485 Designs: From the ground up

We all love the Yamaha Virago do we not? It’s a classic in the biking world. But let’s be honest, there’s more than a few of these classics knocking about now. If only someone realised this and decided to completely flip the script on its head by creating a custom-build that would turn the heads of even the most seasoned racer.

Oh wait, they did.

Enter, 485 designs…

Nick and Nik are “… a 2 man shop that do everything we need for our bikes. From welding, to painting/powder coating & upholstery, we do it all. We are both 23 and the shop is located just south of Denver, CO.”.  They are motorbike enthusiasts through and through and they’ve backed their credentials up with one of the most unique, fascinating builds we’ve ever covered.


The inspiration behind the build

At the end of the day, the Virago has been done to death, but not done well enough. The guys picked up on this; “We see so many Viragos out there that get a lot of exposure and still look half finished” and they were keen to ensure their final masterpiece didn’t follow in the same footsteps, “we paid very close attention to the details and we made sure everything came out looking exactly how we wanted it.” The real catalyst for the project though, was the fact that Nick & Nick had the client we all dream of; “a customer came to us and wanted to have the coolest bike we've done, so he gave us some cash and creative freedom. This was the end result.”. This gave the guys absolute control over the direction of the build and let them create the bike you see before you today, even down to the little finishing touches. Features like those classic laced wheels, improved suspension, welding and upholstery that add that present day touch to the old school coolness factor.


Why a Virago?

The Virago has been round for almost 40 years now, meaning there’s been a myriad of iterations floating around for as long as we can remember. These guys know this though, which is why they took the step of starting with just the engine of the Yamaha and nothing else. As Nick puts it, “It started by acquiring the chain drive Virago motor and building off that. From there we got the titled frame, Ducati swingarm, and gsxr forks. The chassis is highly modified to make the rear end work and function properly.”  It’s this rear end that gives this custom build its fierce look, with the fat Ducati backside offering a palpable juxtaposition to the sporty front end.  485 Designs set out to create a real head turner, “something that would make people wonder what it was” and they’ve done it.

What a build. 

This custom Virago – if we can even call it that – is one of the most breathtaking feats of engineering and design we’ve seen in quite some time. 

Hopefully these young Ni(c)ks are going to be working their magic long into the future.