Jeff Palhegyi Works His Magic on a Yamaha V-Star Classic

A smooth but potent machine dubbed "Tequila"

This article was originally published in the October 1998 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser.

Custom Yamaha V-Star Classic
Jeff Palhegyi delivers a smooth, but potent custom Yamaha V-Star Classic to the cruiser scene.Dean Groover

Royal Star fans have seen Jeff Palhegyi's work before—most will remember Yamaha's popular Speedstar showbike. Another Palhegyi work of art graces the pages of Motorcycle Cruiser (see "Royal Flush"), but he hasn't focused his talents exclusively on the Royal end of the Star line. Dubbed Tequila, Palhegyi's latest custom started life as a V-Star Classic owned by Yamaha Sales Promotions Manager, Kim German.

When Palhegyi began the project, he decided to take the V-Star’s big-bike look one step further. The fenders and tank were stretched, while maintaining a semblance of the Star’s lines. For example, the rear fender’s turned-out tip now drops a good three inches lower, and flips out to a narrower point. Still, put a stock Star next to Tequila and the family heritage is revealed in the curves. However, the flashy paint laid on by Taylor Design leaves the stately Classic paint scheme in the dust.

Residing under the more colorful, shapely fenders, a set of Buchanan’s rims and spokes were laced by Lemon Grove Cycle Supply to the polished and chromed OE hubs. The oversize rims, when paired with lower-profile Dunlop tires, give the bike the California look (a rubber band on big wheels) and still maintain an approximation of stock diameter, thus avoiding potential handling problems. Palhegyi said he simply “wanted to see some more air through the wheels.” Next, Palhegyi dropped Tequila’s suspension a couple inches front and rear, but he utilized the stock components. The rear shock was reworked, while the stanchions received the hacksaw and spacer treatment.

Custom Yamaha V-Star Classic
"Tequila" features a White Brothers Beach Bar, BUB Enterprises pipes, Buchanan's rims and spokes.Dean Groover

Tequila’s stock handlebar yielded to a White Brothers Bikini Beach Bar. The seat came from Corbin and the Yamaha accessory catalog. In fact, most of Tequila’s bolt-ons (like the passing lamps and the fork slider caps) were dreamed up by the Yamaha accessory team for V-Star owners to lavish on their rides. The rest of the shiny stuff—both polished and chromed varieties—was produced at Quality Polishing. Finally, a set of BUB Enterprises pipes gives Tequila additional shine, as well as a throatier voice.

This summer, Tequila made the rounds with the Yamaha demo ride crew, giving cruisers nationwide an opportunity to view Palhegyi’s work. After one taste, most viewers returned for another; just as with any top-shelf tequila.