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VINCENT-SAN. An Yamaha XV920 from Hageman Motorcycles

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Andrew in Bobber, Classic. 34 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

If you’ve wondered why second-hand Yamaha Viragos are demanding ridiculous money these days I know who you can blame. Greg Hageman. As head of Hageman motorcycles in Iowa, he’s near single-handedly turned a daggy 90’s cruiser into a favourite of the custom scene with his incredible builds. This time around Hageman have knocked another one out of the park with this amazing Vincent-inspired 1981 Yamaha XV920.

But it’s not quite fair to limit Hageman’s prowess to just the Virago line. Over the last few years he’s made some fantastic Sportsters and CX500’s as well. But the warrior woman series is where he does his greatest work – especially when he’s given free reign, as with this build.

“But it’s not quite fair to limit Hageman’s prowess to just the Virago line. Over the last few years he’s made some fantastic Sportsters and CX500’s as well”.

‘A good customer of mine sent me a clean 81 XV920 chain drive along with a XS-1 front wheel,’ Greg says. ‘He told me to build the bike and however you want, when you want.’ That’s a motorcycle workshop’s dream. With that wonderfully open-ended brief Greg and the team went to work.

First up was the tank, which is a reproduction Vincent model. The tunnel was cut out of a standard Virago gas tank and mated to the aftermarket unit to ensure it fitted snugly on top of the frame. Out back, the rear section of the frame was removed and replaced with tubing. ‘It gives it a much lighter look,’ Greg says, ‘and it’s lighter – and just as strong’.

The suspension and wheels are a match of products from all different marques. The front end is from a late model Sportster which runs down to the customer’s XS-1 drum brake. Out back the rear hub is taken from an XS650. At both ends the hoops are provided by Excel and built with stainless spokes.

Engine-wise there aren’t any radical modifications, with the 920 having an excellent reputation for reliability. With one exception – the god-awful clacking noise produced by the starter when cranking the bike over. Everything on the left hand side of the engine has been upgraded to second generation Yamaha Virago parts to remove this shudder-inducing racket. The bike was also fitted with VM34’s that run velocity stacks and a two into one stainless steel system.

The engine was painted gloss black and the gorgeous paint across the tank was laid down by tried-and-trusted friends of the workshop, Moecolor. Powder coating was done in nearby Clearwater by Prefab.

When it comes to electrics the bike runs a GPS unit as a speedo made by Utah-based Speedhut. For those of you who aren’t aware of them take a look – you’re able to pick and choose what functions and appearance you want and they’ll make it for you. This one comes an integrated tachometer, and sits behind a Bates reproduction headlight.

All told, Hageman MC have made another exceptional little v-twin and Greg himself is ecstatic with the result. ‘The bike in the end is a pleasure to ride,’ he says, ‘It’s simple, smooth, light and comfortable’. And it looks every bit as good as it is to ride.

I’ll bet the prices of second hand Yamaha Viragos will have nudged up again tomorrow.

Hageman Motorcycles – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Erick Runyon ]

  • martin hodgson

    This is just stupidly good!!! Look at a stock Virago and then come back to this…. How! The Viragos come from motorcycles “ugly” period imo and the Vincent is universally regarded as one of the great bikes and yet somehow, Hageman has crafted a machine that is more than just a tribute. It’s the little things, the fork covers and top yoke, the stacks on the carbs, the finish on the engine…. It doesn’t have a single flaw! This is a masterpiece!

    • the watcher

      Wheels, brakes, and speedo are the highlights for me. Handy that Yam opted for the cantilever monoshock, eh?

    • It never fails to amaze me just how adaptable this Yamaha platform is. Gobsmacked.

  • Larry Kahn

    What’s the weight loss from stock?

    • Stock wet weight was 237kg/523lbs. It’d be a total guess, but I;d say it’s be on or around 200kg/440lbs now.

  • My wife said it looks elegant, “like a calligraphy stroke”. Well put. Love the lines and proportions on this.

  • guvnor67

    Wow! Probably one of Mr Hageman’s best yet! Everything looks like it belongs, love the drilled rear hub, the blacked out motor, and the whole thing is classier than a Royal Wedding. Absolutely love it.

    • To be able to pull of something as hot-roddish as his original Virago builds and then to be able to mix it up and do something as classic-looking is a real testament to his skillset. Well done.

      • guvnor67

        Absolutely, the man’s skills seem limitless.

  • I can see myself riding this with Richard Thompson’s 1952 Vincent Black Lightning as the sound track. Love the big Virago motor and the clean, sanitary front end. Hageman keeps getting better and better. The more he takes away the leaner and tighter his builds get. Bravo.

    • the watcher

      Good reference! Sandy Denny, or Maddy Prior?

      • The song is from his 91 Rumor and Sigh album. Neither Sandy or Maddy is on it.

        • the watcher

          I know. It was a ‘folkie’ question, not a specific one.

    • Agreed.

    • Bultaco Metralla

      Possibly the greatest motorcycle song ever recorded. I just love the lines

      “I’ve fought with the law since I was seventeen
      I’ve robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine.”

      Far better than Leader of the Pack, Arlo Guthrie’s Motorcycle Song, Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl or Teenage Cremation.

  • Greybeard1

    That’ll make sweat, won’t it?

    Now, some magic with the front motor hanger!
    Also wondering what it’d look like with 1 or 2 inch shorter swing arm?
    No mistake, I would willingly live with it the way it is!

  • Thoughts on the lack of front fender? Better with or without?

    • guvnor67

      It looks fine without, but a match to the rear would be a nice addition for those days when it’s looking a bit iffy outside, or just to emphasize the classic look. Definitely his finest moment so far I think.

  • Very nice! And finally, a departure from the usual Virago builds. Need an XV750 chain drive motor by any chance?

  • cornishman2

    Stunning on so many levels. The weight saving and the space around the whole bike, the fit and finish and the “Vincent / HRD” link brings a smile. My bike of the year.

  • Andy Rappold

    ….aaand he did it again!! Stunning.

  • Keith T Robinson

    the motor doesn’t look like it belongs. way too much space between the V.

    • That’s the first time I’ve ever heard the space between the cylinders being criticised. And I thought I’d heard it all…

      • Rob Ridgway

        i can kinda see what he means- it’s the only thing that really takes away from the ‘vinnie’ illusion on this. but i’m more than willing to overlook that one detail for the sake of the rest of the goodness on this. i think this is the best , most authentic looking ‘yaama-vin’ i’ve seen, and that includes hageman’s other shots at the style . SWEET!!! i’ll take mine with a ‘feridax’ duel seat and maybe the swingarm shortened just a tad, as long as it wouldn’t kill the handling…

  • Bultaco Metralla

    I gotta second a lot of comment here, the Virago was one fugly motorbike and this trnsforms it. This motorcycle is elegant and graceful. A terrific achievement.

  • Matthew Lutz

    That rear cylinder exhaust must give it an exquisite note.

    • Rob Ridgway

      i think the rear cylinder pipe just siameses into the front just behind the motoer. if i’m wrong, my bad.

      • Matthew Lutz

        You’re right. I see it now. Beautiful.

  • Chris Saddler Sam

    Respect the HageMan!!! 😉