Recently restored my 82 Virago which has ~80,000 miles. Have been around states 3 times. Ever since new, to start cold I would only have to engage choke lever all the way and give no turns on the throttle grip. Started all the time with no trouble. If I did turn the handle it would flood out. Fast forward to today: Recently restored, new battery, new starter, great compression. My problem is that I can't find the "sweet spot" on the choke lever. Sometimes it will start immediately…other times I will have to slowly move the chock lever while cranking and eventually it will fire. However sometimes it will not. I think I am flooding it so I have to wait. Cleaning the spark plugs and blowing out the cylinders has helped a couple of times, but there have been times when that doesn't work. I just have to wait and eventually it will crank,,,sometimes immediately; others times a struggle. The back cylinder seems to be firing better than the front since it doesn't have the carbon buildup the front plug has. Do you think it is because the carbs are not synced correctly or the firing is not hot enough. It runs very smoothly when it does crank, however I must find the running "Sweet spot" on the choke lever. It needs to be open about 1/2 way instead of closing the choke lever complete. However it runs so smoothly. When I stop sometimes it cranks immediately…other times it is a hit and miss. Thanks so much for your future comments.

  • Are you using the same gasoline today that you used in 1982? The gasoline mix is different? Go figure. Why again are you expecting the exact same choke settings when fuel formulations have changed?
    – zipzit
    May 25, 2020 at 1:58
  • What a stupid comment zip zit. Would you believe gasoline refined in 2020 will burn in a 1920 T-model Ford.
    – user57683
    May 25, 2020 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


I would recommend adjusting the pilot screws in both the front and rear carbs. To do this, get the bike warmed up, then turn a pilot screw in under the bike starts running rough, and turn that same pilot screw out until the bike starts running rough. Set the screw in between those two points. Repeat the process with the other carb.

For what it's worth, my 86 Virago 700 seems to prefer the throttle to be held open over using the choke.

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