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Factory official release picture of black V-twin cruiser motorcycle Yamaha Virago

Yamaha XV Motorcycle

Virago motorcycle was first introduced in US as a result of extensive market research done by Ed Burke and years of innovations done by Japanese engineers. Ed noticed the popularity of customisation in US and passion of bike riders to remake the common road and street models into more luxurious looking cruiser motorcycles. The word "Virago" comes from Latin word virāgō which amongst others means female warrior, women with a strong spirit and strength.

First V-twin Cruiser

The first introduced model was 1981 Yamaha Virago 750 with 748cc engine. It featured an air cooled shaft driven V-twin engine, air-adjustable front forks, cast aluminium wheels, high handlebars and comfortable stepped seat. As a first mass produced motorcycle it was fitted with rear mono-shock suspension.

While bikers in US liked the new 750cc model, the Europe was little more conservative. Their preference in road motorcycles made Yamaha to take a step back and in 1981 introduce XV920R, which was in fact improved Yamaha XV 750, but with old fashioned look and chain drive, never the less, bikers weren’t impressed and production of this model was ceased in 1983.

Similar model Yamaha 920 (XV920) was also introduced in US in 1982, it had double brake discs, adjustable handle bars and LCD display control panel.

New model and new image of 1984

In late 1983 an import tax was introduced in US on motorcycles with engines larger than 700cc as a protection to local market, namely the production of Harley Davidson. Yamaha quickly adjusted and introduced two new motorcycles.

One below the tax threshold - the Virago XV700 had a truly custom motorcycle image. Beside the 699cc engine, the rear suspension changed to swing arm with twin shock absorbers, tear drop tank, stacked tandem mufflers, win front disc brakes and wide luxurious seat. The new chopper style was finished with chrome and gold accents. The production of XV700 stopped in 1988 when the additional tax was dropped and XV750 was re-introduced.

And one incurring the additional tax – The Virago 1000 (XV1000) had the new image and improved 1000cc engine, which was few years later again enlarged to create Virago 1100 (XV1100).

As with many other Yamaha motorcycles, there was a diversification in engine size to suit various markets.

XV125 – Yamaha Virago 125 bike was born in hope to bring Yamaha cruisers to Asia, where smaller engines were preferred.
XV250 – Yamaha Virago 250 targeted learner drivers both in Europe and US
XV400 – Yamaha Virago 400 was mainly sold in Japan due to different tax system
XV500 – Yamaha Virago 500 was a smaller version of XV535 introduced in Europe in 1992 to comply with tax and law of some countries
XV535 - Yamaha Virago 535 bike was introduced to Europe in 1987 and became immediate hit.  A Deluxe upgrade followed in 1998.

The end of Virago series came in 2008 when large V-shape engines were remodelled and the V-star and Road Star motorcycles were born.

Yamaha Virago Parts

The attempt of Yamaha Motor Company to bring variety of models to the market to prevent home customisation have failed yet again. Despite the popularity, many XV models were transformed to resemble Café Racer or Bobber.

As motorcycle models evolved so did parts, some are still being used nowadays and are available from Yamaha dealers directly, some were made obsolete. We offer a small range of the most desired aftermarket parts on the market so check out our selection of parts below!

 For more information about the history of Yamaha Virago visit Motorcyclist Online or get in touch with members of the Virago OwnersClub