NICK CONWAYS’ 1982 YAMAHA XV750
You wouldn’t know it by looking at it but this 1982 Yamaha XV750 Virago Street Tracker built by 24-year-old Nick Conway has 260,000 miles on it. Or 26,000, he’s not really sure. When he rescued it from a shop in suburban Cleveland, OH, the odometer read 26K but the title said 260,000. Maybe the person writing out the title got a little happy with the zeroes but, either way, the $400 Craigslist special definitely looked like it had a quarter of a million miles of experience on it.
“The bike was rough, basically left for dead,” Conway said. “It had almost everything that I needed but it was rough and far from running condition. The chrome was rusted, the seat was ripped and there were several blown fuses and relays.”
Conway got his first bike when he was 14, a 1981 Yamaha XJ400 Maxim. A friend’s dad had it sitting under a tarp in the backyard and told Conway he could have it if he could fix it. He got it running, rode it around his neighborhood once and sold it for $400. Six years later he decided he really wanted to pursue motorcycles more seriously and he bought his first XV750 and rebuilt it. He had little riding experience at the time but he enjoyed the building process too much and has since owned three XV750s.
The bike featured here started as a summer project while Conway was in school. Summer turned into winter break, then weekends, and he saved his money for hardware by working a part-time job.
“During the week, when I was in class I would think about what I needed to do or buy to make progress on the bike that weekend. I would buy parts in the beginning of the week so that when I came home on the weekends the parts were already delivered. I remember driving the bike down the driveway and thinking to myself that I actually finished what I set out to accomplish. This was my favorite part of the entire process.”
Conway fabricated several brackets on the bike; one to weld the taillight to the seat frame (seat frame by Greg Hageman at Hageman Engineering), a regulator mount bracket, starter solenoid mount bracket, air suspension adjustor mounting bracket. He also modified the center stand by fabricating a handle with a grip so that he could easily operate the stand and display the bike in a creative way. He won the People’s Choice award at the Progressive Motorcycle Show in Cleveland in 2016 as a part of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder competition.
How many hours does he have into the whole project? “Countless. Building this bike was a learning process for me. I didn't know everything so I spent a lot of time in the garage reading forums and watching YouTube videos on other builds. I know a lot more about bikes now and I am already under way on my next build.
- 2.5" Chrome Mini Speedometer
- 2.5" Chrome Mini Electronic Tachometer
- Brown DCC Originals Ribbed Rustic "Cafe" Seat
- Aluminum Headlight Mounting Brackets
- Classic British Style 7" Round Headlight Bucket
- Vintage Style Fork Boots/Covers aka Gaiters
- 9mm Brass Clutch/Brake Cable Adjuster Nut
- Silver LED Handlebar Bar Ends
- OEM Style Plastic Internal Throttle Tube for 7/8" Throttles
- Mikuni VM34 Throttle Cable (XS650)
Conway is now the proprietor of Embien Motors, based in Cleveland, OH.
Photos by: @KyleKresge