Synchronicity: Doc’s Chops Builds a Yamaha Seca 900

Transforming a Yamaha Seca 900 into a custom café racer.

  • 1983 Yamaha Seca 900 Custom
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • 1983 Yamaha Seca 900 Custom
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • 1983 Yamaha Seca 900 Custom
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • The Seca wears Works Performance rear shocks built to Greg’s specifications. The rearsets are from Raask, and the switchgear and levers are Yamaha R1 components.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • The tail section is a stock Yamaha 550 Seca piece, but Greg fabricated a steel seat frame to take the pad and cover.
    Photo by Erick Runyon
  • The bike uses 43mm front forks and dual discs from a FZR1000.
    Photo by Erick Runyon

1983 Yamaha Seca 900 Custom
Claimed power:
97hp @ 9,000rpm (est.)
Top speed:
853cc air-cooled DOHC inline four, 67 x 60.5mm bore/stroke, 9.2:1 compression ratio
Weight: 453lb (205kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG:
3.9gal (15ltr)

Fans of synchronicity will appreciate this: Three years ago close to this very day, I sat in front of this very computer and pounded away at this very keyboard. My assignment was a piece about Greg Hageman, aka Doc’s Chops, and a 1982 Yamaha Virago 920 he’d transformed into a stunning café racer for Mike Martens of Kansas City, Missouri. The Ugly Duckling ran in the 2012 May/June issue of Motorcycle Classics.

Ever since his 2011 appearance in the second season of Café Racer TV, Greg and his Florida-based shop Doc’s Chops have become well known for building road-ready custom Viragos, along with parts and pieces to help others customize their own bikes. It was Greg’s TV debut that brought him to Mike’s attention.

Mike was blown away by Greg’s eye for detail, and he wondered if Greg would be interested in building a shaft drive Yamaha café racer based on the transverse 4-cylinder Seca platform. Their conversation went in circles, and instead of the Seca that Mike wanted, Greg ended up building the 920 Virago that was featured in the story.

The Seca’s draw

“My first bike was a 750 Seca that I bought when I was 16,” Mike says of his interest in the model. “I bought it in 1982 in Dubuque, Iowa, from a guy who’d lost his job. When I first went to look at it he wanted $2,500 and I only had $1,500. I didn’t even make him an offer.

“Later, I saw the ad again, and I went back. I was the only one who’d expressed interest, and I now had $1,600. He took the cash, and I rode it home. I kept it for quite a few years, rode it daily, and took many trips on it. The Seca made me a Yamaha man, and it made me appreciate shaft-drive motorcycles.”

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