Performance Baggers have arrived and it’s not something that’s going away any time soon. The long in the tooth Harley Bagger traditionally viewed as a long haul two up machine destined for a trip to Sturgis has blossomed into a machine capable of far more. Lean angle, horsepower, stopping power and agility have come together in a cohesive package transforming yesterday’s road couch into a machine that’s both fun to ride and still capable of packing luggage and a passenger in comfort. Gone are the 90 mph wobbles that have been a main stay of the bagger rider for years. The stock Milwaukee 8 is not a bad machine stock and is far better than it’s predecessor, but the aftermarket community has done it’s part to redefine what a custom bagger is and always should have been. Fun.
One of the coolest things about building bikes is we get to use the bikes as inspiration. We included our newest 10” Sector pull back riser kit and bagger gauge mount as well as a prototype dash filler that will soon be in production. We have also include some as yet to be released parts including the Cam cover, Air Cleaner and Derby cover that includes a crash slider.
The trend of the large front wheel and wide rear tire bagger seems a bit archaic compared with today’s high performance rides. And it’s perhaps the influx of younger customers hyped on hard riding with an extra level of comfort that has pushed the performance trend further and faster. As is evident on race tracks across America, Baggers have even become race track capable with the qualified rider able to turn impressive lap times. Lap times that would qualify for a Super Bike grid. The bar has officially been raised.
Enter the Carbon Bagger. This is not a race bike, far from it. But it’s obviously inspired greatly by racing as all high performance baggers are.
Other upgrades include Diamond engineering bolt kits, CNC racing carbon resevoirs with Brembo Master Cylinders. Track Dynamics Nickel Swingarm and a bunch of other rad shit.
Oh yea, and we didn’t do the graphics because the carbon looked so sick, we chose to leave it… at least for now.
Performance baggers, you would have thought it crazy to put the two together 10 years ago. History has shown it’s a bit of an oxymoron when not attached to the current crop of high-performance road bombers with cornering aptitude to match. The Bagger trend has swung wildly from bikes for granddad to massive front wheels, loud stereo’s and custom bodies with insane paint jobs built for Daytona Main Street. While the over-the-top bagger trend grew, the RSD crew and Roland had a vested interest in high performance baggers and ensuring the performance was increased rather than decreased. Roland was one of the first builders to push high performance within the Vtwin custom scene and built a brand out of it. It wasn’t just baggers, but all forms of cruiser and Vtwin that got the performance upgrade at RSD. Harley, Indian, Victory and Yamaha’s now defunct Star brand all benefited from high end performance parts and handling. So, it’s no surprise to find ourselves back in the groove of a trend that we helped create and hope it turns to a staple. With the growth and popularity of Moto America’s King of the Baggers as well as the Bagger Racing League it’s been proven there’s hunger and a home for track ready Bagger race bikes. The real benefit of racing baggers is the creation of new high performance parts that work for the street. And this is where our current build begins.
While we spend a lot of time racing Indian’s, we’ve kept a close eye on the Harley side of the fence. We’ve built a collection of High Performance Baggers it the past and now we have the opportunity to try out our new Sector product collection on the Carbon Bagger. The Sector parts are both high performance and beautiful. They are function first as is evidence by the machine lines and the nickel finishing but are lightweight with no frills. The product highlights only what is needed and necessary which is the same approach we are taking on the Carbon Bagger Build.
The build started life as a crashed Street Glide. Well spare you the details, but things didn’t start off clean, or straight... But with a little help from our friends at Dr. Johns we straightened out the kinks and got the Carbon Bagger sorted with arrow like precision. Once that chassis was sorted it was off to Bennet’s for an engine upgrades. Parts were tough to get but in time Bennet’s was stocked with the necessary S and S items to boost the torque and HP numbers to a sufficient level.
Once the motor was finished it was back to the RSD shop and a meeting with the gods of carbon. Bags, upper and lower fairing, front fender and rear fender as well as sided covers were all Carbon fiber reducing the weight of the bike significantly. The body will eventually get a stick on racing style graphic over the carbon body allowing the owner to change out the look of the bike when and if he wants. The quality of the graphics and ease of application have made graphics for customs an obtainable and great looking concept.
The rolling kit got a massive updgrade with RSD traction wheels. 19 x 3.5 front wheel with a 19 x 120 Dunlop Sportmax tire and an 18 x 5.5 rear wheel with a 18 x 180 Dunlop Sportmax rear. Front brakes were upgraded to Brembo radial mount calipers and Kraus mounts attached to Alloy art fork lowers with nitride tubes and GP suspension valving. Rear Shocks are Ohlins remote resevoirs. We’ve effectively raised the bike a few inches getting more ground clearance without going full race. Foot controls are floor boards and stay in the stock position. Seat is from Saddlemen and isn’t here yet, but it’s going to be sick.
Hand control’s are stock switches with Brembo radial masters and RSD Sector riser, pull backs and gauge mount in Nickle with Pro Taper bars.
Air Cleaner is another item from the new RSD Sector collection as well as the Nickel Engine cover. Exhaust is a Black Ceramic Burns Stainless Nhb 2-1 w/ heat shield.
More upgrades to come! We’re pushing to get it finished for Born Free!