I’m writing this on behalf of my mate Dave, otherwise known as Sooty.
I’ve known Dave most of my life. He’s a few years older than me and was one of a group known to we youngsters as the Dyce Bikers. As far as I can remember he's always had bikes. I even remember helping my dad fix his bright yellow TS 50 moped. I’m sure he got called Sooty because of the little Suzuki's colour. I ended up working for Dave and over the past 16 years have helped him sort and modify various vehicles, but it wasn't until he turned up with a Yamaha Thunder Cat that I discovered he's never had a full licence!!! He was going to sit it but had never got round to it and after a while and a spate of local fatalities he decided that biking wasn’t for him. That’s when my brother Ally turned up on his Suzuki GS850 trike. To say that Dave's eyes lit up would be an understatement. He had to have one!
Over the next few months he trawled the internet, looking for a trike of his own. He had a very clear image of what he wanted, but there wasn’t anything like it out there, until a 750 Yamaha Virago turned up that fitted his demands. He kept his cool and was patient and only put in a bid at the very last second -he won! There was only one snag- the trike was in Gloucester and us in Aberdeen.
After lots of deliberation it was decided that my brother & I would go down in our flat bed Transit and pick up the trike, but to get it onto the flat bed we first had to make up 3 ramps, all 5 metres long. We drove for 8 hours or so from one end of the country to the other, not really knowing what the trike would be like when we got there. Thankfully when we finally arrived it looked fine, so we set up the ramps and rode it onto the Transit and set off back up the road. When we finally got home Dave was standing waiting for us like a little kid waiting for Santa!
The trike started well and looked fine but Dave immediately started pointing to things he wanted to change. Nothing major, he said, just bits and bobs but it would have to wait until we'd recovered from our marathon road trip.
Over the next few weeks the trike began to change. He started with the rear wheels, which are from a Suzuki Vitara jeep, as is the axle. They'd been sprayed black and not very well considering the rest was pretty good, so they were stripped and found to be chrome underneath. They also needed something to finish them off, so we had some steel cones made up for the centres. Also at the back end, he wanted to cut down the original mudguard but this turned out to be a pain and didn’t work that well, so he took it off completely, added a little sissy bar and remounted the reg plate. At the business end of things the Virago was wearing the original handle bars and headlight. The bars just didn't suit it and didn't give enough leverage for steering a trike, so they got replaced with a set of wide crosser bars and the headlight was swapped for a modern aftermarket unit. He wanted to rake out the front end but after telling him how much work that involved, he opted for extending the forks. So we had 4” slugs made up to replace the original fork caps then fitted tubes into the fork legs to firm the front end up. This worked well as it tilted the trike back a little and gave him a better riding position, which helps his lower back problems. There was no need to touch the engine as it runs well, although he did fit a set of exhaust baffles cos the short pipes are bloody loud and tend to backfire! He doesn’t have a problem with that, but the flames that shot out at the same time made him think that refuelling may be an experience that would only happen once. So the baffles were a wise addition but he’s still a nervous wreck each time he fills up. With all the minor modifications done he's a happy man and has enjoyed riding his toy around, not like a man possessed like the old days on his yellow 50, but more like a man with a shotgun attached to his backside.