DNA + Virago = cool bobber

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5622
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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DNA + Virago = cool bobber

Post by Prof » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:18 pm

Steve caught up with me and wondered if we could throw a springer onto his rigid 250 Virago. He was keen to be part of the process and we fixed a weekend to do the job. He brought the bike up and we measured up for the springer, but didn't have the time available to pull the front end off and check the bearing sizes. Alternatives would be to either space HD bearings in the virago or make a new headstem for the springer to match the virago bearings.

Friday morning came with three days expeted to be required to get onto the job with Steve and his wife making a bit of a weekend away of it.

I had pre-ordered the DNA springer, stock HD length and a brake caliper, but now brake mounts were in stock, so one would have to be made, which seemed the best way to go as the Virago rotor was a slightly different diameter anyway...
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The headlight mount on the springers are too high and not all that substantial so first job was to mark up under the bottom tree for a couple of blind threads for M8...
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The head stem protudes a couple of mm so had to trim it in the lathe...
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Square used with a calipers to get the holes evenly marked...
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For good looks we didn't want the drill to go all the way through the bottom tree so measure the tree thickness minus 2mm with a depth gauge and marked the drill bit with electrical tape...
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Holes drilled and threaded using first a taper tap followed by a bottoming tap. A couple of stainless socket head cap screws will do the job. There is a fair bit of bounce on a springer and the headlight plus substantial bracket are too heavy to use M6 bolts...
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While I am doing this Steve gets the front end and all that goes with it off and out of the way...
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I then work out what to do to match the springer to the Virago and guide Steve in fabbing the headlight bracket out of 6mm stainless...
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The Virago bearings are very very stuffed and because they are less than half a mm smaller than the HD bearings, we pull out the original outers. Easy way to do this is run a bead of weld around the inside causing the race to shrink enough to virtually drop out...
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Forgot to take photos of the next steps, but I was able to carefully linish the HD outer races so they would tap in to the original mounts. Steering head is about 5mm longer than the HD, but the whole shebang just fits. Springer's steering lock is restricted by its narrow top tree and the Virago steering is wider than HD, so the outer metal of the neck (they have two layers) is panel beaten until the springer leg ...
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... just clears the tank (red arrow) Steering lock has to be cut off and the hole is filled with body putty (white arrow) ...
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Now for the wheel. Virago wheel and a matching sized, but longer axle are used. The Virago axle is 16 mm versus HD 19mm, so bushes are made for each rocker...
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Wheel is centred...
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... and spacers measured up and machined...
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Here's the right hand spacer. Smaller diameter fits inside the Virago wheel bearing rubber seal. Rest of diameter is kept as large as rocker diameter for maximum stiffness...
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Length is measured up for the left hand brake side...
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Brake caliper as to be free to move as the rockers move, so bronze top hat spacer and retaining washer is machined up. Stainless tube is machined up to be a close fit on the spacer. Brake mount will be welded to this...
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So far, so good. Looks cool...
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Caliper to rotor needs some clearance. A piece of electrical wire laid on the rotor does the job...
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Caliper put on and a visual check is made to ensure the brake pads locate correctly on the rotor. Now brake mount can be made...
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It is fitted to the axle bushing with a slightly taller section to mount the brake retaining arm...
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Caliper has two mounts. A second piece of 10mm stainless is set up and welded. Two pieces are 'v'd' front and back to allow full penetration of weld...
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Now can be welded to axle bush...
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I use a pair of heim joints. These and the springer are 3/8" imperial, so imperial bolts are used front and rear to reduce slop (On metric bikes I use metric fasteners where ever possible). Rear bolt is safety wired with some stainless mig wire. Front bolt screws into brake mount so acorn nut can be used as a lock nut...
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Unfortunately, being a post 1988 machine, the Virago needs indicators to keep Mr Man in Black off Steve's back. After much discussion, we decide tap m6 holes in the front of the bottom triple tree. They are only 10mm deep so will not affect strength. Again using taper and bottoming tap...
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We originally planned them to sit behind the back leg, but move them to the front instead. Blue arrow shows just a few mm clearance between the headlight bracket and lowest point of front leg cross piece...
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While I was doing much of what has gone before, Steve removes his stock forwards, so he can have them set up with aftermarket folders. He cuts the old footpeg tabs off and I weld on some square Anderson peg mounts. One on the left has been linished...
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New pegs mounted up... much nicer...
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Steve wants to clean up the bars and the first to go is the choke lever on the left side. We are able to use the stock choke mechanism and remount it to an existing m6 threaded hole on the frame... just a job of a much shortened choke cable...
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It is now late Sunday and approaching dark so there is no time to set up a new guard. We use his old guard temporarily mounted to the front legs with hose clamps. To make sure it won't hit the wheel on a heavy bump, we use a G clamp to pull the front legs up to full compression and mounted up the guard. Forgot pics in our rush. I tell Steve to keep a watch on the guard in case it slips down towards the wheel.

Steve has to go, so without an opportunity to do a test run, I insist on riding with him to McLaren Vale in case any problems show up. The Virago is a very light bike and I have told Steve he will need softer springs. I rid along side him watching the rockers... they barely move in on the bumpy Mclaren Vale/Willunga main road.

Tailight is not working, so we fool around looking for the fuse. Find a couple and they are ok. Tail light globe is a tight fit in one of those silly tiny after market so called 'old school' rear lights and we discover the globe when we finally get it out is faulty. But still no light. A couple of fellows and a lady roll up and come over and fossick around in the wiring mess, finally finding what turns out to be the taillight fuse. Replace that and still no joy. I figure the wiring under the guard (which is very close to the tyre) is damaged, but he has to get moving. One of the blokes has a small battery powered LED red light and they tape that to the guard mount. All of this takes close to an hour...
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Fuelled up and the taillight glowing, Steve mounts up and takes off...
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I text him later that night (he is out the other side of the city) and he made it home ok. Spoke to him recently and he has put some miles on the little chopper and despite the hard ride is really happy with the end result.

PS the taillight wire was worn through under the guard.

Lesson for chopper builders... keep all fuses together and easily accessible and take care with wiring under the guard. I always run rear wires along side of guard (inside) in a plastic hose which is big enough to allow the wires to be pulled through. Colour code all wires so they are easily traced. Always wire assuming when something goes wrong, it will be at night, in the rain and when you are in a hurry!
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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