The Yamaha Virago was Yamaha's first V-twin cruiser motorcycle, and one of the earliest mass-produced motorcycles with a mono-shock rear suspension. Originally sold with a 750 cc (46 cu in) engine in 1981, Yamaha soon added 500 cc (31 cu in) and 900 cc (55 cu in) versions.
The bike was redesigned in 1984, switching from a rear mono-shock to a dual-shock design, and adding a tear-drop shaped gas tank. That year, Harley-Davidson, fearful of the inroads in the US market made by the Virago and other new Japanese cruiser-style motorcycles, pushed for a tariff on imported bikes over 700 cc. Yamaha replaced the 750 cc engine with a 699 cc version to avoid the tariff, while the 920 cc engine grew to 1000 cc, and later 1100 cc. In the late 1980s a 250 cc Virago was added. A short production of 125 cc was also manufactured. Yamaha made a XV125, XV250, XV400, XV500, XV535, XV700, XV750, XV920R, XV1000/TR1, XV1100, the XV400SCLX being the rarest of the breed.
The larger-displacement Viragos were eventually phased out of production, replaced by the V-Star and Road Star series of motorbikes. The last motorcycle to bear the Virago name was the 2007 Virago 250. For 2008 it was renamed the V-Star 250.
According to Motorcyclist magazine, the early Virago has a design flaw in the starter system. This magazine states that the starter's defect exists in early Virago models made in year 1982 and 1983, however all Viragos continued to be plagued by the starter issues: the starter gear crash engages the flywheel so badly that Yamaha installed a magnet underneath the starter drive to collect the metal shavings, some magnets gathered so much they were reported to resemble tiny hedgehogs. The starter motor has issues with an internal gear reduction design as well. A ring gear is held by tension inside the starter motor's nose and breaks loose and spins thereby robbing power to the point the starter gear will not centrifugally spin out to engage the flywheel gears. Yamaha wants $600 for the starter motor and $380 for the starter gear jackshaft assembly.
- Yamaha Virago 125 (1997-2004) - EU/Asia markets only
- Yamaha Virago 250 (until 2007) - V Star 250 (2008-present)
- Yamaha Virago 500 Special - 1983 Virago XV500 - Steve Michaelson,Of Millard, NE
- Yamaha Virago 535
- Yamaha Virago 750
- Yamaha Virago 1000
- Yamaha Virago 1100
- Yamaha DragStar
- Yamaha XV920R