WHAT I DO

Hagon have been around for 60 years, build­ing wheels, mak­ing shocks and sup­ply­ing all sorts of grass track and speed­way gear. Martin’s the boss

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Alan See­ley Pic­tures: Stu­art Collins

Martin Hagon, son of Alf, boss of Hagon wheels and shocks

Hagon is a name fa­mil­iar to gen­er­a­tions of mo­tor­cy­clists. Not sur­pris­ing re­ally given that the firm has just cel­e­brated its 60th an­niver­sary hav­ing been founded by grasstrack and sprint ace Alf Hagon in 1958. His son Martin joined the com­pany in 1978 at the ten­der age of 16.

“When dad started the firm it was known for Hagon grass track frames then speed­way, and as well as gen­eral en­gi­neer­ing, JAP and BSA C15 en­gines, spares and tun­ing were spe­cial­i­ties,” says Martin, who him­self en­joyed con­sid­er­able suc­cess in grasstrack and speed­way, be­com­ing twice Bri­tish Mas­ters Grasstrack cham­pion and also tak­ing a Euro­pean ti­tle. Now his own son Sam, 14, com­petes in ju­nior speed­way, his most re­cent achieve­ment be­ing as run­ner-up in the 250cc Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship.

To­day the Hagon brand is most synony­mous with shock absorbers and fork springs, with wheel­build­ing also part of the com­pany’s of­fer­ing. “The shock thing goes back to when Hagon were Gir­ling dis­trib­u­tors. When they sold their busi­ness in 1984 the new own­ers were only in­ter­ested in the car mar­ket so we took over the shock side of things,” says Martin.

Smart move it was too. At one time if you were think­ing about af­ter­mar­ket shocks, Hagon was prob­a­bly the first name you thought of. “We can make shocks for any bike built since the 1950s when bikes went to swingarm sus­pen­sion. That means we have tens of thou­sands of listings plus a whole range of op­tions,” he says. Pretty much ev­ery­thing apart from an­o­dis­ing is taken care of in-house when it comes to shock man­u­fac­ture.

Hagon have a lot more com­pe­ti­tion now than they did in the early days, what with the in­ter­net and cheap Far Eastern im­ports, but Martin re­mains up­beat in a crowded mar­ket­place: “Peo­ple know our name. We do what we can to keep the flag fly­ing.”

More than merely of­fer­ing qual­ity re­place­ments for tired-out orig­i­nals, Martin re­ports that the shock mar­ket has reached a dif­fer­ent point of greater ma­tu­rity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion: “Many of our cus­tomers re­alise that the stock shock or shocks on their bikes are wrong for their weight and the rid­ing they do, or per­haps too long or short.”

“You might be large or small, short or tall. Maybe you carry a pil­lion all the time or al­ways travel solo. There are more and more women get­ting into bikes too and they tend to be lighter than men. What­ever, the chance of the stock shock be­ing ab­so­lutely per­fect for what you do are slim,” he says. “Cus­tomers can look at our web­site to see the stan­dard re­place­ments we of­fer for their bike then email or call us to dis­cuss their ex­act re­quire­ments if they re­quire more spe­cific as­pects of per­for­mance.”

Stan­dard monoshocks with sin­gle progress damp­ing ad­just­ment list at £299.50 and for an­other £125 you can have an hy­draulic preload ad­juster. Twin shock prices start at just un­der £150 a pair. Sounds very rea­son­able to us.

Hav­ing paid at­ten­tion to the back-end of your bike, Hagon can also help you sort out the front. “Most rid­ers find stan­dard fork springs too soft, es­pe­cially for UK rid­ers on our roads. We sell a range of pro­gres­sive springs for road use. We will also ad­vise on the cor­rect grade of fork oil and a suit­able air gap too,” says Martin.

Fi­nally there’s the wheel­build­ing, not just for pre-cast wheel clas­sics al­though these are the bikes for which there is still most de­mand, but also for su­per­mo­tos and mod­ern ret­ros.

Hagon have built a solid rep­u­ta­tion over six decades, fo­cussing on what they do best, you can reckon on them be­ing around for an­other 60 years to come.

CON­TACT

0208 502 6222, [email protected], hagon-shocks.co.uk

Speed­way frames still part of Hago’s busi­ness

Com­press­ing heavy monoshock springs re­quires force

Old school stuff well catered for

Spot­less sur­faces for all prod­ucts

It’s a qual­ity prod­uct

That name’s been around for a bit

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