Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than the clank of a spanner, the ratchet of a socket wrench, or the whir of an impact driver. Many motorcyclists turn to YouTube for tutorials and DIY videos, but more and more builders are bypassing the commentary and posting ASMR-style (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) content.
DoctorMotorcycle is one of those channels, and the custom builder's latest project centers on turbo-charging a Yamaha XV920R Virago. Before DoctorMotorcycle’s James Kauder can add those twin turbos, though, he has to get the air-cooled, SOHC, 75-degree V-twin firing again.
Yamaha introduced the Virago as its first V-twin cruiser in 1981. Team Blue originally released a 981cc version in Europe but sent the smaller bore 920cc edition to the States. That high-capacity engine couldn’t save the XV920R from the competition, though, especially within the Yamaha ranks.
The XV750 Virago followed in the wake of its larger sibling but quickly became more popular with U.S. customers. The 748cc V-twin maintained the 69.2mm stroke but reduced the bore to 83mm. In contrast to classic American cruisers, the XV750 sported a unique look, with a rear monoshock suspension and shaft drive. Despite its unconventional appearance and equipment, the middleweight cruiser outsold the XV920R, and Yamaha discontinued the range-topping Virago after just two years.
Most enthusiasts deem the XV920R a flop due to its short run, making it an excellent donor bike for custom projects. For DoctorMotorcycle’s purposes, the Virago is the perfect canvas for a Mad Max-inspired chopper. The first stop on the road to Kauser’s rat rod dreams includes restoring the carburetors and returning the engine to its former luster.
Each hiss of the air hose, buzz of the buffing wheel, and zap of the spark plugs make the restoration process that much more engaging, but nothing’s more enthralling than the sound of the Virago’s V-twin, once it finally roars to life. Of course, Kauser has a long way to go before he turns the XV920R into a fire-breathing, twin-turbo, Mad Max machine, but if each chapter is this satisfying, we’ll follow along the whole way.