When Yamaha engineers were designing the XV750 — aka the Virago 750 — they surely didn’t realize that this funky V-twin cruiser — Yamaha’s first! — would be resurrected as a cafe racer some forty years later. Today’s customizers have discovered that the early monoshock Virago (1981-83) has great lines when stripped of its bulky seat and rear fender stays, and the air-cooled OHC 75° V-twin has great sound and character.
Enter Michael Fritz of Germany’s 074 Customs, who spent his youth modifying 50cc bikes:
“When I was a young gun, no 2-stroke bike was safe from my customizing…”
However, Michael turned his attention to cars once he earned his drivers license. It was only four years ago, at the age of 40, that Michael finally earned his motorcycle license and caught the customizing bug, building up his V50 Moto Guzzi, a Hookie-inspired CB750, and finally opening his own semi-pro workshop based out of his home.
He calls this ’83 Yamaha XV750 “GTS” — after the paint color, which comes from a Porsche Macan GTS. We especially love that Michael learned to TIG weld nearly three decades ago, but had not used the skill again until this build. In order to weld the exhaust, he bought himself a TIG welder, practiced, and did it:
“Now I TIG-weld everything around the bikes.. :-)”
Below, we get the full story on this modern cafe racer!
Yamaha Virago 750 Modern Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Michael Fritz (yes, it’s German..:-) ) — I’m 44 years old, married, with two kids.
When I was a young gun, no 2-stroke bike was safe from my customizing… 50cc only, but this ended with my driving license for cars. Still, I was always interested in bikes (without having a license to ride).
Four years ago, I earned my motorcycle license and started again riding an old V50 Moto Guzzi. Using Pinterest, I saw pictures of Roland Sands BMW R9T Custom build and I was hooked. I started to customize the Guzzi. Later on, I saw some pictures of the Hookie Co Honda CB750 and I built my own. This pushed me to open up my own, semi-professional workshop in my home: 074 Customs.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It is a 1983 Yamaha XV750SE (Virago).
• Why was this bike built?
I found this donor in the neighborhood, in mixed condition for a cheap price, so I decided to do my own version of it.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The concept was to build a modern version of a cafe racer, fresh color, and modern features (fork, tires, electric).
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Fork swap to upside-down Suzuki GSX-R750. Rear frame and seat, exhaust, carburetors.New electrics with Motogadget parts. Replace sthe old, air-supported shock absorber with a modern, adjustable Wilbers shock absorber normally fitted to a BMW.
Color comes from the new Porsche Macan GTS…
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yamaha GTS, based on the color… 🙂
• How would you classify this bike?
I would call it a Cafe Racer.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I learned to weld with TIG only in my job education, 28 years ago, and never did it again till this project. But to have this exhaust, I bought myself a TIG welder and practiced and did it. This makes me proud. Now I TIG-weld everything around the bikes.. 🙂