Idle Hands Time

August 12, 2020 | By Mike Seate

We’d recently posted on Instagram a newly-launched effort to see just what sort of bikes were being dreamed up and constructed by riders spending more time at home during the current Coronavirus pandemic. With many people cancelling vacations this summer and even more working from home or laid off, the aftermarket parts industry is booming again. Many see this summer as an extended off-season build time, and we’re eager to see what sorts of ton-up concoctions our readers are rolling out as a result. One of the first to cross our desks came from longtime reader and cafe builder Rex Cheney of Northern Arizona. A trio of low-buck, high-detail customs built by Cheney and a couple of his desert riding buddies was featured back in issue #58 (Aug./Sept., 20118) and the big man has been busy upping his game with this sweet Yamaha Virago V-Twin cafe special. The 1981 vintage Yamaha features Buell front forks and wheel, a fuel tank from a Yamaha 850 triple, Triumph side covers and exhaust, a one-off seat mounted atop a new tail section.

Viragos are curious donor bikes for cafe customs as their long wheelbase and Vincent-inspired chassis present a broad, blank palate for builders, as does the former cruiser’s loping, unhurried engine. However, as Cheney’s picture illustrates, with enough imagination, ingenuity and yes, downtime, the 1980s Virago can become a true cafe classic. Building a bike in your home space? Let us see if by emailing