YAMAHA XV250 VIRAGO (1995 - 2001) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £130
Power: 21 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.0 in / 685 mm)
Weight: Low (306 lbs / 139 kg)


New N/A
Used £2,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha XV250S Virago is a trusty, reliable and easy to ride option on which to hone your biking skills. If you fancy a big cruiser later on, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a great place to start: it’s got the looks and appears bigger than a 250, so you won’t feel left out down at the Ace. The Yamaha XV250S Virago's engine’s peachy and it doesn’t suffer the wallow and bad handling many associate with cruisers.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha XV250S Virago's riding position is traditionally cruiser: (very) low seat, high bars and forward pegs. Suspension’s quite hard at the rear, softer up front and, overall, handling’s great. The Yamaha XV250S Virago’s light weight makes for easy steering but get carried away and the pegs touch down early. Brakes are good and the ride is smooth.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The surprisingly torquey engine has been running these little Yamaha XV250S Viragos far longer than the bikes have been available in the UK. Great for cruising in the midrange, it has to be revved harder to stay at the top end. Gentler riding on A and B roads is where the Yamaha XV250S Virago is most at home and there’s more go in it than you’d think. Long treks on motorways are probably best avoided.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Mechanically sound, the Yamaha XV250S Virago’s got that proven engine. As for the finish, it’s universally regarded as top notch: well put together, plenty of shiny chrome and excellent paintwork. Many Yamaha XV250S Viragos are used as commuters and they still seem to survive pretty well, despite harsh winters. They certainly need polishing, though.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Very good. The Yamaha XV250S Virago is on a par with its erstwhile rival, the Honda CMX250C Rebel and their used prices are similar, too. The main differences are in the styling and, whilst the Yamaha XV250S Virago boasts a V-twin, the Honda’s a parallel number. The choice is yours. Insurance and running costs bode well for the Yamaha: it’s a popular, budget choice for learners, new riders and commuters. Find a Yamaha XV250 Virago for sale


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Yamaha XV250S Virago's plush rider’s seat doesn’t extend to the pillion: it’s a tiny perch and uncomfortable. The dash is simple, with analogue speedo and traditional trip but no rev counter. Mirrors are good but the headlight is quite poor and there’s no storage space under the seat. Tyres can let it down and stability in the wet’s not much to write home about. Looks-wise, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a stylish package.


Engine size 248cc
Engine type 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 9.5 litres
Seat height 685mm
Bike weight 139kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 267mm disc
Rear brake 130mm drum
Front tyre size 3.00 x 18
Rear tyre size 130/90 x 15

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 65 mpg
Annual road tax £47
Annual service cost £130
New price -
Used price £2,000
Insurance group 6 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 21 bhp
Max torque 15 ft-lb
Top speed 80 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 16 secs
Tank range 136 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1995: Yamaha XV250S Virago launched as a custom cruiser; a baby brother for larger Viragos: the highly-regarded XV535, the XV750 and the XV1100 (all now discontinued). Colour changes only until 2001, when it was replaced by the XVS250 Dragstar, which uses the same engine. Something to do with emissions laws…

Other versions

There's also the Yamaha Virago 535 - the most successful of all Viragos. The Yamaha Virago 125 was revealed in 1997. 

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA XV250 VIRAGO (1995 - 2001)

6 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA XV250 VIRAGO (1995 - 2001) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA XV250 VIRAGO (1995 - 2001)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Engine: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £130
5 out of 5 Good reliable basic transport.
29 April 2022 by XV250

Version: Actually a 2020 version

Year: 2001

Annual servicing cost: £200

After 30 years of street riding, I downsized from my previous 650 to a smaller, lighter bike that is still capable of highway travel.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Front single disc, rear drum, and none of that ABS stuff. However, the brakes are adequate as it is a light bike (320 lbs).Rear suspension is a bit lame; I definitely feel the cracks and bumps in the road.

Engine 3 out of 5

Engine is reliable, starts easily, no issues. However, it is only 20 HP. For around town that is perfectly adequate. Going up a steep grade on the open road, you will have to downshift to 4th gear and hope you can keep up with the buses... All the torque and HP are relatively low, so this bike encourages shirt-shifting through the gears into 4th. I find that on long gaps between lights I leave it in 4th for the most part. The 5th gear has a longish gap and is really more of an overdrive for the highway.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Yamaha quality seems good. My previous two bikes were Yamahas, and they were as reliable as a stone axe.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Instrumentation is bare bones. No fancy bells and whistles. Luggage is somewhat hard to attach, and the rear turn signals need to be moved if you want to use a pair of saddlebags.

4 out of 5 Budget cruisers
14 November 2021 by stephen lockley

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £150

Not the best for motorway riding as it tends to struggle over 60mph

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I can and have ridden all day , the pillion on the other hand needs a break every hour to make life bareable

Engine 4 out of 5

Had faster 250cc bikes but that's not the point of owning one, It's a little under powered

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Riders seat and comfort are fantastic, Down side are tyres, if you like me buy one second hand then get some decent rubber fitted no matter how good the tyre on the bike look ,you won't regret it,

Buying experience: Got mine from a dealer 12 months mot full service and free delivery 1595 ,not a mark on it dry stored all it's life , Yes I could have got younger for less but not in show room condition

5 out of 5
18 April 2020 by richard

Year: 2000

Annual servicing cost: £30

i show here an extract from my ad. for sale on gumtree............ i've had bikes since the 1950's. this is the best one i've ever had. it's the safest and most fun bike as well. you can ride it 'enthusiastically' at non lethal speeds........ that we've all done on jap rocketships. comfortable economical and amazingly zippy for a 250 ( see MCN review) i can no longer get my leg over to get on/off (sciatica) otherwise i'd never sell it. hence need to sell outright or exchange for step thro' big wheel scooter - cash either way. richard.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

runs as new - never touched it in 7yrs apart from oil/fil changes.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 xv250s virago
13 September 2012 by carwyn1991

I bought this bike the day after i passed my test and i love it! Rode an sr125 for a year up to my test and the step up to the virago is amazing! A real confidence inspiring bike and with after market exhausts sounds like a lion purring in tick over and roaring when you give it a fist full. I love the looks of this thing and it's so comfortable and easy to ride. Would fully recommend this bike to everyone!!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
2 out of 5 Need a starter bike?
18 July 2012 by Mark555

My review might be a bit tainted, they say top speed is 70+ I found at 55 to 65 it needed me to run alongside and push it. It did best at about 45 and lower. Very nimble, easy to ride, fun at lower speeds, handles well in parking lots and town driving. I was the 3rd owner, and it will not have a 4th as I blew the engine. I put 1500 miles on it and it had 3 yes count them 3 oil changes during that time. I changed the oil as soon as I bought it, I had an oil leak and they had to replace a seal so it got an oil change, and it needed a new starter so it got its 3rd oil change. I was using it as my daily driver and going 55MPH-45MPH I live 10 miles from work. My mechanic said that was too much high speed for it and the engine could not handle it. Could be the other owners were rougher on it then I was. It had 7500 miles on the clock, I replaced the starter and clutch cable.This was my first bike and I probably should have gone bigger. Very limited on after market add on, ride was comfortable, lots of plastic parts If I had to do it all over again I would not have bought a 250. I did all the research and thought starting at a 250 was a good Idea but not so much now as I wanted something that I could ride for years to come. So looking for something in the 750-1200 range.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
3 out of 5 Xv250 Virago
18 September 2008 by fossil

Only borrowed one from a friend for a week whilst my 750 Kawasaki was off the road, so not really a proper review. Suprisingly I enjoyed riding this just for the fun factor, build quality looks really good and the engine felt very torquey for a 250.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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