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1983 yamaha virago 750 bobber

reader rides | 1983 yamaha virago 750 bobber

Trav Bennington is the coolest suit in the US of A. His first custom build was a 1981 Yamaha SR250 bobber styled after a painting of his wife, followed by another SR250 bobber. Both showed great choice in style, build, and color. This time he’s stepped up to customizing a 1983 yamaha virago 750 bobber.

bikerMetric: Hey Trav, what’s the story behind this build?

Travis Bennington: I wanted to build a bike in tribute to my grandfather and the other men who fought in World War II and painted pinup bomber girls on their planes, motorcycles, etc.

bikerMetric: That explains it.

1983 yamaha virago 750 bobber gas tank

Travis Bennington: Yeah. The girl on the bike is modeled after a bomber girl.  After I decided on that theme I debated for the longest time what type of girl.  I’m Cherokee, and one day I was looking through a book on Cherokee legends and came across the Ghigau.  A Ghigau was a fearless female warrior.  The two concepts of bomber girl, and Cherokee warrior, fit perfect together so I built the “Cherokee Ghigau”.

bikerMetric: Besides the theme, did you have an end goal in mind?

Travis Bennington: I wanted to build a cool, very loud, straight pipe highway bike that was old school and fast.

bikerMetric: What kind of shape was the bike in?

Travis Bennington: It was in good shape, and had low miles, but the bendix starting system was toast.

bennington custom leather seat

bikerMetric: So you got started and…

Travis Bennington: And I cut off and threw away anything that isn’t required by the state patrol.

bikerMetric: Because less is more.

Travis Bennington: Less is Way More.  I chopped the frame and tank.  Built the leaf spring solo seat mount.  I made the leather seat, hand tooled my name on it, and old school double stitched it with Kangaroo hide.

leather battery box

bikerMetric: What’s that pretty bag?

Travis Bennington: It is not a bag! I made the Battery Leather box.  I found and chopped a rear fender.  Built the bars from scratch.

bikerMetric: How ‘bout electronics?

Travis Bennington: Put a new smaller headlight on it.  Built a new wiring harness from scratch.

bikerMetric: Any words of wisdom for people looking to do their own builds on this model?

Travis Bennington: Yeah. Watch some videos on the Bendix gear starter system the early Viragos use.  It can be a real nightmare.

bikerMetric: Sweet. What else did you do?

Travis Bennington: I painted the artwork.  Built the air intake arms for the carbs.  Finally, I moved the foot controls forward.

bikerMetric: What do you really love about it, besides the sweet leather bag!

leather battery cover - this is not a bag

Travis Bennington: Ha! It’s not a bag. Anyway, I love motorcycles that look stripped down and naked in the rear end.  The leaf spring really gives it that look.

bikerMetric: Of all of your mods, which was the most difficult?

Travis Bennington:  Painting the naked Cherokee girl.

bikerMetric: The most difficult part was the girl. Reminds me of an ex.

Travis Bennington:  I sanded her off and started over several times.

bikerMetric: Yeah you did! You’ve got a couple builds under your belt now. Do you feel you’ve developed a certain style, and will you stick to it?

Travis Bennington:  This is my second Yamaha.  I also did a Kawasaki KZ250.  Here’s a picture of my 3yr old and I sitting on them.  He spent all last Saturday helping me finish the wiring on the new bike.  My style is, I like stripped down, old school bobbers that make a lot of noise, and are colorful but minimalistic.

Travis and Son
bikerMetric: So is Cherokee Ghigau headed to craigslist?

Travis Bennington:  No.  I pretty much keep the bikes I build or give them to friends.

bikerMetric: We’re friends, right?! Seriously though, what’s next?

Travis Bennington:  I bought a 1978 Honda Hawk with a kick start for $30.  It’s in really bad shape, but come on, it’s got a KICKSTART!

bikerMetric: Gotta do up one of those sooner or later! For $30. Not bad. I’ve spent more on cheap beer. Speaking of, time to wrap this up. Quick, give a shout out to someone before we go.

Travis Bennington:  Shout out and thanks to my neighbor James McCallister for helping out.  He’s a great body and paint guy if anyone in the Iowa/NE area is looking!

bikerMetric: Cheers Travis, thanks for sharing your backyard build. Swig of beer for the working man!

1983 yamaha virago 750 bobber





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