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‘82 Yamaha XV920 – Hageman Motorcycles

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Scott in Scrambler. 40 comments


Written by Martin Hodgson.

In 100 years time when they write the history of the current custom motorcycle renaissance that we are living through you can be sure that Greg Hageman will be one of the leading names credited for spurring the revival. He can turn out a mean Harley, cafe a Honda and build just about any style of bike but it’s his incredible work with Yamaha Virago’s of the early ’80s that have really won him acclaim around the world; from magazine covers, to TV features and the trophies to match. But not only has Greg inspired a new generation of XV builders keen to tackle the old V-Twin he’s also produced a range of quality parts for his fellow customisers and without him leading the resurgence of the models popularity you have to wonder if the all new Yamaha “XV950” Bolt would ever have eventuated!

It was no surprise that when the Bolt was released and Yamaha arranged a build off between ten workshops that Greg took out the top prize with a vintage scrambler take on the all new XV. This latest build however is a little of the old and new, based on a 1982 Yamaha XV920 with a modern twist, the running gear is taken from a 1998 XV1100. “This bike was built for the perfect customer, someone who was more interested in performance, function and reliability than budget. He asked for a classic scrambler look that would mainly be ridden on road, but have the ability to occasionally stray off into the back pasture to check on his horses,” explains the main man from Hageman Motorcycles. Greg’s bikes are always picture perfect, like something you would expect to find on a new bike showroom floor, so the 82 frame might be thirty odd years old but you’d never know now that it’s had the Hageman treatment and is finished out in all black.


The standard subframe is gone and bolted to the back is one of Hageman’s own straight from his parts catalogue, these have become a must have item for so many Virago builders and while many have tried to imitate there is nothing like the real thing! With the customer wanting the option of taking short rides two up the subframe was modified to accept this seat that provides plenty of comfort and practicality without taking anything at all away from the looks. If Greg’s subframes provide part of the all-important skeleton of a world-class Virago build his fabrication skills have also stood the test of time making beautiful Benelli tanks fit perfectly on the Yamaha frame. This bike is no different with the classic tank getting a pair of Yamaha badges and a flip style fuel filler. “As you can probably tell we were really going for a British look, the owner had the tank painted by Moecolors of Tampa to match an old MG he was rather fond of.”


To let the paint work really stand out the front and rear fenders are not only exceptionally practical but have been polish to a brilliant shine. The addition of racing side covers is another Hageman signature that gives you more than a subtle hint of the inspiration of this classic Scrambler. With the Green Machine now looking a treat it was over to functionality as Greg’s bikes are built to ride and the suspension has come in for a thorough overhaul. The stock forks are swapped out for a late-model HD entire 39mm front end. Not stopping there the forks have been rebuilt with improved springs and preload adjusters. Out back the unique in frame mono-shock has been swapped out for a Hagon unit that also features a remote adjuster. Arresting forward momentum is done courtesy of a single drilled disc rotor up front and the beefy Yamaha drum at the rear.


Note the factory tool kit at the rear of the tank

But getting that momentum well and truly underway is the very clever engine swap that Hageman has performed mating the ’82 XV frame with the newer and bigger capacity ’98 engine. Before the big block 1063cc engine was fitted into place Greg treated it to polished stainless fasteners and a thorough detail. With just 2,000miles on the clock it was in brilliant condition and the far superior ignition and starting system leads to a classic bike with modern reliability. The standard carbies have been ditched for Mikuni VM items that add even more torque and top end performance. Given the owner wanted the ability to go off-road to check on his horses Greg had to come up with an exhaust system that looked good, was performance orientated but didn’t put a fright up the ponies. “The exhaust is something I made using Cone Engineering “Quiet core” mufflers, making the secondary baffles removable. It’s a two into one, into two system.”


With the major components taken care of Greg spent a good deal of time piecing together all the little parts of a motorcycle that turn a custom into a truly functional machine you can ride daily. “I added a Motogadget M-unit, Motogadget bar end turn signals for the electrics. The Speedo is Acewell, I like the simplicity of using and installing this speedo.” The flat track bars keep the look spot on and with just the small Motogadget switches, master cylinder and a single mirror result in an extremely clean look that is still utterly practical. The headlight gets protection from a mesh stone guard while an old school taillight sits out the back on the rear fender. There is passenger fold up foot pegs for the pillion and Greg put in special effort on the riders peg placement, as the customer is 6’4″ and wanted a comfortable ride that was still sporty in nature.


Finishing up the build are the excel alloy rims with stainless spokes that have been laced to the standard hubs. Rubber comes courtesy of Kenda dual sports “less aggressive since it’ll spend the majority of time on the pavement.” Which is yet another reason a Hageman build is such a work of art; they look good enough to enter any show and take home the trophies, yet never compromise on being a useable motorcycle. “The bike runs, rides and handles very well, mission accomplished.


The bike is most of all, very fun to ride, comfortable and dependable unlike so many customs on the market I see being built today. I like to emphasize both functionality as well as the cosmetic look.” Greg’s longevity and success is simply a commitment to delivering in every area a motorcycle should, with no corners cut and an end product straight from the top shelf!


Summer is calling…

[Photos by Erick Runyon]

  • If he is going to continue using those Mojave tanks , he really needs to figure out how to clean up the rear of them for a nice transition to the seat

    • John Wanninger

      I agree. However, I do like this moto. Not normally my style, but the thought of ripping a “DT920” on a warm summer evening through the Northern California foothill twisties sounds great.

      I like how it looks over-motored. I bet it scoots.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      A better saddle choice would not only solve the aesthetic problem with the tank but the problem of comfort and ridability as well .

      • agreed. I could stitch up something custom for him

        • docschops

          I’d gladly take you up on that, finding a good upholsterer, is very difficult, Ive been through quite a few

          • MotoRelic

            I know the struggle of finding a good stitch artist. Try Counter Balance Cycles 🙂

          • .. and I make the thinnest brat seats available. Anywhere. Period 😉


          • or the more traditional :

          • in all seriousness.. one of the best is Art Rodriguez of Rods Designs . He has done upholstery work for Tony Prust as well.

          • Jim Stuart

            I think it’s important to remember that if you’re going to go for the vintage look better to use vintage materials, that’s why I use “Member’s Only” jackets on all my builds. Try Goodwill or vintage clothing stores for your stash.

          • now that’s a bad ass top tip for the everyman right there !

    • docschops

      I guess I should mention, the virago doner came with a stock yamaha tool kit, I wanted to keep it with the bike so I chose to leave the rear of the tank open and use that area as the spot to store the tools, note the belt strap. I’ve seen it done on other bikes and thought it was actually a nice idea and didn’t look that bad. I guess I stand corrected. No more tool kits mounted at the rear of the tank.

      • Ur Momma

        Sweet build. Gets 2 thumbs up from me.

    • Larry Kahn

      From a damage-to-your-junk crash concern too. Other than that cringe-worthy note a really nice job!

    • Bango

      I’m surprised they haven’t exhausted them all yet.

      • I know, right? After Joe Purshock closed down Vintage Cosmo and auctioned off the US stock of NOS tanks, resellers have had them on ebay etc. for the last half decade+. Original tanks are still popping up now and again, but the folks in India have been fabricating steel reproductions by the literal hundreds these things just won’t DIE !

    • Maurice Rissman

      Check out the xv by Go to their facebook page/albums & scroll to their XV Doubleshot.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Nice . Clean , straightforward and devoid of unnecessary frills and frippery . My sole complaints being the saddle which neither fits the design or the tank and the fork boots which serve no purpose on modern day forks .

    But I beg to disagree Mr Hodgson .20 years from now , never mind a 100 years they’ll be looking back on this era of customs ( if they bother to look back at all ) as a minor blip at best barely worth mentioning with few if any standing the test of time . All bets are this will end up being the most ephemeral era in custom motorcycle history .

    • 1957 Panhead

      It is possible that Mr. Hageman didn’t want so much chrome showing on his forks and used the gators to remedy this. Or, maybe it’s what the client requested.
      As Monday morning quarter backs we have no idea what was going through his mind and why certain decisions were made. As far as the seat, I usually don’t like the French bread look, but I think it actually fits this bike, although I’d like to see a better connection to the tank.

      • John Wanninger

        At least it’s not French bread colored.

  • Filippo Foniciello

    somebody knows which bars are those?

  • BobFalfa

    Something I like, No Pipewrap and it’s got mudguards, Critisms? one the seat to tank issue that Ichiban brought up,and Personally with the exhaust either side , I would have use twin discs up front for looks balance if nothing else

  • Jim Roberts

    with that big-ass motor hanging there it gives off that “black shadow” vibe
    personally, i love it….best looking virago that i can remember

  • Zundap

    Very nice. I can imagine what the critics rides look like. Z

    • Jim Stuart

      I am perhaps one of the harshest critics on this site and have pissed off most everyone. I’ve included a photo of my bike which anyone can see has no pipe wrap and zero interference with the tank/seat. No silly fork boots, no unbalanced single front disc. I’ve kept it pure, raw, ephemeral era free.

      • Zundap

        How much for the bike? ..Z

        • Jim Stuart


          The real value in this bike is the engine and I am too embarrassed to give you a price. It’s worth more to me just to keep it than ruffle feathers.

          I raised the seat on Greg’s bike and I like it better now.

          • Soapy Loofah

            I wish I could see a larger version of that mock-up with the thicker saddle, I think it may completely change the proportions (for the better).

          • Jim Stuart

            Soapy, only because you asked. FYI this is true cut and paste no photo shop. I think the thicker seat gives the bike better balance and if running out to see the ponies is a concern to the owner the extra padding would make a real difference and I should know since I have a barn full of horses.

          • Soapy Loofah

            I appreciate the image – and yes, I think it really makes a difference, at least for my aesthetic preferences. This build obviously is a Scrambler at heart and if you’re going for that then the thin “Brat” seat just doesn’t work.

      • John_Tangeraas

        True art. I recommend glass wheels and chocolate handle bars. Perhaps a tank made of sand? The seat should be a solid 5000kg marble block. You need to remove that rear light, to get rid of the last sign of functionality. But nobody would get it, or understand your genious. They are haters.

  • Typically, Greg finishes off the tail of these tanks to flow cleanly into the contours of the saddle.This build was different as he wanted to use the opening to utilize the orginal factory tool kit.

    • A GREAT detail in my humblest opinion. Nice work as always, Greg!

    • duh

      seat could have covered that area with the tools behind it. Then have easy release for seat at back..solved

      • You’re correct. It could have been done that way, if his client would have wanted it done that way.

        • duh


  • Classic Hageman. I appreciate how he has refined his builds to this level of craftsmanship. Beautiful!

    • Stephen Bentley

      Agreed, the finish and detail is fantastic.. and the aesthetic look is as good as it can be with an XV

  • E Brown

    Every time one of these pops up, I price local Viragos on Craigslist, and every time they all have starter trouble! 😉

  • Flying W

    I know I’m a year late, but I just spotted this one. Beautiful. With the subframe, engine, suspension, bars, wheels, lights, exhaust and tank replaced, it’s hard to know exactly what it is. But it’s beautiful.