by | Apr 17, 2020 | Featured, News, Projects, WIN A KUSTOM BUILD


Huge thank you to everyone that has donated time, parts and skills to make this project possible:

Simon Toddy – Bike Donation
Luke Steiger – Fabrication
Cam Macfarlane – Fabrication

Andy O’Donnell – GSXR750 – Parts – Electronics


What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been! The COVID-19 Pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works for all of us.

The workshop has been closed for a few weeks now and just to give you an idea into the financial hit the virus has dealt, the Kommune saw a 75% drop in turnover between Feb and March 2020. April will be even tougher. While this is tough, we have you guys and we’re feeling optimistic that with a few aces up our sleeve, we’ll be back wrenching when this all blows over!

When we announced that we’d be closing the workshop to help play our part in flattening the curve, we were inundated with offers of help, online sales and donations from our crew. Each and every one of those contributions has helped enormously and we can’t express how much we appreciate it.

One very interesting offer for help came via a Facebook message from a member, who’d recently moved interstate. Toddy had left his project bike – an ‘82 Yamaha Virago XV750  with the full cafe racer treatment – with us to get ready for RWC on his behalf. After touching base to see how he could help, Toddy promptly offered us the Virago as an opportunity to help raise funds to cover the Kommune’s expenses during lockdown. A truly generous contribution that came from the heart, just like those that purchased vouchers, t-shirts or generously chucked funds into the workshop bank account (yup, that happened!).

It took me a little time to process and accept such a generous gift, but the reality is, I accepted this gift on behalf of all of you too. This gift gave us a little extra stamina and a great project to get through the pandemic. The next day the Virago was on the lift and we started planning out a concept. Excitement and optimism was building.

Kustom Kommune Motorcycle maintenance

The XV750 in its “original” form.



After discussing with a couple members, that were keen to contribute their time and skills towards the project, we decided that if we were going to use the Virago as a fundraising tool, and put our name to it, we had to make this bike uniquely ours.

We decided that we would use the XV750 as a giveaway to drive funds for the space. While we’re still working out the finer details, ultimately you’ll be able to purchase an item from our site and go into the draw to win a fully decked out, custom Virago built by a skilled team of Kommune members with quality parts donated by suppliers, businesses and supporters.

We transferred our ideas to paper, mapped out  some concepts, then locked in a plan and got to work.

Kustom Kommune Motorcycle maintenance carb clean


While the overall look of the original build was good, we wanted to dig a bit deeper and make sure it ends up the best it could be. One thing that never sits right with an XV cafe racer is the standard front end. Even pushed through the triple trees it looks too long and the 19” front wheel looks skinny and out of place. Enter, Andy and his GSXR750.

Andy was another legend that messaged us after the closure and while not a member (we’re forcing him into the crew now), he had previously attended one of our training courses and had a great time with us. He’s been racing a 2009 GSXR750 for a few years and not so long ago he had a slight ‘mishap’ at around 220km/h on Phillip Island’s Grand Prix Circuit. After recovering from a raft of broken bones, Andy opted to give the track days a bit of a hiatus. His GSXR had been sitting in the shed awaiting a decision on its fate. He reached out and asked if it would be of use to our members as parts or as a project. We had a chat and I mentioned the Virago and how perfect the GSXR front end would be for the build. Excited about being able to contribute, Andy decided to donate his much loved race bike to the space.

I could feel what an emotional decision it was by Andy to move his pride and joy on. Clearly that bike has created so many incredible memories (including those broken bones)  and it was a hard one to let go. The bike will live on though and will help to do the same for the lucky new owner of our Virago.

Adding a GSXR front end to a Virago is a relatively easy conversion, with All Balls Racing doing a head stem bearing conversion kit. After checking that the wheel and forks were all straight, we started mocking it up. We just needed to mill a touch out of the top triple tree and the front end bolted straight up. Easy! Now the stance was getting closer to where we’d wanted it. 

Men standing in front of mountain
Men standing in front of mountain


Next, we started on the wiring. A lot of the wiring on this bike had been tucked up into a plastic battery box under the custom subframe. Cleaning this up was one of the jobs Toddy wanted us to take care of when the bike originally arrived at the workshop. My plan was to fit an electronics control box to reduce as much of the wiring as possible. Usually, we opt for either a Motogadget M-Unit or a Purpose Built Moto Black Box, both of which have their merit at very different price points. I pulled out all the existing writing, leaving in the stock ignition and charging system looms ready to plan out the new install.

The bike still had the original buttons and controls on the bars and if we wanted to build something special, these had to go. So, all that was put to one side and we put new switch blocks on our wish list.

While the Virago already had a lithium battery, it was an older generation one and truly massive in comparison to today’s technology. It also sat on the side of the bike in full view. We opted for a (tiny) Motocell Lithium Gold battery that we could hide somewhere out of sight. Motocell Gold Batteries are our go-to and available on via our webstore.

During our search for switches we came across Axel Joost, a German Company building electronics control boxes since 1999. After a huge amount of research, we found they had a great offering that filled a gap right between MotoGadget and Purpose Built Moto in both functionality and price point. Excited about the product, I asked our German Traveller friend, Michael Scholar, to reach out and see if we could get some more info on the products. Within an hour Axel had returned our email and suggested a phone call to talk about the Virago. Axel offered up some of his products for us to test and contribute to the build. He was genuinely excited about the concept of Kustom Kommune and was keen to help. In no time, Axel had sent us his D-Box Electrics module, a set of buttons for us to make some custom switches and a very unique, touch screen dash with a completely customisable UI. We’re excited to install all this gear and give you guys a full review of the products. We think the gear will be a great solution for heaps of us!

Men standing in front of mountain

Playing with ideas on where to mount the battery to keep things as minimal as possible. XV750 engine mounts are HUGE!

Now that we have the wiring covered, we needed to focus on the body styling. In came our main fabrication man, Luke Steiger.


While we loved the existing look of the Benelli tank and subframe, which is almost tradition for Virago cafe racers, we wanted to change the lines and give it our own little twist. We wanted the tank to sit lower and to restyle the subframe into something a little more ‘designed’.  Enter, Adrian from Third Gear.

Adrian was the first person to reach out when we posted about closing the space. Running multiple successful companies himself, Adrian was keen to offer support from a business mentoring perspective and see if we could find some grants or funding that our model would be eligible for (unfortunately, nothing suitable as yet…). During our conversations on ideas about how we could generate cash flow, the Virago project came up. Adrian immediately jumped online and credited our account with $500 to put towards the project. Another incredible contribution that enables us to create and even better build.

Men standing in front of mountain have a heap of tanks that are perfect for custom builds, all between $100- $200 too!

Third Gear stocks a range of gas tanks, including a Benelli tank that is ever so slightly different to the one on the Virago. So, rather than chopping up a perfectly good tank with nice paint, we grabbed a new one from Third Gear that solved the issue of needing to widen the tunnel to enable the tank to sit lower on the frame. We also nabbed a new headlight, grips, a few assorted mounts along with the tank.

As soon as the tank arrived we mocked it up and welded in a quality pop up filler.

Men standing in front of mountain

We found a few little surprises on the engine side covers. Few little repairs and then smooth it back so its good as new! This was my first time using aluminium braising rods (bloody genius product!)

The amount of support on this project so far has been incredible. Right now we are deep into the fabrication and mock up stage, while we are waiting on parts to arrive.  We’ve smashed through a heap of fabrication, built custom bars and switch blocks, got the seat ready for Savvas Upholstery and more. We’ll get some blog updates out every few days and once we have the entry mechanisms sorted we’ll let you know how you can win this amazing machine!

PS: We need a name for this project. Something to immortalise it for its greatness through the shutdown! Suggestions?

Sign up below and we’ll keep you updated on how you can enter!

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