight 90 lbs – I noticed a huge difference in low speed acceleration and hill-climbing ability), and my wife had to yell at me for a month until I put them back in.
Please see this posting:     http://wp.me/p1LWaM-sy    “Make your Virago 250 faster – take off the weight”

4)  Blind spot flashers – aimed forward and to the sides – at about a 45° angle – I believe that they help prevent cars from pulling into your lane when you are in their blind spot and they can’t see you.  They can be used two different ways –
a) leave them “on” continuously when in heavy traffic, or
b) turn them on for only a few seconds when you see a car looking to go into your lane, and then immediately turn them off.

blind spot flashers face forward at a 45 degree angle---

5)  It is  easy to grease wheel bearings yourself.   This works for my bike, but your bike might be different.
1)  Carefully remove the rubber grease seals with a small screwdriver.
2a) Remove wheel bearing, remove old grease, and pack bearing with new grease, OR do it the easy way –
2b) With grease seal removed, remove the old grease from the metal bearing cover. The cover has holes, so you can use the rubber grease seal to force fresh grease through these holes into the bearings.  Put fresh grease on the metal bearing cover, then carefully push the rubber grease seal to make a little hydraulic pressure which will force the grease through the holes. Do it maybe 3 or 4 times until you see grease coming out the other side.

wheel bearing and seal_
wheel bearings and grease seals

6)  “Partially expose front sprocket” by removing lower part of front sprocket cover.

Advantages of this mod:
1) You can remove the front sprocket or chain without having to remove the front sprocket cover.
2) 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.
3) You get the  more mechanical “look” of having an exposed front sprocket, but with some safety since the top part is retained.

delete L side plastic cover, polish + waterproof volt reg, expose front sprocket by removing lower part of cover-p-c

I do not recommend this mod as it reduces safety. (If you do it anyway, make sure your chain is in excellent condition and you always wear boots when you ride.)

7)  If your air filter has a foam element, use only  real air filter oil. (I used olive oil and the wind blew it all over me and the bike.) You can lose a lot of power and your air filter won’t even look dirty – so clean or replace it once a year.

air filter oil
air filter oil2

8)  The voltage regulator runs too hot  on some Virago 250’s – I measured the temperatures on mine and listed some of them below.
Basically, mine stays cool if the bike is moving, but gets too hot in stop-and-go traffic or idling.

delete L side plastic cover, polish + waterproof volt reg, expose front sprocket by removing lower part of cover-closeup persp lum crv lbl

Common reading of voltage regulator:
106° F to 109° F (at 79° F ambient – on the highway at 65 mph)

Highest reading:
125° F (when moving over 50 mph – ambient 88° F)
152° F (in stop-and-go traffic – ambient 88° F)

Lowest reading:
86° F (when moving over 50 mph – ambient 66° F)
Do not idle the Virago 250 for more than about a minute, if possible.
The voltage regulator will get too hot – idling for 3 minutes it will go up to 142 degrees F or more.

Common reading:
41° C to 43° C  (at 26° C ambient – on the highway at 105 kph)

Highest reading:
52° C (when moving over 80 kph – ambient 31° C)
67° C (in stop-and-go traffic – ambient 31° C)

Lowest reading:
30° C (when moving over 80 kph – ambient 19° C)
Do not idle the Virago 250 for more than about a minute, if possible.
The voltage regulator will get too hot – idling for 3 minutes it will go up to 61 degrees C or more.