Search Results for "hageman"
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.
As a card-carrying member of the XV750 owner’s club, I’m always on the lookout for sweet examples of the species to share with you, our beloved readers. And if there’s one place on this planet that I’m almost certainly going to find the best examples of these fine creatures, it’s the sunny wetlands of Tampa, Florida. Specifically, they seem to congregate in large numbers around the workshop of one Greg Hageman, a.k.a ‘Doc’s Chops’. This breeder of beautiful bikes has just landed 1st place in the Yamaha Bolt build-off, but never one to stay in a place for long, he’s now back in his Florida nest. And just look at what he’s hatched up now…
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For a film about jet aircraft, 1986’s Top Gun sure got a lot of new riders onto bikes. Cruise’s Kawasaki Ninja 900 seemed to be the perfect match for his ‘Maverick’ character: fast, slick and more than a little bit rebellious. So when Ohio’s Jason Reihing from Charlie James Customs wanted to build a Yamaha XV750 with these very same attributes, it became clear that his own two-wheeled need for speed could only be called one thing.
It’s 2011 and the custom bike world is beside itself with the Yamaha-based creations of one Greg Hageman, a.k.a. ‘Doc’s Chops’. From what was previously a laughably bad Yamaha Virago, Greg had built a custom that seemed to have somehow made the bike look very, very cool. At around the same time, a young New Yorker called Maxwell Hazan wheeled his very first custom bike out of a small Brooklyn shop and we all know how that turned out – mainly due to the fact that a certain photographer had the wherewithal to recognise genius when they saw it. And the person responsible for taking the photos of these bikes that changed the custom scene for ever? Meet Florida’s Erick Runyon.
So here we are, standing at the finish line for 2016. And although we’re out of fuel, tired and more than a little dirty, there’s still one last thing to do. There’s one last thing before we pat this totally crazy year on the back and kick it to the curb, and that’s to give away one more of our exhaust-shaped stainless steel beauties, also known as a Pipeburn Bike of the Year award.
It may not have a local motorcycle industry to call its own but if one country could lay claim to be the kings of the home-built motorbike it is the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. I tender two pieces of evidence, the World’s Fastest Indian, built at home over a 20 year period by Kiwi Burt Munro whose near 50-year-old record set on the Bonneville Salt Flats still stands to this day. Second, John Britten, the greatest motorcycle builder of all time, who not only designed and built his incredible V1000 at home but even made things like the engine cases himself, cooled from his wife’s pottery kiln with water from his swimming pool. So beloved are his creations that decades later they still feature on the covers of the world’s biggest magazines and riders like Valentino Rossi and Guy Martin consider them the greatest machines ever built. So it should come as no surprise to find out that this Kiwi custom, a stunning Scrambler themed 1981 Yamaha TR1 was built entirely at home in.
With 2015 disappearing faster than petrol down the throat of a badly tuned race carb, it’s time to take stock of the past 12 months and see what bikes really floated our collective boats. In this, our sixth year of making a fuss about the world’s best custom beasts, we’re glad to say that the brouhaha surrounding this weighty, exhaust-shaped prize seems to be getting bigger and bigger. But the award itself is nothing without the guys it’s intended to honour; the bike builders that bless us daily with their art and expect pretty much nothing in return. Here’s to you, you big, oily, talented lunatics. As always, we’ve revisited every bike from this year (all 180-odd posts) to count and re-read your comments, tally Facebook likes and whip out our trusty awesome-o-meter to come up with our top 10 bikes for 2015. So, without any further ado…
When the Yamaha engineers put pencil to paper and created the XS650 with its classic looking parallel twin they could never have imagined that so many decades later it would continue to be a cult classic. But when Heath Reed owner of River Rat Cycle Fab from Davenport Iowa was commissioned to build this 1977 example he didn’t want to simply run with the pack and do the standard modifications. Instead the brilliant fabricator spent hours in deep thought working out how he could create more than just another XS650 tracker. In the end he came up with a hybrid; a tracker with a touch of café racer, street fighter styling cues and a little inspiration from the greatest guitar ever made! With the design finalised Heath set about giving the ’77 XS a second birth that when finished would be known as “The Rattler”.