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My bikes part 3…

The VX1100 I bought was the last of the Viragos. It was a 1998 SK model. This last model was a bitsa. Seems to me that Yamaha were getting rid of their stock of major Virago parts. My one came with wire spoke wheels and the black tank. I have heard that I could have got the cast wheels if I wished. But there was one thing they fitted that they should have checked. The starting system. More on this later.

I took the sidecar off the VX1000. Took sidecar and XV1100 up to HRD and Ron fitted a new subframe to the VX1100 and set up the side car.

I found that the engine in the XV1100 was rougher than the XV1000. The stroke was longer on the 1100. Also the top speed of the 1100 with the chair fitted was 10kmh slower than the 1000. Don’t ask me how I know. ;-) I just know. Know what I mean.

In 1999 the 1100 and chair took me to Queensland for the Virago Owners Rally. With the 20ltr Jerry can rigged into the fuel system the range of the 1100 was close to 400kms. The Virago comes with a fuel pump so it was very easy to rig in the spare tank.

The trip up was done in torrential rain and I was grateful for the third wheel. So too was the guy who rode his XV250 up to the rally with me. I carried a fair amount of his gear for him.
I was able to get a set of leading links for the bike. This made the steering so light compared to the standard forks. All the leading link cost me was the freight to get the standard forks to Victoria. A guy down there was selling his Virago but keeping the sidecar. He had a set of Bob Martin leading link forks. But didn’t have the standard forks. So we did a swap. The leading link was so good I could ride one handed. I also stopped using the spoked wheels after the trip to Queensland as I had broken 3 spokes in the rear wheel and lost at least two. By rights the rear wheel should have collapsed. So on went the XV1000 cast wheels.

It took 40.000 kms before the starting system showed its ugly head. Sure Yamaha had fixed this problem in previous Viragos. But it seems they fitted the pre-fix starter system. As soon as I had fitted the sidecar after its 1000km first service I void my warranty. So come that fateful day she refused to start I could not yell at Yamaha for them to fix it. It is no fun clutch starting a bike and sidecar. At the same time my wife came down with chronic fatigue. So we had to decide who to what to fix first. No real competition there. Wendy won.

So off the road came the Virago. I am happy to report that Wendy is way better now. Her treatment was very expensive but worth every cent. The Virago has sat in the garage for nearly 3 years now. We thought of throwing money at it and trying to fix it. But that just didn't make sense. We did this to the 1000 and was never able to get it fixed. Soon the outfit will be sold off as is.
Lilly and Heather. Happy sidecar kids.

Before Wendy got sick and before the 1100 stopped starting I bought a 1953 Matchless 350 G3LS. I have always wanted a Brit bike. Of course I should have bought a Vincent Black Shadow. HAHAHA… If only. I bought the Matchless as it was in my price range and it was a single. She runs. Just. Has many none standard parts. Like a Japanese carb. Has the original sidecar mounts on the frame. The tank has been very roughly repaired as it has split around the base. The braze welding is not a good sight down there. She leaves oil on the garage floor. Well come on it is British. This is a long term project to make her a reliable runner. No she won’t be a concourse bike. I want to be able to thump along on her on Sunday afternoons. {Edit this bike was sold to pay a tax bill.. sigh...}

This now brings us up to where this Blog started. With the MZ Traveller.

By my count that makes 12 bikes I have owned. How many more will grace my garage before I leave this earth? Who knows.


  1. Sean & Jenni2 August 2007 at 01:24

    GREAT Stuff!!!!Well worth the wait!!!! Glad to hear Wendy is doing better...sorry to see the side car go...BUT the Matchless 350 is a classic gem! Cheers from across the pond....Sean and Jenni

  2. I just read that your a member of the MZOG Im not wanting to join up, but if your ever over this way then please let me know. Im intending to take my bike out east sometime this summer so Il let you know.

  3. great bikes Ross! very impressive! I can't respond to you on the other site though!



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