Lean and Green – MotoHangar Virago XV750 ~ Return of the Cafe Racers

Lean and Green – MotoHangar Virago XV750 ~ Return of the Cafe Racers

Source: Lean and Green – MotoHangar Virago XV750 ~ Return of the Cafe Racers

Cafe Racers, custom motorcycles, motorcycle gear and lifestyle news.

Pat Jones has been running his MotoHangar workshop out of Vienna, Virginia now since 2010. During that time I’ve featured a handful of his builds on these pages and have always been a fan of his simplistic approach to customising classic Japanese motorcycles. His latest work, based on a 1983 shaft drive version of Yamaha’s XV750 Virago, is no exception. Unlike many of his other builds though, this one was turned around in a measly 3 weeks.

The quick turnaround on this build was made possible when Pat acquired the Virago as an unfinished project. “The previous owner had done the paint and exhaust himself.” Says Pat. “It was sort of a combination of MotoHangar’s work and the previous owners, so we were both very pleased with the final outcome and the way the bike now performs.”

Rather than the customary full tear down Pat was able to work with most of the bikes existing components. The previous owner had made some great stylistic decisions, but lacked the know how to mount them for the best visual impact. Luckily that just so happens to be something that MotoHangar pride themselves on.

Pat constructed a custom subframe to level out the Virago’s tank and tail and run them both parallel with the road. Once the seating position was finalised rear set footpegs and clip on bars were mounted for classic cafe racer styling and optimum riding comfort. After relocating the ignition switch the wiring was also redone, concealing an Anti Gravity battery under the tank and the other miscellaneous electrical components in the tail cavity.

In keeping with MotoHangar’s clean and simple style an LED taillight and indicators have been mounted virtually out of sight and the oversized dials have been replaced by a single Yamaha TX500 speedometer. To get the most out of K&N filter and free flowing exhaust the carbs were jetted and Dyna ignition coils added for a clean and reliable spark.

The bright, Stryker green paint of the bodywork is the same colour found on Dodge’s musclebound Viper SRT. Despite this Virago’s 750cc engine not packing the same punch as an 8 liter V8, it is sure to turn just as many heads.

As MotoHangar moves into another year of business Pat has his sights set on producing a series of MotoHangar bolt on fiberglass body parts. If they’re anything like the ones he’s made for the motorcycles in his impressive portfolio it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on their facebook page for updates!


Biff Byford’s Album-by-Album Guide to the new Saxon Box Set – Feature – Classic Rock

Biff Byford’s Album-by-Album Guide to the new Saxon Box Set – Feature – Classic Rock

The release of nine Saxon albums on vinyl making up the Eagles & Dragons box set represents a period from 1991 – 2009 that frontman Biff looks back on very fondly.

Saxon frontman Biff Byford takes us through the band’s new Eagles and Dragons collection

The release of nine Saxon albums on vinyl making up the Eagles & Dragons box set represents a period from 1991 – 2009 that frontman Biff looks back on very fondly.

“There’s so much good stuff on these albums, and the band went through something of a renaissance during this period. They all have a lot to offer when you listen back to them now. I don’t make a habit of putting on Saxon albums all the time, but when I do get to hear any of these nine, I am happy with the way they each turned out. It’s great to have all these albums released together like this, but it’s gonna be bloody heavy. I hope none of our fans do themselves an injury picking the box up!”

Solid Ball Of Rock (1991)
“Let’s be honest, the previous couple of years had been bad, not just for us but for a lot of rock and metal bands. And Saxon fans didn’t like the line-up that recorded our previous album Destiny (released in 1988). So, we had a rethink, brought in Tim ‘Nibbs’ Carter on bass and came back sounding like a breath of fresh air. We also had a new record deal with Virgin and all round it was an exciting time for the band once more. This was a massive leap forward for us.”

Forever Free (1992)
“Unfortunately, for this album the record label fell out with Kalle Trapp, who had produced Solid Ball Of Rock. So, we went to Vienna to work with an Austrian producer named Herwig Ursin, who had produced a couple of hits previously, but wasn’t right at all for what we wanted. But we tried to do the album with him, before I decided it was turning into a disaster. Therefore we wasted a lot of time – we should have said no to this guy straight away. We never learn! So, I got Peter Hinton, who produced Wheels Of Steel and Strong Arm Of The Law, to come down and help me to get the album done. And eventually it came out well. I really like the title track. But it was a bizarre album to make. Still, the concept behind it was good and so were the songs.”

Dogs Of War (1995)
“This turned out to be Graham Oliver’s last album with us. We got a different guitarist in for the tour, Doug Scarratt who then joined us permanently. Graham’s final live show with Saxon was on New Year’s Eve 1994, in Bremen, Germany, but it was obvious when we were recording that there was a rift opening up between him and the rest of us. This was the album when we began to get a lot heavier. We still had those rock’n’roll radio style songs, but all round it was a move to heavy ground. Not just musically, but also in terms of the lyrics. The title song, for instance, was about the ongoing war in Yugoslavia.”

Unleash The Beast (1997)
“Doug Scarratt was now a full-time member of the band, and played his part in the writing process as well. I feel the songs here are more musically interesting that what we had previously done. And the band had firmly turned into what Saxon would become from then on. That’s not to say we abandoned the style for which we were known. However, there was a lot more going in with our music here. I really liked what we did, and it holds up well.”

Metalhead (1999)
“This was the first of what I would call our dark albums. Doug by then was firmly bedded down in the band, and as result played a bigger role on the writing side. I was also interested in different subjects lyrically to what I had been previously writing about. So, there are songs here about spirituality and aliens. For me, this was a benchmark album for the way we sounded. I know from talking to musicians that it was very much loved by a lot of other bands.”

Killing Ground (2001)
“I have nothing but great memories of making this album. To me, it’s full of fine songs and comes across as a strong sounding album. I also like the cover, which was done by Paul R. Gregory, and really captures the spirit of the album so well. Yes, this was a goodie for us.”

Lionheart (2004)
“For some reason, British fans really like this album a lot. I would go so far as to say that our fans over here are into this record more than people in any other part of the world. Why? I have no clue at all. Perhaps it’s all down to the fact that it somehow sounds very British. It’s certainly packed with good riffs and melodies. The cover artwork, again from Paul Gregory, is also striking. This provides a great connection between the album and the band. Maybe that’s another reason why Saxon fans in the UK have such a strong feeling for it.”

The Inner Sanctum (2007)
“I recall that I wanted to start the album with the track Atila The Hun, which I wrote with the intention of it being the song to open the record. But the rest of the guys wanted to go for State Of Grace, which is what happened. My logic was that by having Atila The Hun opening up everything, we would immediately establish this was gonna be a heavy album. Now, don’t get me wrong, State Of Grace is a fine song, but for me this wasn’t the way to begin The Inner Sanctum. I wrote the song about the building boom in the 11th century when so many cathedrals were constructed. Overall, it’s an album I like a lot, however it was also the first time since the 80s that we didn’t have a title track. One was written, but never recorded.”

Into The Labyrinth (2009)
“Another album that stands up well. Battalions Of Steel, which starts the record, is great. I wrote it about the fans, as well as being about the Roman legions. I love the fact this is the opener. We play that live still, and it’s become a real fan favourite. A true anthem. Paul Gregory’s artwork is also superb.”

Eagles and Demons is released this Friday, and is available in standard and special, signed editions.

Source: Biff Byford’s Album-by-Album Guide to the new Saxon Box Set – Feature – Classic Rock

Biker Tent – Khyam Highlander Tent

Biker Tent – Khyam Highlander Tent

Highlander Quick Erect Tent – KHY Another of their tents benefiting from the unique Khyam Rapidex Quick Erect pole system The Highlander has for many years been a firm favourite within the Khyam brand The Rapidex Quick Erect system means all of the poles remain sewn in to the flysheet when the tent is packed away To pitch you simply unfold the tent lock and the joints into place within a matter of seconds Ideal for festivals aut

Source: Khyam Highlander Quick Erect Tent