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2013 Star Bolt Build-Off Winner Greg Hageman

Thursday, October 17, 2013
When the Star Bolt was unveiled at Daytona Bike Week in March 2013 it was immediately apparent that the mount had loads of customization potential. The Bolt arrived in dealerships the following month and soon after Star announced it would hold a custom bike build-off between 10 builders. Each put their personal spin on the machine and the results range from the stripped-down minimalism of Chappell Customs entry to the audacious off-road ready motorcycle developed by Sesto Custom Cycles. In the end simplicity and a retro vibe won out when Greg Hageman of Hageman Motorcycles (formerly Docs Chops) accepted the first-place prize in the competition at the inaugural AIMExpo.

One notable feature of Hageman’s entry is that every modification is bolt-on, which was an important aspect from the first stages of conception.

“I didn’t cut the frame or do anything that would void the warranty,” explains Hageman. “That was my whole goal, to build it so later I could produce a kit that the average consumer could put together in his own garage.

“It took a couple of days of just stripping it down, sitting and staring at it to figure out attachment points and how to take it from a drop seat cruiser style to have more of a classic frame and backbone to it.”

Another goal was to create a bike that wouldn’t just sit on the stand in a window.

“I ride it everywhere,” says Hageman. “It rides awesome. I get a lot of flak about the knobbies but you know I put them on for this and if it starts eating up the tires too quickly, I’ll just put a less aggressive tire on it.”

The subframe is built in Hageman’s shop, it has Works Performance suspension, Ridewright Wheel hubs with 18 inch Sun Rims out front, 17 inch out back. The tires are Continental Twinduro TKC80s and the fork gaiters come from BellaCorse. The exhaust is a Cone Engineering/Norton Commando hybrid by Hageman Motorcycles and the seat is hand-formed by Lance’s Tops.

Hageman has a passion for older bikes which stems from his earliest experiences with motorcycles. These experiences became a driving influence for his Star Bolt build.

“I’m just really into the vintage bikes. I grew up on a farm and everyone was riding a DT or an RT or an XL or something like that. Those were the bikes I’d see when I walked into the dealership as a little kid, 10 or 11 years old. That was the stuff back then, the Holy Grail.

“I wanted something you’d look at that would remind you of the bikes back then. Yamaha made so many iconic bikes in the 70’s and 80’s. They don’t have anything now that reminds you of that time.

“I’ve seen Sportsters that have been turned into something similar to this, so I was like ‘well I want to make a Yamaha, a real kick-ass bike that brings you back to those days.’ Something that will function and something you can build and still have your factory warranty.”

Hageman has been in the industry for some time, working at a Harley-Davidson dealership for the past 11 years. He’s a Master level 5 technician and lately has become enmeshed in the café racer, vintage restoration scene thanks to the projects coming out of his own shop. One of his bikes was featured in Michael Lichter’s “Motorcycle as Art” exhibit at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in 2013 and his builds have also been profiled on the Discovery Channel’s “Café Racer” series.

“I do a lot of Viragos and I ended up making a lot of subframes and selling them all over the place,” said Hageman of his recent work. “I built one for “Café Racer” Season 2 and ever since then people have been interested in building Virago café racers. Building one of those costs a lot of money because you’re refurbing a 30-year-old bike so to get my labor back it’s almost impossible, I have to sell the bike for $15,000 dollars to even justify it. So I build a subframe bolt-on kit so that people can just buy that from me and try building them up. That’s my whole thing with this (the Bolt Build) is that people can do the same thing.”

The Bolt competition also stands as a turning point for Hageman. We’ll likely see more modern bikes with vintage styling, rather than revived classics, come from his shop in the future.

“I’m kind of shifting from working on 30-year-old bikes to these that look like 30-year-old bikes.”

Check out Hagamen Motorcycles’ website for more information on when the Star Bolt subframes and accessories will be available.
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