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Yamaha Virago 1100


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For people used to riding a normal bike the Virago takes some getting used to. Riding along at a reasonable speed and the wind tries to splay your legs apart which is a bit uncomfortable, however that aside it's a relatively comfy bike to ride. The seat is super comfortable, it's like sitting in your favourite armchair and its well sprung. I'd wanted one of these for a while and originally wanted the tiddler of the Viragos the 535cc, but after looking into the performance I ended up with an 1100cc. This sounds like it should be super fast however it is infact about as quick as a 400cc bike and soon runs out of puff at about 130kms/hr. Of course the bike wasn't designed to be raced about and is happier chugging about at more legal speeds which it does does expertly.

I picked up my 1997 special edition model (the one with the fancy tank badges and all enclosed rear suspension units) from a chap near the German border a trip of about 90mins from my house. It was in his barn covered in blankets and when he pulled the blankets off I was shocked and surprised to find a bike with 3500kms on the clock and sparkly chrome looking like it had just come off the factory floor. I had to have it. The bloke wouldn't shift much on the price, but I did get a bit knocked off. His wife told us he'd stopped riding because he was scared of it .

I collected it the following weekend and drove home at temperatures close to zero. I've never been so cold in my life 90mins of icey winds, proved almost too much and when I got home I had to sit in a hot bath to get warmed up.

The bike now has almost 11000kms on the clock.

Handling:- weird, because of the sitting position, but once you get used to it, it goes round corners pretty well

Brakes - Reasonably good

Comfort - Good

Engine - not fast but adequate, inspite of 1100cc (glad I didn't get the 535)

Shaft drive - wonderful - no chains to adjust and nice clean back wheel and frame (always)

Low centre of gravity - The bike is heavy but because of the low centre of gravity it's a synch to move about, even for me

Enjoyment Factor - High - there is nothing nicer than chugging around the countryside in the summer with my visor up. it truely is a wonderful bike.

Bad bits about ownership.

1. These bikes tend to have a problem with the starters and mine is no exception, sometimes it works and other time there is just a click when you press the starter. This is a fault on these models. If I rock mine in gear if frees off the sticking starter and it will start up.

2. Oil light can come one when the machine is on its side stand. This is another issue with these bikes, even though there is plenty of oil in the engine.

3. Need to own shares in Solvol chrome cleaner. There's so much chrome on this bike its almost a full time job to keep up to it, but it looks glorious all polished up.

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