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Yamaha Star Bolt Scrambler – Doc’s Chops

Posted on October 7, 2013 by Andrew in Scrambler. 27 comments

Doc’s Chops is a household name in some parts, especially if the parts you are talking about are located within the borders of the glorious Custom Yamaha Land. There he’s pretty much the undisputed ruler, save for the odd incursion by John Ryland and his band of merry metal men. DC’s army of work on Yamaha’s XV750 has been victorious to say the least and now Greg Hageman, the man behind the brand, has turned his golden hands to something decidedly non-XV. In a build-off organised by Yamaha America, Greg’s now in battle with nine other shops to see who can take a 2014 Star Bolt and make her the fairest in the land.

In late July, the folks at Yamaha America contacted Greg about customising a 2014 Star Bolt for them. He was told that 9 other builders, including Roland Sands and Jesse Rooke, along with some of the nations top motorcycle mega-shops had been contacted to do the same thing. The catch? The other shops had already been hard at it for two full months. Undaunted by the immensity of the task, Greg rolled up his sleeves, set his social calendar to ‘non-existant’ and got stuck in.

Greg asked himself two simple questions. Firstly, he wondred what was missing from todays line-up of factory motorcycles. Then he pondered what he could design that would float the boat of the ‘King of Motorcycle Cool’ Steve McQueen if, rest his soul, he were alive today? The answer was deceptively simple. A DT400 scrambler.

Greg made a conscious decision not to cut the bike into pieces by way of showing off his fabricating skills, but to produce a realistic build that could be inserted into Yamaha’s line up and sold ‘as is’ at their dealerships. The motor remains relatively stock. A set of custom laced wheels and dual sport tires were added, alone with many other details that’s turned this (let’s face it) HD Nightster clone into something that’s so much more.

As a true testament to his skills, most all of his build-off competitors has endless amount of funds and equipment to work with. But greg is a one man operation, working out of his home garage. And it looks as if he’s been able to take it to the likes of Roland Sands and Jesse Rooke without breaking a sweat. How’s that for some sweet chops?

“I’m just a vintage kind of guy I guess,” says Greg.  “I’m always looking back to things that made me smile when I was a kid. That’s a big influence on my bike designs, I guess. I always wanted a DT400 when I was growing up, but I couldn’t afford one. Now I probably could, but most you find are trashed. I figured I’d compromise here and build a bike that reminded me of my dream.”

“My favorite thing about the build is probably the paint/tank scheme. I really like the tires too, but it’s one of the biggest things I’ve had to defend. They are DOT enduro tires, not motocross tires like a few of the armchair critics have assumed. I built this bike to keep riding where your normal street bike has to stop. Gravel, fire roads, dirt trails etc. But still she’s definitely not a pure dirt bike. No jumping or hardcore off road – they make new plastic bikes for that.”

At the time of writing, the bike was neck-and-neck with a build from Broward Motorsports; a battle that Greg and the boys absolutely deserve to win. Help him to get the gold by heading over to the Star Motorcycles Facebook page, click on ‘Doc’s Chops’ and cast your vote…

[Extra big thanks to Erick Runyon from]

  • Greg well and truly deserves to win this one – voting takes less than 20 seconds and it’s so close that it might come down to just a few votes either way.

  • itsmefool

    Love it! The tank’s topcoat is, of course, high on my list of fav deets, but the intake rock guard is coolness, too. I love Sportys, but this thing makes an even better scrambler than those H-Ds we’ve seen here lately; great job, Greg!

  • pietro

    to the story behind the build, to the bike, and to greg himself i can’t but tip my hat to you. great job! the chrome, matte black and aluminum parts together are perfect

  • Jens

    Actually I don´t like Scramblers a lot. But this one looks perfect to me. Very nice work down to the details. Yamaha should build one like this as a stock bike… 🙂

  • ecosse

    yamaha really needs to build this. or… greg to offer a kit.

  • coldsunshine

    This makes me imagine what a Harley Scrambler would look like. Well, minus the Yamaha name tag.

    • arnold

      The DT 400 didn’t hold up against the Suzuki RM 400 for sheer explosive power. My racing era was on some of the 250 s and back then, the 400s were monsters, quickly to be obsolete-ed by monoshocked suspension bikes
      A real nice nostalgia blast and I hope Greg wins the competition even though the voting requires Faceplant. For this creation , he well deserves it.ald.

      • Faceplant ??? LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!
        You nailed it Arnold!!! ;D

      • air cooled

        They were quickly obsolete because the DT range was a ground breaking idea, updated regularly as technology moved fast at that time,(electronic ignition, mono shock et ). The DT400 sold better in America and other Countries, The UK warmed to the Smaller models.

  • Aris Polymeroudis

    Even though scramblers never were my favorites, I humbly admit that this bike could change that… I absolutely love Greg’s approach to customizing…. Inspired, beautifully detailed and above all , rideable on a daily basis. I would definately buy it ! Congrats from Greece, Greg!

  • Beautiful work. This should be a lesson to Yamaha that, yes, a factory bike can look cool. The paint is fantastic.

  • AndrewF

    I would vote for this one but that I can’t because I’m (proudly) not on Facebook. Very nice job though! I just wish they’d take the opportunity to change the speedo/instrument cluster from modern, stylish and unreadable (everyone who rode Bolt says so!) to something that’s classic, plain and perfectly clear.

    • I’m not sure how it it to use, but I kinda liked how it looked in the photos…

      • AndrewF

        And that’s the problem in the nutshell! Modern instrument displays seem to be designed to look good in the promo shots instead of presenting information on the road, in the daylight – which is how most bikes are used.

  • Kevin

    very well done !! nothing was overlooked wow!

  • Scott

    ha! to all the naysayers about the 950’s tank seam….glad they showed off the tank, cool seam and all!

    • Barry Baxter

      Of all the parts on the bike, the tank is my least favorite. I like the paint job, but the tank itself is just too high in the front. It still has the lines of a cruiser. The front should be about 3″ lower to get the real dirt bike look. Otherwise the bike is a beauty. ANd I’m definitely an old scrambler rider/fan.

  • Mikael Lewis

    A 950cc scrambler. Now that’s just silly…but really, really cool!! It gets my vote!

  • hombreboy

    All I know is if this bike had been in Yamaha show rooms last year I would have snapped it up over the Bonneville that I did buy. Otherwise Yamaha makes nothing that interests me in the least.

  • Grame Kraakor

    Gee what a surprise Roland & Rooke were dead last and dead laster. Greg has forgotten more about custom fabrication than those two ass-clowns put together will ever know. And his win is well deserved.

  • Jri3

    If Yamaha builds this I would buy it. I live on a dirt road and i could keep it covered in dust and glory!

  • Paul McM

    Beautifully executed, and looks both functional and ride-able. Very nice attention to details (lights, engine guard, intake). I really like how the exhaust is shaped, sized, and located — it’s sane, but looks good. I would buy this thing. But I would also immediately add an inch of padding to the seat (it looks too thin, and it IS too thin), and I would figure out a way to put a larger-diameter wheel on the back. The current rear wheel set-up throws off the visual balance of the whole bike when viewed from the site. Still this is a very impressive build that does a lot of things right, and doesn’t sacrifice ride-ability for stupid styling flourishes.

  • Jman

    Pipeburn and admirers, I believe the new website for dochops is

    just a tip 🙂

  • Bitterswede

    Very, very nice! I did have a ’75 DT400, a real stump puller. I grew up in South Africa where the DT’s were common and I loved the way the looked and sounded on the street. You could short shift the DT400 and be in 5th gear in 5 seconds. This custom is truly awesome and the kind of bike that is missing from the present line-up and what is dearly needed to bring people back to the sport.


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