Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

‘81 Yamaha XV920R – Hageman Motorcycles

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Andrew in Scrambler. 14 comments


Written by Marlon Slack.

It’d be over five years ago that I first saw a café’d Yamaha XV. It was the same British racing green model that you’ve probably all seen by now, planted in a European backstreet across some scattered fallen leaves. Something in the back of my mind clicked, thinking it was a great reshaping of a forgotten middleweight cruiser. That was the last one I saw for a while but now, years later, it seems that they’ve been popping up with increasing regularity and with an increasing level of fit and finish. Heading up this accelerando of quality builds is Hageman MC in Tampa, Florida, who have wheeled out this scrambler-inspired 1981 XV920R.


The bike started years ago with only one part – the fuel tank. Taken by the looks of the old XT500 alloy gas tank, Greg Hageman had the paint scheme replicated by local workshop Moecolors. It was an LSD-tripped version of the original, with some serious flake in the in the silver along the sides surrounded an obnoxious candy tangerine. It looked fantastic but Hageman MC didn’t really have a bike that it’d work with, so it was placed on a shelf to wait for an appropriate project. Fast forward a few years and Hageman already had the café racer look down pat with a slew of builds, so they took the opportunity to use the outlandish XT tank on something a little different.


Greg says, “I’ve been building a ton of cafe racer Viragos and wanted to build an aggressive upright bike with more of a street fighter-style.” For pointers, he turned to another famed bike builder for inspiration. “A huge influence on this build was Classified Moto. I have a great deal of respect for their work and like their all-function style.” And he’s not the only one, as the work that Classified Moto do is excellent. Sure, their bikes all sort of look the same, but they’re so damn nice it’s okay to roll out a few of them. It’s like the bike building version of Oasis.


To get the bike upright Hageman MC had to sure up the suspension for the new riding position. “I had Hagon revalve and build me a shock for the rear. We then built a set of proper forks complete with a Tarozzi fork brace to stiffen things up.” While at the bottom end they laced up the hubs to some new wheels, running a whopping 17×3.5 front and 17×4.25 rear to make the most of available tyre sizes. And also, y’know, because it looks mean as hell.


The engine had a bit of attention as well, with Hageman fitting one of their own exhaust systems. Greg says “The exhaust is a two into one with a muffler I designed, and the bike has a low mellow tone.” The air and fuel system also had a workover. “I mounted a set of dual VM Mikunis with velocity stacks for the Handbuilt show, but changed the stack out for filters for the real world.”


Like their other builds, Hageman wanted the bike to be “clean, simple and straightforward” so a new shorter sub frame was made up and a new seat fitted by Tuffside, with the resulting shorter lines giving the bike much of its visual lightness. Everything was powder coated in gloss black by faithful local workshop Profab.


The mantra of clean and simple extend beyond frame and seat, with Tarozzi pegs taking point on the original mid set peg location while the electrics have been stripped and built around a Motogadget M-unit, running bar end indicators along with an LED headlight, tail light and rear turn signals.


And above all that sits the XT-inspired tank, in all its garish glory. The upright stance of the XV might make it look a little like a scrambler, but Greg at Hageman MC is quick to correct that. “I’ve gotten some criticism for not putting fenders on this bike, let me stress, it’s NOT a scrambler. And I did offer the new owner a set of fenders, but he likes the bike the way it is.” And the owner absolutely loves it. “It couldn’t have gone to a better buyer. He loves the bike, understands what it was built for and uses it hard.” And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.


[Photos by Erick Runyon]

  • Vince

    She`s a beauty.

  • arnold

    Seems to be walking the walk…..
    I’d have taken the fenders though.

  • John Wanninger


  • Sean

    Nice bike, but I keep looking at that brake pedal. It really doesn’t fit together with the pegs imho.

  • Mike Martens

    Oh Yeah. Super Cool.

  • guvnor67

    Really like this!! Looks tough, not overly practical but hey, good to see another XV motor put to good use!

  • foiled again

    The machine is nice, but why with the agricultural tires? Might as well paint it red, hitch up a disk harrow, give it to Old Farmer Steve and get the north forty ready for planting.

    • BoxerFanatic

      These look remarkably similar to Avon’s new TrailRider tire, recently highlighted on another custom built bike also.

      Actually, I kind of like the idea of them… For a bike that might see a lot of pavement, but some of that pavement may be rough and damaged, along with perhaps some gravel, and maybe even a bit of occasional dirt trail or open ground use. Although, the bike is not oriented specifically enough for rough stuff to really justify square-knobby tires that do compromise pavement grip. It doesn’t have long travel, softly sprung and damped suspension.

      This isn’t a track-bike either, though, so near-slicks aren’t exactly appropriate. It might be able to get away with somewhat more street-oriented tires, but still with some tread channels for some edge traction.

      But it isn’t an enduro or dual-sport tall bike, either, so truly aggressive off-road knobbies aren’t quite the right fit, either.

      This has lots of surface area, but is broken up by sipes with edges, and angles for water dissipation.

      I think these tires are a good compromise between several uses, just as the bike they are mounted on is likely versatile also.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Hageman AND ClassifiedMoto together? No wonder it is so good, they each did one of the first big XV cafe builds back when these started…

    ClassifiedMoto custom-built a 920 chain drive with R6 suspension refits, Doc’sChops->Hageman Motorcycle Engineering did a 750 shaft drive, then a 920 chain drive after that, both really caught me then, and I have been following Yamaha XV builds ever since, and Hageman has been doing a lot of good ones.

    Both of those early XV custom builds, and many since have used that Benelli Mojave tanks… and it seems fitting that the collaboration has it, too.

    This bike lives up to both sides of it’s family tree, and is a great looking build.

    The only downside is that people are starting to realize what Yamaha XV donors are capable of being built into… and might not be as inexpensive to start with as they once were. 😉

  • BoxerFanatic

    It is a bit funny that the text of the article mentions Greg Hageman’s distinct insistence that this bike is not a scrambler, yet it is posted with a scrambler site-sorting tag link at the top.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Well it looks decent enough from the side but to be honest the fit and finish as well as the gaps and the view from the front leave something to be desired . And if this isn’t a Scrambler then I don’t know what is . A case of a rose by any other name perhaps ?

  • Darrick B

    This bike is not helping my desire to build a Virago for myself…

  • mteezy

    great looking bike tires included…… for you haters!!

  • Nice girl. Find someone to ride with