Motorbikes have really come into fashion in the last couple of years, as have tattoos – it would appear they are synonymous with each other. There’s no doubt that Café Racers are all the craze but I’m more of a Harley man. After being introduced to the HBO drama Sons of Anarchy I fell in love with the V-twin cruiser immortalised by the worlds most famous motorbike brand. Since my love affair with Harleys began I’ve taken a much deeper interest in the motorcycle industry as a whole, specifically the custom industry.
As a motoring enthusiast I’ll watch practically any show on the Discovery network. One show that caught my attention was ‘Café Racer’, not because of the title but the bike I saw on screen. A man named Greg Hageman had constructed a beautiful hybrid café racer with the origins of a cruiser. I did some research on the Iowa born bike builder and found out he’d spend 11 years working as a technician for Harley Davidson but had a penchant for Japanese motorcycles.
I recently stumbled across Greg’s latest project and it is nothing short of perfection. Just like me, a man had seen Greg’s creation on the TV and he’d been so impressed he’d called and ordered him to build a more powerful and more refined version.
This one is a 1982 Virago, and if you saw it on the street before its makeover you’d walk past it without a wink of emotion. The bike’s engine was basically left alone, apart from an air filter, new seals, the exhaust and some cleaning. The majority of the bike’s work was cosmetic – a refabricated rear sub frame (which he plans to mass manufacture and market for other custom Virago builds), tank, pegs, pipes, lights, seat and wheels. My favourite aspect of the bike is the DID powdercoated rims and spokes wrapped in Spitfire tires, they effortlessly blend the Harley look with the fashionable Café Racer maintaining an elegant aggressiveness.