Maybe it’s an old school mentality that I should let go, but no one works on my bikes but me. Knowing you tightened that axle bolt yourself gives a little added comfort when speeds start going past the ton. But if he didn’t live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean I’d throw my keys to Greg Hageman in a heartbeat! He’s a master mechanic who never fails when it comes to building incredible customs that ride as perfectly as they appeal to the eye. So it’s easy to see why Rebel Yell Bourbon entrusted the future custom bike hall of famer to knock out a give-away machine for one lucky customer. The prize? A go anywhere 2015 Harley Davidson Sportster 48 that tips its cap to the AMF years.
Given anyone could win the 48, from an experienced rider to a novice with no saddle time, Greg used his years of experience to craft a machine that would suit all and sundry. “I kept custom one-off mods down on this bike simply because the final owner, could be anyone, I wanted to keep the bike stock enough that the owner could still take it to a local dealer without being hassled,” explains Sir Hageman. This means easy to ride, always reliable and yet parked up it’ll stand out at any event, just as it did when on display at The Handbuilt Motorcycle show.
In addition Greg also had in mind a bike with the philosophy “ride anywhere, anytime, scramble style. In Florida anything off pavement means sand, the fat tyres keep you on top and in control.” Those tyres are a Continental TKC 130/80/17 front and an extra chunky 170/60/17 rear to spit up plenty of rooster tails. These are wrapped around 17in Sun alloy rims by Buchanan’s that are laced together with stainless spokes.
Pressing the rubber to the road is a set of high quality Hagon Nitro stainless rear shocks for rust free riding. Up front the factory forks have been overhauled by Hageman with Progressive Suspension fork springs. While Burly fork preload adjusters allow the rider to dial the Harley in for their weight and riding style. The suspension package is finished out with fork gaitors from TC Brothers for that perfect Scrambler feel.
Stainless shocks, gaitors and those tyres show you Greg means business when it comes to riding in the sand. So to keep the HD protected many of the parts were sent out to Profab Customs, St Petersburg, for some hard-wearing powder coat. While giving the bike a big splash of ’70s style the AMF paint job with heavy metallic flake was laid down by Moe Colors in Tampa. Even the guards and oil tank get in on the party and ensure a flawless finish front to back.
The engine gets in on the AMF era with a complete set of EMD engine covers; rockers, primary, cam and sprocket all covered right. But the 1200cc V-Twin is anything but the horror of those years instead tuned to perfection with the fitting of a Stage 1 HD ECU upgrade. This makes the most of the breathing mods that start with a TC Brothers custom air cleaner. And finish out with a beautiful Bassani stainless exhaust that Greg’s topped off with a Cone Engineering muffler.
Those new horses get sent to the rear wheel thanks to a Lowbrow Chain conversion with HD X-ring 530 chain. TC Brothers Scrambler handlebars give something for the new rider to hang on to and look the business wearing Biltwell Thruster grips. There’s a single mirror to keep the law happy and a 5.75in headlight with integrated LED turn signals keeps the front end clutter free. The rear end gets similar treatment with a Bates style LED taillight and Motogadget turn signals.
“Knowing that I’d have to ride cross-country from Spokane to Sturgis before the giveaway, I mounted a quick detach rear rack, bags and tank rack. I also added a reserve fuel tank which can easily plumb into the tank sight gauge.” His bikes are clean but he’s also a bloody genius! Those racks hold a stunning set of leather saddlebags, a perfect match for the Biltwell Sporty-8 seat. That combined with the Knight Design footpegs create a comfortable ride as well as plenty of clearance should things get crazy.
The end result is what has put Hageman on the map and made him such a cornerstone of the custom motorcycle industry. A clean crafted ride that retains absolute ride-ability and reliability. It’ll take you cross-country, over the dunes or simply on a casual Sunday ride. And when you pour a little Bourbon over the rocks and stand back to take it all in; you soon realise that some of the very best customs aren’t about smacking you upside the head, but simply doing everything better with that signature Hageman style.