I saw Greg Hageman's amazing cafe racers for the first time when I was admiring custom bikes on Erick Runyon's website. I remember, back then I thought "Wow! Whoever built these bikes must be truly in love with his work, because such a crafty combination of all details that cannot but adorn the bike, colors and the style, requires huge talent, lots of patience and time, as well as the most important ingredient - passion." And as it turned out later, I was right.
Greg is one of those lucky people who had a chance to get familiar with motorcycles at young age. Since then bikes have always been a big part of his life. Greg is a one man operation. He works from his workshop, building, rebuilding, customizing and changing bikes until they're just perfect. As Greg admits, he's obsessed with perfection. Well, in this case, I'm sure it's a good thing.
So, I got in touch with Greg and asked him some questions about his life and work. Read the interview below.
When was the first time you rode a motorcycle? What was it?
The first time ever rode a motorcycle was when I was 10 years old, my sister taught me to ride the family 1972 Cb100 Honda. At the time I thought it was a massive bike. As they say, went thru hell and back on that bike, even ended up riding it to high school when I got older.
Why and how did you get into the bike building business?
I've always been a mechanic, working on cars, motorcycles, farm machinery, you name it, if it has bolts holding it together, I had a wrench on it. I started restoring motorcycles for fun in the mid 90s, As a career, I officially went full time working on motorcycles in 98', I made the move from the auto world and got an apprenticeship at a Harley Dealer. I was really fortunate to have been given knowledge by some veterans, stuff like that is hard to get.
What bike/bikes do you ride?
I've got a barn full of bikes on the family farm, some original, some restored, Honda CBs, SLs, CLs, XLs, mostly early 70s stuff, Yamaha XSs, DTs, and mostly small CC stuff. I ride whatever I can when ever I can. Sitting in my garage now are mostly Viragos I've converted to Cafe racers or Scramblers. Just getting into the new Yamaha Star Bolts now.
Is there a modern motorcycle you would like to own as it is?
As far as modern bikes, there are so many, I really like the Truimph parallel twins right out of the box, Ducati sport 1000, the new Honda Cb1100? Too many to list, but as far as leaving them alone, probably not going to happen, don't think I could own a bike without some sort of alteration.
What is your thought on the future of motorcycle ideas and concepts? Will riders want something different in 10-15 years?
Hard to say where motorcycle design is headed in the future, I see more battery powered bikes in the future. As far as custom bikes, that's always going to change, but there are always certain designs or looks that will always remain classic and be "cool" forever.
What inspires you?
My design inspirations come from thinking back to when I was a kid daydreaming, looking at motorcycle magazines, books and brochures thinking "some day I'm gonna get one of those". I try to pull those memories into my designs.
Name 3 best places you have visited on your bike.
I've never traveled anywhere outstanding on a bike, not a big traveler. I do really like going to the Barber Vintagefest in Birmingham. As far as riding places, Im more into back road or off road exploring than running down the pavement.
Thanks Greg! BikeVX wishes you the best of luck with all your projects. Those who would like to know more about Greg and his builds, visit www.hagemanmc.com or follow him on facebook. A few bikes have also been featured on our blog: Yamaha XV750 Virago and Yamaha Star Bolt.