Greg Hageman’s beautiful ‘Vincentification’ of his famous Yamaha Viragos is well documented. Just how he manages to turn a Harley knock-off into something with such style is clearly moto black magic. But his latest Vincent Virago as a much more ‘in-your-face’ creation that’s about as subtle as a baseball bat…
Most custom bike shops would gnaw off an arm to build a ride for biking royalty like Billy Joel. It’s the kind of job that can really put a shop on the map. So it says a lot about a builder when they not only complete such a feat, but then set themselves the task of going one better – just because they can. Welcome to the mind of Greg Hageman; one of the world’s greatest Yamaha customisers and builder of today’s gobsmackingly classy XV920R.
Once in a while, the eyes of even the hardest of hardcore custom bikers wander. Sure, old custom bikes are the duck’s nuts – but what if one were to loose all sense of rhyme and/or reason and buy a brand new Japanese bike? Maybe one to keep in the garage next to the antique Far East classics you currently have. Have you ever felt the urge? We have. And guess what? There’s actually isn’t that much on offer. With the notable exception of the just re-released Yamaha SRs and the Honda CB1100, you’re pretty much up Soichiro Creek if you actually want something that looks half decent without a heap of work. Until now, that is. Japanophiles – meet your factory custom bike saviour. His name is Greg Hageman, and this is his rather masterful tilt at a 2014 Yamaha Bolt, factory warranty and all.
In nature, metamorphosis is a process where by a creature will undergo an abrupt and rather startling transformation. During this process, it expends a whole bunch of energy in a rather short period of time. Tadpoles become frogs. Caterpillars become butterflies. And nymph cicadas become, erm, bigger cicadas. Now you could argue that in the custom bike world, just about any restoration is a metamorphosis of sorts. But you’d be wrong. Because if you think that your new seat and fresh rubber has transformed your bike, think again. There is nothing in the bike world that matches the frog-to-prince change you see when an old Virago sheds its faux-Harley skin and becomes a bike like this. And no-one does Viragos like Greg Hageman Motorcycles, aka Docs Chops.
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.
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