Words: Roland Sands
Images: Brian Nelson
There’s something special about Atlanta that’s not so easy to put into words. Perhaps it’s the laid-back atmosphere of the south, smashed together with the hype and energy of a city like Atlanta, which beats like a pumping heart in the middle of the state. One thing we know for sure is that one hour north of the bustling city lies one hell of a road race track, Road Atlanta, the site of the first round of the 2021 MotoAmerica season and the kick off of the first baggers road racing championship, The Mission Foods King of the Baggers. For machines that normally travel cross country, packed with all that’s needed for a few days on the road with your significant other, the transformation of these machines is nothing short of a motorcycle miracle. If you’re getting your first look at King of the Baggers, your initial response might be, why? And that is a correct response. Why? And the correct answer for those that race them… because we can. It’s a scenario where something is so wrong it becomes right just by way of doing it as well as you possibly can. Professional level riders on 600 plus pound cruisers jacked up to the moon, 17” wheels with sticky Dunlop Q4 tires front and back, massive road racing brakes and upside-down forks with tweaked geometry, rear sets or mid controls, carbon bodywork and bags and for most, the lack of a stereo. With a current weight limit of 635 lbs. dry, the bikes are a challenge to keep from dragging on the ground even with massive modifications. The frames are stock and the motors retain the stock cases and the majority of stock internals. This makes for a wide bike in the case of both the Indian Challenger and the Big CC Harley Baggers which both have massive primaries and frames more suited to going straight than banging off the rev limiter at 100mph at 50 degrees of lean angle. But the secret is in the little things and with Bagger racing, every little change gets the machine closer to road race-ready and there are a thousand little changes.