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
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.
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