Fantastic reader submittal! An insanely trick Yamaha XV1000 Virago Racebike and a sweet Desmo Ducati!

Reader Travis Lawson with Iron Spade Cycles in Houston TX sends in a pair of great bikes from 1987. A nice Ducati and a truly one of a kind Yamaha Virago! I’ll let travis explain these two. He writes:

Hey there Steve, Travis here. I’m a member of the 2 Stroke World forum and I’ve been following both your 2 Stroke Biker blog and the Picture of the Day blog for quite a while. I’ve been wanting to do something similar for a long time.

Hey I thought I send you some pictures of a couple of unique cycles. I took these at a CRRC club race at Texas World Speedway in College Station TX back in 1987 and although I really know nothing about the owner I did find the welding shop (K&K Welding Austin TX 512-444-7485) that did the fab work but was unable to contact them. This bike is a complete custom Formula USA/BoTT race bike built around a Yamaha Virago XV1000. Look closely at the carbs, they are billet one-offs! The frame and swingarm was made from .250 thick alloy plate and the rear shock has no linkage back when everything had linkage. Also this bike began life as a shaft drive cruiser. Simply amazing! Super trick! The guy who rode it that day also campaigned another hand built, vintage 80’s Rotax 250 in the Formula 2 GP class. I was told they were doing a shakedown run for the Battle of The Twins race at Daytona just a few weeks after I took these pictures.

I’m also including pictures I took that same day of a Ducati Desmo 750 that was built by the now closed House of Wheels Yamaha of Houston. I took these pictures over 20 years ago but every time I see these I just think wow!Feel free to post them on your blog. I’m planning on send you some other pictures of my several RD projects that are slowly coming around. Since I’ve joined the Street Fighter forum recently I’ve gotten so many new ideas for two of the three RD’s I’m currently building. Until then, have fun with these.

Later Travis

Hey Travis that is freaking awesome. You wouldn’t believe how much attention the Cafe Virago posts get on here and I’m sure there’ll be a LOT of attention on this one. Thanks much for the pics and keep me posted on that RD build. Now that my KZ is wrapping up I’ve got to get going on my own LC project! Winter’s coming and it’s time to get wrenching.



  1. The Yamaha(nick named LURCH) came from bill Kasson’s Yamaha in Austin Texas.
    Correct The Duc came from House of Wheels Houston Texas. We sold bike new and it was totaled as it pulled out of our service door. Owner had insurance and we serviced out a fresh one and he went down the road. We ordered new frame and built a killer 860/900 Stroker NCR motor. Kevin Stasney (K&S cycles Katy Texas) worked for me and built the bike. The idea was 2 fold I needed Duc Tech and Kevin needed to be it. Kevin was a talented rider who needed the chance to travel to AMA National races to compete in super bike and BOTT.
    Denny Turnbull
    Former owner House of Wheels (now with Arctic Cat ATV’s)

  2. Lurch was designed and ridden by Vernon Davis. This is the second frame incarnation of the bike, it is a monocoque. The first was a tube stress member frame. in 86 or 87 this bike was as fast as any GSXR at Texas World. Gave my poor little XS 650 a complex.

  3. I remember the first incarnation of “Lurch” from Verno Davies and the “Team Deviate” bunch… Pretty incredible piece. But the carbs in the pics are not “billet one-offs” but Quicksilver items. Pretty common during the era, and even used on the factory Honda 900F-based Superbikes at one point. Basically they were a development of the Lectron carb.

    Cool pics, and a wonderful reminder of my years in the CRRC just prior to those seasons in the pics.

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