Yamaha XV535 Virago

Manufacturer
Category
Available from
1988 to 2003

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talkToTheHat's picture
Submitted by talkToTheHat on Wed, 17/04/2013 - 21:39

Overall Review

If bigger and heavier defines cruiser, walk away now, the XV535 is none of these. The backbone frame, stressed engine and under-seat fuel tank make for a light bike with a low centre of gravity. Models with low drag bars (rather than the more common buckhorns) feel very uncruisery and this look appears to be back in fashion. The engine will potter around quietly at low rpm all day, but there's plenty going on if you grab a handful. Haynes claims 46bhp which isn't staggering, and you won't look down and accidentally find the bike doing over the ton, but there's enough power for safe overtakes. The suspension is soft but not to the point of bottoming out, although the relatively weak brakes probably help here. Late models have twin piston callipers that are reportedly a little better. The 535 does need a little bit of attention, valve clearances and carb sync need doing regularly, but yamaha have made this ridiculously easy to do. Solenoid reserve switch is prone to failure and a pain to fix, but can be replaced with a mechanical valve. There's still plenty of aftermarket support, both for genuine and pattern spares and myriad of chrome shinies. Continental have just revamped their Milestone tyres with modern high silica compounds and have a set that works impressively well on the 535. I own a 1992 low bar model, barely run in at 35k, ride her in all conditions, as a round-town runabout and for longer cross county trips. She's still a head-turner and loads of fun.

Strengths

Much lighter than conventional small cruisers Handles deceptively well Built like a tank Fantastic engine Shaft drive

Weaknesses

They don't make them any more Reserve solenoid gremlins Self cancelling indicators always cancel too early Limited tank range, pathetic on really early models Awkward to lift due to shaft drive and backbone frame

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Overall Review

If you love riding for riding sake you will enjoy this little machine. You can sit back and enjoy the view without getting bored as long as you are not in too much of a hurry. That said the little engine does like the revs and will get a shift on to a degree.

Strengths

The quantity/availability of spares/parts etc is brilliant. Its took me and the mrs camping a few times and is more than able to tote both of us plus the luggage (obviously without taking the mickey!) We have covered 8000 miles on her in less than a year, mostly two up, and have had no troubles. Every trip we have made on our ZX12R has been duplicated on the 535, all be it slower!, with just as much fun. Would recommend to anyone.

Weaknesses

Petrol tank capacity is rubbish!

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Build Quality
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Submitted by Mickser (not verified) on Fri, 16/05/2014 - 12:51

Overall Review

Loved the look of this bike and enjoyed keeping it polished and cleaned.It felt very low to the ground but again this is why one buys this type of machine.Stiff suspension and not a lot of ground clearance so had to sell as roads where I live have been infested with speed ramps over the last few years.If I was buying a cruiser and wanted something in the learner legal range I would certainly consider one of these.Can be had for peanuts lately and still hold that easy rider charm.........

Strengths

Shaft drive is great as low maintenance,so only tyres,brakepads,oil and filters to worry about if servicing it oneself.Comfortable riding position.Great motor,very reliable.If kept polished and clean are a joy to behold as easy rider design is easy on the eye.My one was burgundy with plenty of chrome and straight bars.It was pristine.

Weaknesses

Small petrol tank.Ran out of petrol twice in the time I owned one.(Just 11 weeks)Not a lot of room for passenger I thought and felt a little cramped.Slow to accelerate but would get up above highway speeds if desired.

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Submitted by Rogerinfrance on Fri, 29/09/2017 - 04:36

Overall Review

I have 2, one needs some serious TLC, the other a '96 is nice. They are quite comfortable and will all but do a 100 but that means the motor is going full chat. Original tyres are manure, both mine, and in fact all my bikes have Avons. A heavier bike around here is a pain, loose gravel, cows muck bends all make anything bigger pointless, however after 100 miles one still is not fatigued. They both have US style sit up and beg bars and both have US screens. The regulator for the electrics needs removing, cleaning the support and the heat sink and re coating with heat sink compound otherwise you will be replacing the module especially if you run with full light as it gets HOT. Make sure you use 98 octane gasoline and check & change oil frequently. The bike is light to use and fun. Appreciating classic.

Strengths

Comfort, lightness, economy, reliability and of course shaft drive.

Weaknesses

Possibly starter sprague clutch and if used in the wet a useless front mudguard really it is just an ornament.

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Comfort
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