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

Please check out this posting:

Virago 250 – Do not buy chrome parts – just polish the parts that are already on the bike. Here is the link:  http://wp.me/p1LWaM-6w   

I updated it today.

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I am not finished polishing the right side, but I decided to work on the left side anyway.  What I am doing:

· 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.
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Virago 250 – changes for 2013

  I think this is all the changes for 2013 – if I find any more I will add to this post …

1) New handlebar design consists of a flat bar with chromed risers.  Yamaha claims that this new handlebar improves the riding position, rider comfort, and styling.

2) 60/55-watt, Xenon headlight

3) 2013 color is  Deep Blue

2013 Yamaha V-Star 250 US MSRP Price:  $4,290  USD

(for the 2012 model, the color was Raven (black) and the US MSRP was $4,190 USD )

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Today’s random thought –
Always expect the unexpected.
The object that is about to hit you, you probably do not see it yet.

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A plastic ATV gas tank on a Virago 250 – how bad would it look?

   

     A plastic ATV gas tank on a Virago 250 – how bad would it look?  (Pretty bad, but the gas tank has a sunroof – which is an unexpected bonus.)

Best $6.35 I ever spent and a driving technique to help “blind spot drivers” to see you – please see “The Magic continues” at bottom of post.  If you drive in heavy traffic, this could change your riding experience forever.

I just experimented with putting a plastic gas tank on my Virago 250 to reduce the weight of my bike.  The frame below the tank is 3 5/8 inches wide but since it is off-center (about .75 inch to the left side), the tank would need to have a 4.5 inch tunnel width.  I decided to get a tank from a motocross bike or ATV as they are a little cheaper than other tanks – but I knew that it would not look too good.  I got a Yamaha Warrior (ATV) gas tank for $17.95 shipped.

(I also looked at the Yamaha Blaster tanks – but they were more money and they have a flat bottom, so they will not fit the Virago 250 as well as the Warrior gas tank.  If I did this again, I would try gas tanks from a Honda CRF80F, XR70, Lifan LF70, or Buell Blast.)

I might be the first person to ever put a Yamaha Warrior gas tank on a Virago 250 (probably the only person).  The tank is scratched and does not have the decorative cover, so, as expected, it looks pretty bad.  The tank can be put on facing frontwards or backwards – that is a clue that this is probably the wrong tank for this bike. It looks OK from 100 feet, unless you have good vision.  The tunnel width was fine near the front, but there is not enough tunnel height, so it is like you raised the stock tank about four inches – there is a lot of open space now. I am not fussy about looks – my main problem with the tank was that it was too wide in back.  I reduced the tank width at the back from 13 to 11 inches and the width is not a problem now.  As far as the looks, these plastic tanks usually have a cover anyway – I have to think about getting a cover or just putting some sort of tank badge on it.

After a few days I found that once you got past the looks, the Warrior gas tank has several benefits:
1) It really opens up the space below the tank, which gives the bike a different look.  You can see more of the parts, which gives the bike an old, vintage look.
2) It is easier to adjust the valves and carburetor.
3) The carb is visible now so you can easily polish both sides close to a chrome finish.

4) Weight reduction of 3.6 pounds  or 1.6 kilograms (4.3 lbs if you leave the fuel pump off – I tried it, but my bike did not run well).  The tank cover weighs 13 ounces, so after adding that, the weight reduction is 2.8 pounds or 1.3 kilograms.  If I put the time in to refinish the tank, I could get away with not using a gas tank cover.  It covers only the top half of the tank, so for the Virago 250, it really is a  gas tank half-cover.
5) The rear of the tank is open from the top, so you can store about 190 cubic inches of gear.
6) As you drive, you can see the engine and carburetor through the opening in the rear of the tank, which is pretty cool (you can add LEDs, too), plus if you have an engine problem, you will be the first to know.  As you drive, you also get a decent breeze coming up from the opening.  Also, you can hear the engine through the opening.  At first, I disliked the opening in the rear of the tank, but now it has turned out to pretty cool.

The Warrior ATV gas tank weighs about 4.1 pounds without the petcock and holds 2.4 gallons.

update 5/30/12The End  –  My experiment using the plastic ATV tank is over – I put the stock tank back on last night.  I am going to miss having it, but the looks bothered me even though I usually don’t care about that (in other words:  it was really ugly).  On the Virago 250, the petcock hides the left side of the carb and the fuel pump hides the right side of the carb, both of these polish up almost to chrome, so if I wanted to expose them more, I could probably change petcocks and relocate the fuel pump a little.

If you ever change gas tanks, make sure that you mount it properly leveled.  This is just an example, but for example if the rear is too low, the 2.4 gallon tank would only have 1.6 gallons that are usable – so you might  run out of gas at 136 miles  instead of at 203 miles.  Also you could run out of gas when you are out in the middle of nowhere.  You might take this as a sign that plastic is not for you, and you might re-install your stock tank as soon as get home.  Please do not ask me why I am mentioning this.

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The stock Virago 250 gas tank
weighs about 8 pounds including the petcock, and the dimensions (approx.) are:  18 inches long, tunnel width near the top of the tunnel is 4 inches, near the bottom is 5 inches, height is 9 inches, width is 12.5 inches front, 10 inches mid-way, and 5 inches near the back.  Capacity is 2.5 gallons, which is about 1.75 gallons Main and about .75 gallon Reserve (the exact amount is somewhere between .73 and .87 gallon).  If you get 82 mpg, Main will take you to about 137 miles, then Reserve will take you about 62 miles.  If you get 92 mpg, Main will take you to about 154 miles, then Reserve will take you about 69 miles.

The longest distance I have ever actually driven on Reserve is 47 miles.  At the time I was getting about 85 mpg.     edit – I predict that next year I will figure out that in nine more miles, I would be pushing the bike (out of gas) – please see this post http://wp.me/p1LWaM-BM

Whoa – that last paragraph was confusing – the longest I ever went on Reserve was 47 miles – I did not know it then but I would have run out of gas at 56 miles.

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Yamaha Virago 250 Fuel Line and Vacuum Line routing

Click on picture to make larger.
Thanks to Lee E. for the question.
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You can just remove your tank if you want to clean and polish the carburetor like I did.  If you want to re-mount the stock gas tank higher, keep in mind that a full tank weighs 24.2 pounds – gas tanks have to be mounted very securely.

                     

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The Magic continues …….
I continue to be amazed by this orange reflective vest that I bought recently.  For the most part, people have 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.

6/11/12 
“The Magic Vest Challenge” – Coming home this afternoon, I95 was backed-up for miles ( this is normal).  Drivers would start to cut in front of me, then they would change their mind. I kept thinking “this car will do it”, “this one will do it”, and nobody did – nobody pulled in front of me.   If you buy a reflective vest (mine cost $6.39 shipped) and use it for a week – I think that, like me, you will not care how goofy it looks.

7/17/12
A driving technique to help “blind spot drivers” to see you:
I have ridden 2,900 miles since I got this  $6.39 vest.  I drive in heavy traffic (I95 in Connecticut) a lot, and other drivers have basically stopped pulling out in front of me and also have stopped tail-gating.  The only exception is the “blind spot drivers” – they still pull out in front of me or beside me in my lane – and the orange vest does not help because I am in their blind spot.  I am thinking now on how to reduce the danger of these “blind spot drivers”.

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reducing blind spot drivers idea #1 (front emergency flashers – short duration)

8/30/12    Today I installed two amber 22 LED emergency lights with flasher.  I connected the headlight to a toggle switch so I could use the high/low beam switch for the emergency flashers (mounted in front). I will turn the flashers on (only for a few seconds) when I see an offending driver.  I mounted the 22 LED lights to get the most brightness at about a 45 degree angle out from the front of the bike – many of the offending cars come from this direction.  Do not use this technique near intersections or any cross-traffic – they might be able to see only one side flashing and they could think you are turning and pull out in front of you.  Use this only for “blind spot drivers” who seem to not see you – do not use it for aggressive drivers who see you but want to pull in front of you.  The only purpose of this technique is to send a little extra light to the offending drivers in the hopes it will help them to see you even though you are in their blind spot.  You have to be very selective on when to use this technique.  I think it is more effective than idea #2 plus it is much easier to do.  Idea #2 requires more focus to make sure you chose the left or right signal plus shutting it off quickly.  Idea #1 (front emergency flashers) you can use more often, since the brightest light is going out only from the front at about a 45 degree angle and so it can’t be seen by all the drivers  – only the ones that need to see it.

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reducing blind spot drivers idea #2 (turn signal – short duration)

7/17/12  – I have been trying turning the turn signal on and then quickly off on the same side as the offending driver –  and so far it seems to help a lot.  If you try this, practice so you can have the turn signal blink  only 2 times – this way other drivers will think you changed your mind about changing lanes.  I added more turn signals for more brightness – position your front turn signals so you get more brightness at about a 45 degree angle out from the front of the bike – many of the offending cars come from this direction.  Do not use this technique near intersections or any cross-traffic – they could think you are turning and pull out in front of you.  Use this only for “blind spot drivers” who seem to not see you – do not use it for aggressive drivers who see you but want to pull in front of you.  The only purpose of this technique is to send a little extra light to the offending drivers in the hopes it will help them to see you even though you are in their blind spot.  You have to be very selective on when to use this technique – so far, for me I think it helps.

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What’s next……….. there is a lot more wind now than there was when I was  kid – been thinking about this:
         

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Today’s random thought – Never drive more than 15 to 20 mph faster than the lane beside you – speed differential is very dangerous if you are on a motorcycle.
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virago250street.com – where seldom is heard, a discouraging word.

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Planned changes to my bike – How to make your Virago 250 look a little different from the rest Part II

Continue reading

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Small v-twins from around the world – Part 16 – nice photos (scenery or background)

Here are pictures of Yamaha Virago 125’s and 250′s and other 250cc v-twins from around the world.
   

Run your mouse over each picture to see what country the bike is from (if available).
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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How to ride a motorcycle and live to be 60 years old

     (in order of risk reduction)

1)  Wear a yellow, orange, or green reflective vest (Ansi 2 or 3)

2)  Wear a full coverage helmet

3)  Run your headlight in the daytime

4)  Wear a white helmet

5)  Wear two inch wide yellow, orange, or green reflective arm bands – one per side

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How to make your Virago 250 look a little different from the rest – and at low cost

  You can buy aftermarket air filter covers,

        

but just modifying the stock air filter pods yourself is an easy way to help make your Yamaha Virago 250 look a little different from the rest.  You can add some small vents (see below) or velocity stacks to the stock air filter housings. 

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 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 scroll up/down wheel on your mouse while holding the “Ctrl” key. 
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Most of the stick-on air vents and emblems that you see are hard plastic, so they won’t fit flat on rounded air pods.

        
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Stick-on air diffusers are available that are hard plastic, but are only 1/2 inch wide (or 13 mm) so they would fit your rounded air pods a little better than the bigger air vents.  With some modification, you might could get them to fit flat.
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  They are not too common, but some of the stick-on air vents are flexible plastic, so they will fit your rounded air pods.  They can be used on gas tanks and sidecovers, but you might not want to put too many vents on your bike – they need to look natural and at least a little realistic and sort of blend in. 


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Another idea is to paint the air filter pods, or add a decal.  Also, you can add a gauge to the air filter pod or to a cover you can put over the fuel pump.

         
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This is probably hard to do – but making 3 or 4 cuts in the stock air filter covers to look like vents might look cool.


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For other ideas for air filter mods, please see this posting:   http://wp.me/p1LWaM-ek   Virago 250′s from around the world – Part 12 – Air Filter mods

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Removing the stock chrome cylinder head covers will give your engine a different look and will reduce your bike’s weight by 2.6 pounds or 1.2 kg.

The bad thing about removing the chrome cylinder head covers is that it leaves the brackets exposed (the brackets that the chrome cylinder head covers are bolted to).  You should not remove these brackets because the bolts that hold the brackets are the cylinder head bolts. 

I do not intend to put my chrome cylinder head covers back on, so I broke off most of the brackets.  I would not recommend doing this, but if you do, be very careful.  No matter how careful you are, you will scratch or mark something, and you could damage the gas tank or engine.  If you remove the chrome cylinder head covers, most of the brackets, and the chrome hanger, you will reduce your bike’s weight by 3.05 pounds or 1.4 kg. 

   I like chrome, but I actually like the bike without the cylinder head covers.  I cleaned off most of the dirt and it looks better than I thought it would.  There are seven tiny fins on the top of the head.  Because I removed the brackets, there is a little more room for adjusting the valves.  For more room, I also removed the crankcase vent tube and the clip that holds it – the clip is located right by the rear exhaust valve so that will definitely add a little more room for valve adjustment.
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       Most of the world’s Virago 250 owners have not put anything over the familiar stock six-sided fuel pump – so this is good area to make your Virago 250 look a little different from the rest.  You can cover it with a chrome air filter cover or something similar.

   

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     If you have removed your chrome cylinder head covers, and you are not going to put them back on, you can actually use one of those to cover your fuel pump and another to cover your fuel petcock. 

The chrome cylinder head covers look great on top of the engine, but wait until you see how nice they look off the bike.  They are quite an art object, and there are four of them.  They are not made of steel – maybe some sort of aluminum – the chrome plating is excellent and using Windex they polish up great.  Use aluminum polish on the two washers to get them shiny like chrome.  They are plated on only one side, so only one side will polish to a shine.

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Above is a Lifan LF250B with a chrome fuel pump cover.

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Painting the front hub and/or front disc brake caliper gold (or other color) can make your bike look different – gold hubs or calipers are seldom seen on Virago 250’s.

           
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Polishing can improve the looks of your bike.  There are many parts to polish, but these five made the biggest difference in my bike:

1) The fuel pump – Chromed Steel – use steel wool first, then polish, then wax.  It is unbelievable how nice it looks after you polish it (easy to do)
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 after you have completed polishing (hard to do)

Polishing and waxing spokes improves the looks and helps prevent rusting

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

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

 

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

For more about polishing the Virago 250, please see this post:  http://wp.me/p1LWaM-6w Virago 250 – Do not buy chrome parts – just polish the parts that are already on the bike.
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Virago 250′s from around the world – Part 15 – colors of the world

Here are pictures of Yamaha Virago 250′s from around the world.
Click on each picture to make larger.
Run your mouse over each picture to see what country the bike is from (if available).

 

   

   

   

   

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Adding a centerstand to a Virago 250 – updated Nov 6, 2012

I added a SWM centerstand that is made for the European model V-Star XVS125 and XVS250.

It is not an exact fit, so it was a little difficult to install and it does not work perfectly like a factory centerstand should, but it is fine if you are not fussy.

I tried different springs (that hold it up against the frame when not in use), but I could not get it to hold the centerstand up, so I added a magnet. I used construction adhesive to attach it, and it has stayed on for over six months.

The center stand is mounted a little more forward than normal, so when I need the rear tire to be off the ground, I have to hang some weights on the front wheel. My footpegs are moved back; weight distribution would be better with the footpegs in the original position.

I do not trust or use sidestands so I removed the sidestand.
I saw a guy on a Suzuki 750 WB go down on the highway because his sidestand was down.
I also saw a mint Harley fall over because the sidestand was not all the way out.
Sidestands cause a lot more trouble than centerstands. From the 1960’s until about 20 years ago, bikes came with centerstands, and sidestands were optional – now things are opposite.

The sidestand weighs 1.5 lbs and the centerstand that I added weighs 4.3 lbs.

Thanks to Darren from Australia for asking about adding the centerstand.

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    The posting below is  from Yves Petit of Canada.

    I have not seen his center-stand, but it seems to be very well made and is probably much more stable than the center-stand that I have.

Submitted on 2012/11/06 at 10:03 am

Hi everyone,

I bought my V-Star 2012 this summer and to my great disapointment, I realized once home that it had no centerstand. All my previous bikes had centerstands. I was sure Yamaha offered it as an option but no…not available. After reading what Les had to say about the SWM centerstand, I set out to design one. I have it on since one week and it does the job.

I recently changed the drive sprockets (see other post  http://wp.me/p1LWaM-13 ) and I don’t know how I could have taken the rear wheel off without a centerstand!

The centerstand attaches to the existing “ears” which I suppose are remmants of the the former Yamaha centerstand. The spring atttaches to the flat bar that links the two tubes of the cradle underneath the bike. See photos below.

I can have some manufactured and shipped to those who would like to have one. Sunil, who posted previously and I are surely not the only ones for whom a centerstand is essential. My price is $200 complete with spring, pivot pins and excluding shipping. Let me know and we can work out the payment.

Yves Petit
Canada
email to:  yp251@yahoo.ca

     

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Today’s random thought – When in traffic, pay the most attention to the cars slightly ahead of you that could cause you a problem – most of the time, you will get some sort of clue (early warning) that they are going to pull in front of you.

If you speed up and pass the cars, continue to watch the cars when they are beside you, as they still are a threat to you.  Peripheral vision (side vision) is extremely important to motorcyclists, especially if you ride in heavy traffic.

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December 25, 2011 Happy Holidays !

For all you Yamaha Virago 250 fans out there, did you ever notice that the old Yamaha logo would make a good holiday ornament? 

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My most popular posting (the one that is read the most) is “Other small v-twins (other than Virago 250)“, even though it really was not that great.  I have been updating it recently, so you might want to check it out:
http://wp.me/p1LWaM-4j
To go along with that, here is a cool picture of a 250cc v-twin that is not a Yamaha Virago 250:

      

The Kymco Venox 250 has dual overhead cams, eight valves, twin carburetors, water cooling, and weighs 445 pounds wet.
(The Yamaha Virago 250 has SOHC, four valves, one carburetor, air cooling, and weighs 328 pounds wet.)

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.

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I usually focus on 250cc v-twins, but here is a cool picture that is not a v-twin – it is 250cc, though.


The Aermacchi Chimera 250cc was produced from 1958 to 1964, and was used in racing. It had a 4-speed transmission, and the early models had a top speed of over 110 km/h or 68 mph. The engine was a single cylinder OHV producing 22 bhp at 8,000 rpm in 1960. The power increased to 28 bhp in 1962 and, after three years, it was increased to 30 bhp at 10,000 rpm. In the 1960’s, Harley-Davidson acquired 50% of Aermacchi stock.

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I never heard of these before (the picture on the left).  This might be a great idea because it can make your Yamaha Virago 250 look a little different from the rest.  I am going to try to add some small vents or velocity stacks to the stock air filter housings (the picture on the right) to see how it comes out.

  

For other ideas for air filter mods, please see this posting:   http://wp.me/p1LWaM-ek   Virago 250′s from around the world – Part 12 – Air Filter mods

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I never heard of these before, either (the picture below.)  It is a 12 volt LED indicator light with a buzzer – you could connect these to get an audible signal when you use your turn signals.  Last summer, I put two regular LED bulbs up high on the inside of my windshield, and I still forget to turn off the turn signals sometime.

update 1/28/12 – I bought two of these – I paid less than $2.00 for the pair including shipping.  The buzzer part sounds good and you can hear it fine at low speeds.  At 35 mph sometimes you can hear it and sometimes you can’t – it depends on the wind and how loud your bike is.  The sound is more pleasing than you would think coming from something called a “buzzer”.   If you have a small bike like the Yamaha Virago 250 (usually small bikes have only a modest alternator output) there is another benefit – at idle the buzzer’s volume is reduced.  So with your engine at idle at a light with your signals “on”, the buzzer/light will not be too loud so as to bother people, and once the light changes, as you accelerate, the buzzer will get louder.  This works great, as you don’t need to hear the buzzer while sitting at a traffic light – you need to hear it after the light has changed and you are under way again.   

                                                                                    

 Hope everyone has a Happy Holidays !               -Les S.

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Virago 250’s from around the world – Part 14 – modified bikes

Here are pictures of  customized Yamaha Virago 250′s from around the world.
Click on each picture to make larger.  Run your mouse over each picture to see what country the bike is from (if available).

    
   
    
           
           
           
           
       

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How to ride a motorcycle and live to be 60 years old

(in order of risk reduction)

1)  Wear a yellow, orange, or green reflective vest (Ansi 2 or 3)

If you ever ride in traffic, you should try it –

I just started wearing one a few weeks ago, and for the most part, drivers do not pull in front of me.

2)  Wear a full coverage helmet

3)  Run your headlight in the daytime

4)  Wear a white helmet

5)  Wear two inch wide yellow, orange, or green reflective arm bands – one per side

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Virago 250′s from around the world – Part 12 – Air Filter mods

  

Here are pictures of  Air Filter mods on Yamaha Virago 250′s from around the world.
Most of the pictures are maximun size, so clicking on them will not make them larger.
Run your mouse over each picture to see what country the bike is from (if available).   

CLICK to enlarge

    

    

    

                   

            

    

CLICK on photo to make larger

     

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For an easy way to  help other drivers see you better,  and a driving technique to help “blind spot drivers” to see you, please see this post:

http://wp.me/P1LWaM-lj    A plastic ATV gas tank on a Virago 250 – how bad would it look?

This will help other drivers see you better, even if you are an aggressive driver.

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