FORGOTTEN MOTOCROSS TECH: NEITHER HONDA NOR YAMAHA PIONEERED THE ALUMINUM FRAME—ALF DID
Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA reveals motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? The 1977 Hagon Yamaha 540.
Most motocrossers think that either Yamaha, with its 1987 YZM500 raced by Leif Perrson and Kurt Lundquist, or Honda, with its 1997 CR250, invented the aluminum motocross frame. But the truth is, aluminum motocross frames existed in England many years earlier.
First, Bert Greeves used a cast aluminum head tube and down tube as early as 1953 on his Villiers-powered Greeves motocross bikes. But, the first all-aluminum monocoque motocross frame was built by British Speedway and Grass Track star Alf Hagon for Vic Eastwood to race in 1977. Eastwood’s Hagon 540 used a Yamaha TT500 engine bored to 540cc with a three-speed gearbox.
Alf Hagon began building Speedway frames in 1957. He built every part in his 6 x 8-foot workshop, save for the Girling shocks. When Girling was taken over by Boge, the company dropped motocross shocks from its inventory. In response, Alf built his own shocks for speedway, grass track, sidecar, street and vintage motocross bikes. Hagon is still in business today— albeit the shock business. Hagon makes shocks for sidecars, off-road vehicles and Speedway forks.