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CONVERT AN OLD VIRAGO 750 TO A OFF ROAD BIKE


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I have a old 1981 Mono Shock 750 Virago that I will strip down and Install new off road dirt grabber tires ...This bike has 18357 miles on it and I need a bike to run up and the hills and valleys about 15 minutes from my house ...When I asked and older rider why he quit riding on the roads and highways he tells ..Too many rules , and he says sometimes it just plain fun to make the dirt fly , I am thinking I will give it a try and see how it feels . I do not want to quit riding the highways all together , but I looking for a way out to blow off some steam . 

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Give it a try.  But, dirt bikes are light weight, have large front wheels, high seats, and have more suspension travel for good reasons, so it won't be an ideal dirt bike but have fun with it.  

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Posted (edited)

Brings back memories and sounds like a TON OF FUN!!  I converted a few street bikes over thru the years and one of my favorites of all time two wheel to dirt was a HD Sporty, part of the reason why was the early sporties had plenty of room for an 18" rear wheel,, more on that in a second..  Also,,, along that same line, was converting to 3 wheeler dirt Sporty - LOTS OF FUN with that too - like a BIG motored, BIG gravel tossing Honda 350X,,, soooo much fun!!

My gut tells me your the biggest snag (if it is one,,, depends on how much you want to hook up for climbing those hills and how much gravel you wanna toss) is/may be that 16" rear wheel that is standard on the shaft drive Virago..  I spent many many years on the MX tracks, racing Enduros, Harescrambling and single tracking and, in later years of my dirtbiking, when switching over to the much more "jumpable" mono bikes discovered the huge change that came with the 19" rear wheel scoots.. All of my later year MX bikes (after 1980), including the ones I converted over to "street legal" came with 19" rear wheels.. Unfortunately, unlike my 1960's/70's MX Bikes, those bikes were designed for low profile tires - that I HATED with a passion.. Fortunately for me we were talking spoked wheels so all I had to do was spoke on an 18" rear wheel, true it up and I was able to run my all time favorite 5.60 Cheng Shins (similar to this = https://www.ebay.com/itm/143966297050?epid=1833769749&hash=item21850f5bda:g:4h8AAOSw8yJgPs5j ) which worked UNBELIEVABLY - even on my KX500/CR500 big bore open class bikes..  

The problem with the virago is that it is probably not spoked wheels so, without some major machining and frame altering,, you are, probably going to be stuck with the OEM 16 inch wheel which, possibly may limit your rear tire selection.  This would not be an issue if you are happy running street tires (let it be known, I even classify "dual sport tires" as "street tires" when it comes to dirt biking) which you may be BUT,, I gotta tell ya,, there is NOTHING more thrilling than hooking up in the dirt and being able to haul butt up a hill while lifting the front tire off the ground on a converted street bike,,, just something VERY special about that!!  One place that I did find that alllll that point I was trying to make does not apply = ICE RACING!! Take a converted scoot like your talking about, forget the knobbies!!!! Screw in a couple bags of Kold Kutters (or even run snowmobile studs = CARBIDE!!) into those street tires and pull wheelies across the finish line!! 

LOVE WHERE YOUR GOING WITH THIS BROTHER!! ROLL WITH IT!!

Puc

 

Edited by cowpuc
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6 hours ago, cowpuc said:

Brings back memories and sounds like a TON OF FUN!!  I converted a few street bikes over thru the years and one of my favorites of all time two wheel to dirt was a HD Sporty, part of the reason why was the early sporties had plenty of room for an 18" rear wheel,, more on that in a second..  Also,,, along that same line, was converting to 3 wheeler dirt Sporty - LOTS OF FUN with that too - like a BIG motored, BIG gravel tossing Honda 350X,,, soooo much fun!!

My gut tells me your the biggest snag (if it is one,,, depends on how much you want to hook up for climbing those hills and how much gravel you wanna toss) is/may be that 16" rear wheel that is standard on the shaft drive Virago..  I spent many many years on the MX tracks, racing Enduros, Harescrambling and single tracking and, in later years of my dirtbiking, when switching over to the much more "jumpable" mono bikes discovered the huge change that came with the 19" rear wheel scoots.. All of my later year MX bikes (after 1980), including the ones I converted over to "street legal" came with 19" rear wheels.. Unfortunately, unlike my 1960's/70's MX Bikes, those bikes were designed for low profile tires - that I HATED with a passion.. Fortunately for me we were talking spoked wheels so all I had to do was spoke on an 18" rear wheel, true it up and I was able to run my all time favorite 5.60 Cheng Shins (similar to this = https://www.ebay.com/itm/143966297050?epid=1833769749&hash=item21850f5bda:g:4h8AAOSw8yJgPs5j ) which worked UNBELIEVABLY - even on my KX500/CR500 big bore open class bikes..  

The problem with the virago is that it is probably not spoked wheels so, without some major machining and frame altering,, you are, probably going to be stuck with the OEM 16 inch wheel which, possibly may limit your rear tire selection.  This would not be an issue if you are happy running street tires (let it be known, I even classify "dual sport tires" as "street tires" when it comes to dirt biking) which you may be BUT,, I gotta tell ya,, there is NOTHING more thrilling than hooking up in the dirt and being able to haul butt up a hill while lifting the front tire off the ground on a converted street bike,,, just something VERY special about that!!  One place that I did find that alllll that point I was trying to make does not apply = ICE RACING!! Take a converted scoot like your talking about, forget the knobbies!!!! Screw in a couple bags of Kold Kutters (or even run snowmobile studs = CARBIDE!!) into those street tires and pull wheelies across the finish line!! 

LOVE WHERE YOUR GOING WITH THIS BROTHER!! ROLL WITH IT!!

Puc

 

I would not be doing this especially after spending 10 months of time and $800 on my 83 venture ...Had call from my doctor sayings some of my medical test came out bad and they have pulled my drivers license ...I can't  stop riding so I am going to ride in dirt . I did the same thing to 650 Bonneville in 1969 

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32 minutes ago, BlueSky said:

Be careful.  Dirt riding is more likely to cause crashes than highway riding.

I know what you are referring too ...I rode dirt from 1960 to 1970 ...I rode the semi pro circuit cross country and oval track , accidents can happen when you least are ready for it

 

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