Bolt Motor Co.’s futuristic 51st build…
Former racers consistently build some of our favorite specials, as their high standards of design, engineering, and execution tend to carry over into their customs. One of these racers is Adrián Campos of Spain’s Bolt Motor Co., who spent several years as a professional race driver in the European F3 Championship and Indy Lights series, among others.
Today, we’re thrilled to feature #BOLT51 — his workshop’s 51st project, built from a Yamaha Virago 500 that arrived in multiple boxes.
“The first step was to assemble it to make sure nothing was missing and everything worked as it should. The customer’s face when we managed to start the motorcycle will never be forgotten.”
Once the old V-twin was running, it was time to move on to the rest of the design. Many Bolt builds have a classic-meets-modern style, but with this Virago, the team wanted to push farther into the future:
“With #BOLT51, we were looking for a very radical motorcycle, almost futuristic.”
They started with the front headlight “mask,” which was completely handmade to hold the vertically stacked LED headlights and indicators.
Other highlights include the KZ550 tank reshaped for the project, custom subframe built from solid stock, Yamaha R1 forks and brakes, custom intake and exhaust, motogadget electronics, and a modified and refreshed engine:
“The engine has also been revised, playing with the cylinder heads, the carburetion, and the electronics to achieve a somewhat rogue behavior of the motorcycle.”
Below, the Bolt team gives us the full story on the build.
Virago 500 Custom: In the Builder’s Words…
The Yamaha Virago is a very peculiar motorcycle, especially due to its measurements and the structure of its chassis. To add more complexity to the project, the motorcycle arrived at our workshop fully disassembled. Specifically, the motorcycle arrived in boxes. We had no references or guarantees that all the pieces were there or what state they were in.
The first step was to assemble it to make sure nothing was missing and everything worked as it should. The customer’s face when we manage to start the motorcycle will never be forgotten.
With #BOLT51, we were looking for a very radical motorcycle, almost futuristic. First we started working with the front mask, because we knew that it should be the starting point to start shaping the project. Although it may seem impossible to believe, this mask was manufactured and molded entirely by hand.
The front end is from a Yamaha R6 (including forks, triple clamps, calipers, and discs). To ensure a perfect coupling, we had to design and manufacture the wheel axle and other necessary elements to couple this front end.
The tank also took many hours of work. This is the original tank from a Kawasaki KZ550, which had to be shaped to achieve those curves. In addition, the Bolt Motor Company team had to make the most of their potential to build an air intake that would allow the filters, located just below the tank, to receive fresh air.
Another key element to achieve this result is the subframe. We started with a block of steel to make this subframe by hand, betting on straight and square lines that would match the rest of the bike.
Another complication was the exhaust pipe, a work of art handcrafted by our mechanics. In addition, our famous license plate holder has been installed — demonstrating, once again, that we take care of every detail to the maximum.
The electronics have been completely renewed, utilizing Motogadget technology to bring this motorcycle into the 21st century. The engine has also been revised, playing with the cylinder heads, the carburetion, and the electronics to achieve a somewhat rogue behavior of the motorcycle.
The choice of paint has also brought us one or another headache. The client wanted to transfer the paint used in Aston Martin’s Formula 1 cars to his motorcycle, but matching the proportions wasn’t an easy job.
We have affectionately nicknamed this Yamaha Virago as “The Transformer”, because the mask seems to be taken from this movie saga.