One-Off Yamaha Virago 1100 Cafe Racer Has a Sporty Allure and Room for Two

Yamaha Virago 1100 Cafe Racer 22 photos
Photo: Kerkus Cycles
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As you might already know, Southeast Asia has a flourishing custom bike scene we can’t get enough of, spearheaded by nations like Indonesia and Thailand. We’ve seen plenty of incredible builds put together in Malaysia, too, many of them hailing from Kerkus Cycles of Kuala Lumpur. The shop is run by two guys named Azahar and Raveen, whose shared interest in bike-modding culture led to them joining forces many years ago.
Most of their portfolio comprises small-displacement builds with tons of character, a common customization recipe in that part of the world. Still, the Kerkus duo won’t shy away from working on a bigger bike, and you can safely bet on the end results being phenomenal! Case in point: the restyled Yamaha Virago shown above is one hell of a sight to behold.

It was built for a chef and restaurant owner, who sought a sporty cafe racer that would also let him ride two-up with his wife. This may sound like a tricky thing to pull off, but Azahar and his teammate were more than up to the task. As the project’s starting point, the client provided an XV1100 from the model-year 1995, which had seen better days and was in dire need of some TLC.

Despite the motorcycle’s less-than-ideal condition, its torquey 1,063cc V-twin engine offers a pretty solid basis for customization. The air-cooled SOHC power source has 61 ponies and 63 pound-feet (85 Nm) of low-end twist at its disposal, all delivered to the rear wheel by means of a five-speed gearbox and a driveshaft. Its hefty cruiser anatomy doesn’t exactly welcome spirited riding, though, and Kerkus wanted to fix that.

They first needed to get the Virago back into working order, as it no longer ran after an extended time spent in storage. Moreover, the air filtration system had previously been damaged in a road accident, so Kerkus began by having it repaired and subsequently topped with a bespoke cover made from scratch. The engine internals were refurbished but otherwise left unchanged, as the V-twin had sufficient power for the owner’s needs.

Yamaha Virago 1100 Cafe Racer
Photo: Kerkus Cycles
On the exhaust side of things, we find custom stainless-steel pipework with internal baffles and a Harley-Davidson vibe. The specimen’s brakes have been upgraded for additional stopping power at both ends, while its forks got lowered by around an inch (25 mm) to achieve the desired posture. However, this wasn’t the most significant suspension mod performed here, because the factory rear shocks were ditched altogether.

In their stead, Raveen and Azahar fitted the repurposed units of a modern Triumph Bonneville – perfectly suited for the retro theme and a great improvement over the stock parts. They’re also a tad longer, working in conjunction with the lowered forks to give the Virago a much sportier stance. All the subframe tubing behind the upper shock mounts is new, as are the items placed above it.

The tail section acts as a seat pan and rear fender all at once, supporting a stepped two-up saddle with comfy padding and diamond pattern stitching. Albeit far from your ordinary cafe racer ordeal, the bike’s rear-end equipment favors practicality while maintaining a svelte silhouette. Below the seat, Kerkus placed the XV’s relocated fuel pump and a bespoke battery box made in-house, but things get even more interesting as we move northward.

Yamaha Virago 1100 Cafe Racer
Photo: Kerkus Cycles
Fronting the aforementioned saddle is the retrofitted gas tank of a two-stroke Yamaha RXS. Although most of you have probably never heard of this model, it’s actually quite popular as a trusty little commuter over in Malaysia. The RXS tank was modified to fit on the Virago frame, then given a shiny aluminum filler cap and a DragStar’s fuel petcock.

Everything we’ve talked about thus far is undeniably rad, but what really drew our attention to this creature in the first place is the front end. It wears a groovy cafe-style fiberglass fairing with no windshield, held in place by way of tailor-made mounting hardware. This may not offer a whole load of protection from the breeze, yet it does keep the motorcycle’s profile nice and low for visual effect.

A bit further back in the cockpit, we come across adjustable clip-on handlebars carrying aftermarket control levers, underslung bar-end mirrors, and Rizoma grips. Interestingly enough, the Kerkus duo decided to keep the XV1100’s original instrumentation, and the front fender appears to be stock, as well. The Virago comes with five-spoke alloy wheels on the Malaysian market and those were a good match for the updated aesthetic.

They have consequently been retained and wrapped in fresh Bridgestone rubber at both ends. The brand’s Battle Wing compound can be seen at the front, while the rear hoop is hugged by a cruiser-friendly Exedra Max tire. Lastly, the chosen color scheme is an understated affair employing silver and black, with the former hue mostly used on the fuel tank and the latter predominating elsewhere.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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