KZ-Cass Virago Conversion Project

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A KZ-1000 Engine for the Yamaha Virago

The Yamaha Virago XV1000 is a motorcycle of classic style and grace.
But the clunky 750cc or 1000/1100cc engine does not give its performance the excitement it deserves.
This page shows how we replace the stock V-twin engine and shaft drive with a Kawasaki KZ-1000 Police engine, swingarm, and rear wheel.
The result is a bike that runs as good as it looks.

Stock Yamaha Virago
This is the 1985 Yamaha Virago XV1000 in factory form.
The One-liter V-twin engine forms the front and bottom of the frame.
The 1985 model was a chrome and gold anniversary edition.
Displacement went to 1100cc for 1986 through the end of production in 1999.
There was an underpowered 700/750cc version (1981 - 1997) available as well.

Virago Without Engine
Engine Removed
Once the engine and rear wheel are removed as a unit,
we are left with plenty of room to install an alternative.

The New Engine
KZ-1000 Engine
The KZ-1000 Police engine is plenty small to fit in the opening.
Here the engine is mounted in a subframe that was cut from the police bike frame.
This subframe attaches to the Virago frame, front and rear, with custom-made brackets.

Rear Wheel Assembly
Rear Wheel
The Kawasaki swingarm and rear wheel assembly fits easily in place of the Yamaha unit.
The drive sprocket is on the left side, and the hydraulic disk brake is on the right.

The Swingarm
The Kawasaki swingarm attaches to the Virago
swingarm pivot points by custom-made spacer brackets.

The Swingarm Brackets
A pivot shaft and two spacer bushings hold the Kawasaki swingarm
between the two pivot shafts that screw into the Virago frame.

The Subframe
The Kawasaki subframe attaches to the
Virago frame at the front and at the rear.

The Front Frame Bracket
Front Bracket
The standard Virago front engine bracket (top, black) bolts to the
specially-made bracket that holds the front of the subframe
to the front of the Virago frame.

The Rear Frame Bracket
Rear Frame Bracket
The rear of the subframe bolts up under the Virago's lower crossmember
using three bolts and this saddle bracket fabricated from 1 1/4" ID tubing.

Virago Frame Modification
Rear Frame Bracket
It is necessary to remove the centerstand brackets and two engine mounts
to make the lower frame crossmember clean enough to accept the saddle bracket.

The Modified Virago Frame
Rear Frame Bracket
This is the Virago rear crossmember after it has been modified.
It is simply a 1 1/4 inch OD tube at this point.

The Subframe Attached
Subframe Mounted
The mounted subframe leaves plenty of room for the 4-cylinder engine.
It sits about 1 1/2 inches closer to the ground than in the police bike.
This means the kickstand must be shortened.

The Rear Frame Bracket
Subframe Mounted
This closeup shows the saddle bracket in place.
Also visible are the four engine mounts that we use to secure the rear of the KZ engine.

The Rear Engine Brackets
Rear Engine Brackets
The engine is held in place at the rear by a set of
links and spacers that attach to existing Virago engine mounts.

The Rear Engine Brackets
Rear Engine Brackets
Here are the links and spacers (shown in color)
that attach the KZ engine to the existing Virago engine mounts.

The Engine Installed
Virago with engine
Here is the bike with the KZ engine installed.
There is plenty of room for carbs and air cleaners.

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Copyright © 2018, Kenneth R. Castleman.
Revision date: 03 April, 2018.