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  This article exposes a dangerous trend of financial ruin to most everyone who purchases or customizes a Harley-Davidson bagger (dresser/touring) motorcycle.

  What is a bagger?  It can be any brand and any model of motorcycle by any manufacturer, but this article focuses on the Harley-Davidson Twin-Cam touring motorcycles.  You can tell a bagger as it will have large saddlebags and a large fairing mounted up front.  See Baggers Magazine photo image below.  The custom bagger is the worst beast you can own.  The bike on the magazine cover is somewhat mildly customized, but within reason and is relatively safe.  The low-profile front tire makes the bike dangerous for a blow-out.

If you like Baggers then subscribe to Baggers Magazine Website

Only the big Twin-Cam engine models will be discussed here.

Who Should Buy a Bagger?

  Anybody who will use the bike to ride with a passenger and take long road trips.  Problem is, too many riders are buying into the bigger-is-better hype and with a Harley-Davidson that can spell big trouble for you financially.

The Bad News About Baggers

  1. Many customized baggers are illegal for street use (read below).
  2. Baggers are expensive.  Too much money is required to purchase the beast.
  3. Engine defects are chronic and not curable (Read article; click here).
  4. The customizing money you put into the bike you kiss good-bye.
  5. Resale value plummets.  It is not a profitable investment.
  6. Baggers are not an impressive status symbol, but bagger riders think it is so.
  7. The bikes are heavy monsters with bad handling manners.
  8. Most are difficult to repair and cost more to repair.
  9. Flat tire in rear can be hard to fix with emergency plug due to clearance access issues.
  10. Insurance is more expensive with a bagger.
  11. Brakes wear out quickly and that includes the expensive brake disk rotors.
  12. The engines run excessively hot even with oil cooler or oversize oil pan.
  13. Many riders hop-up the engine creating a state of ruin (Click here).
  14. Fuel mileage is not anything to brag about.  It will cost you at the pump.
  15. Tire wear is increased so be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars often.
  16. Most bagger riders now customize their bikes, but will waste their money.
  17. Frame components are stressed and often break down on baggers.  Swingarm bearings, shocks, forks, neck bearings etc. take a pounding and fail and not cheap to replace.
  18. You can end up with an expensive pile of junk with a defective engine.
  19. Baggers often have the largest engine displacements and that just causes incredible problems as engine, transmission and frame components become more stressed and fail.
  20. Baggers are so heavy they are inertia monsters and can not stop or swerve out of danger.  You will notice baggers and sport bikes get into the most accidents.  You could be next.  They don't stop well at all and handling is poor for evasion so beware.  They are easy to drop even at parking lot speeds and will easily trap and crush your ankle, leg and torso bones and slam your head to the pavement.  If the bike falls on you expect a long healing process.
  21. A bagger wants to fall down if the rear brake locks up.  It is the nature of the beast.  I have seen these heavy contraptions just slide sideways and dump the rider off the bike.  Nasty accidents just from locking up the rear wheel in a panic stop, the bike just fall out and away rapidly.  All heavy bikes do this even the Honda Goldwing, considered the king of beasts, but heavy Harley-Davidson baggers are habitual low-side sliders.  Sportsters tend to fishtail and remain upright whereas baggers simply fall down slamming the rider down hard to the pavement.
  22. Still, there are people who think baggers are cool, even if riding one ups the ante of getting into a horrible accident.  I see most baggers speeding, driving faster than everybody else and they are on the wrong machine for that sort of behavior.  Fast baggers is a dangerous trend/image to uphold.  It is suicidal.
  23. A CVO bagger is Harley-Davidson's custom bagger.  You pay tens of thousands of dollars for a bike that is not much better than a Road King model.  Be realistic.
  24. If you install a massively tall 26" or 30" front wheel you need to rake the forks to get the bike to become level.  Handling will suffer with serious heavy turning effort.  It may look cool, but the ride will be a drain on the body to steer the beast.  And the cost of those wheels is tossing money to the wind.  The tires?  They are not cheap and they won't last due to the constant rubber/road scuffing, so expect to replace those skinny, tall front tires more often than you thought they would last.
  25. The bagger crowd is just that.  It usually begins with a friend chopping a stock bike to create a custom super bagger and the "cool factor" spreads like the flu to other friends.  It now becomes the "in thing" to own, but nobody is thinking how much this is going to cost.  Okay, for some money is no option for the custom bagger is just their toy.  What is bad is the "craze" infects those who really can't afford to customize a bike and can not afford to lose money.
  26. Every dime you put into that custom bagger is gone forever.  You won't get it back unless you win a major Sturgis contest with it as a "bike builder" or you happen to have a rich uncle who will buy it from you (few do).  You also need to realize you are paying a lot of money to get strangers to "gawk" at you bike whom you can never impress anyway.  Fact is, nobody cares about your bike no matter how nice it is.  Your return on that investment to impressments is zero.  Get real.
  27. Your stock touring Harley-Davidson and, especially a custom bagger, are prime targets for thieves.  Lots and lots of Harley's are stolen every day, mostly the Twin-Cam engine bikes, and a bagger is the biggest prize in a thief's eyes.  Locking the bike's fork is a joke.  Thieves just pick up the bike, toss it in back of a panel van and away they go.  Chaining your bike down to a pole in concrete is no deterrent as liquid nitrogen will freeze the chain and it will break that chain or metal cable like glass in seconds.  Be careful if you own a bagger... it is ground zero for bike thieves!  The more money you spend to customize it the louder you shout, "steal me" and the thieves will come.  Yes, if you build it... they will come!
  28. Many bagger fenders are so low to the ground you can't visually inspect the tire condition for cuts, nails, etc., and even if you could see the problem you can't fix a flat tire because the frame and fender get in the way.  Time to call a tow truck to fix a flat tire.
  29. The seat is so low you can't see the road clearly ahead of you, especially if a huge, hideous, bicycle wheel is up front further elevating the front of the bike while you are sitting way too low.  This is grossly unsafe and stupid.
  30. Note that these custom baggers despise tail lights, turn signals and headlights.  They are very tiny and very dumb to ride it on the street.
  31. The long rake on these bagger's front forks are so stretched to fit that bicycle front wheel the front shocks actually do not function well which can hammer the handlebars right out of your hands when hitting objects in the road.  There's too much leverage force from the wheel traveling up the forks to the handlebars.  You also have to fight the bike to keep it straight when riding it and muscle it in turns.
  32. The front fender is low on the back side and short on the upper side, so short the water will flash off the tire and reverse direction right into your face. HHI makes a neck rake kit to help tame a custom bagger.
  33. These baggers sacrifice function for looks.  Even the choppers of the 70's functioned unlike these baggers.  Plus, these baggers are so heavy and unbalanced you can easily crash.  These show bikes should be left on the showroom floor, not on our streets.  A lot more riders are going to find out the hard way by crashing these expensive beasts killing themselves in the process.  These baggers are dangerous to ride.
  34. The big-wheel bagger also requires a low-profile front tire.  These tires are horrible to absorb bumps in the road, are so thin they grab cracks in the road, bend the expensive wheel when striking bumps in the roadway and they can "blow-out" if you hit a object in the road.  These tiny thin tires are dangerous especially on a big heavy bike.  Much of the weight of a Harley-Davidson is on the front wheel and to install a smaller footprint tire up front can cause the bike to skid and fall down as the contact patch with the road has been dangerously compromised.  These custom bagger bikes are not fit to be ridden on streets and highways.
  35. The bagger look requires the bike be lowered to a low-rider appearance.  Again, this is dangerous as a small object can lodge itself under the bike and flip the bike over at speed.  Cornering clearance can be so low that the frame is lifted causing the rear wheel to slip and the front wheel to crank out of position.  This means an instant loss of control and a horrific crash.
  36.  A stock Harley-Davidson bagger is at least designed to handle with some civility compared to the nasty low and stretched custom bagger's being produced today by chop-artists.  I advise to buy a stock Harley-Davidson bagger and be happy with it.  Do not customize a stock Harley to create an extreme bagger.  You will have the look you want, but the bike's riding qualities will be absolutely destroyed and you will never recover the money you put into that bike.  Even trade in value will be horrifically and shockingly low.
  37. A custom bagger will cost you more for insurance and your bike will be targeted for theft.  Your factory warranty will likely be void.
  38. The custom bagger is the stupid rich man's toy.  Money does not give wisdom, only the appearance of it, where fools tread blindly to their demise.
  39. A bagger needs ultra-loud boom box music to be cool, but loud music is a non-attentive rider who can not hear vehicles encroaching into his lane.  If you look at the accidents at motorcycle rallies and just in your town you will see baggers and sport bikes are the two styles of bikes crashing.
  40. It goes against reason to add weight to a motorcycle.  It has always been the tradition and goal to reduce weight to gain power, speed, control, economy, braking, handling, heat reduction with engine longevity, etc.  Removing pounds increases cubic inches and power output relatively speaking.  It is a freebie method to gain engine power.  The custom bagger mentality is directly opposite of reason.  They increase the weight of the motorcycle which overloads the engine and drivetrain, increases engine heat and reliability.  So, they hop-up the engine with big pistons and cams which makes more heat and more unreliability and destroys economy.  It is insanity at its best at work.  If you step back and contemplate what is going on you will come to realize there is an idiotic crowd mentality driving this bagger-thing craze.   A price will be paid for it and more than most bagger lovers had bargained for.  It is okay to build a custom bagger for shows, but don't expect to ride one as a touring bike... it won't last.  It will always be in the shop for repairs.   Humongous valanced fenders and bags add weight.  A bike too long, too low to the ground and too heavy will be too slow and overheat even if a larger engine is installed.  Big 60 lb fairings drags down performance, fuel mileage and costs a fortune to repair front end components.  Just ask any mechanic.    
  41. Baggers with long-rake front ends hammer the neck bearing to dust in no time at all. Even fork tubes can bend.  But serious mishandling can occur due to a heavy elongated bike.  Remember, raked forks were a chopper thing and those bikes were light in weight.
  42. Custom paint job can ruin your bike's resale value.  The skulls, witches and spiders you like, even a goofy color scheme will ruin resale value.  A custom bagger will sell new for a pretty penny, but once used it is a pile of junk as few want to buy it or pay what you want for it.  Custom bike builders earn good money, but the buyer won't.
  43. Baggers cost more to repair due to the fact body panels, deeply embedded fairings that takes hours to remove, bat wings, saddlebags all must be removed to service the bike.  You can't even fix a flat tire or adjust a drive belt without disassembling the bike to a degree and this adds to labor cost (and time if you do it yourself).  You will pay a price owning a bagger.
  44. Baggers run hot.  Due to the body styling and panels and poor airflow over the engine and transmission and also due to increased engine power the heat is awful.  Heat kill engines, so don't expect long life from a bagger especially if it is a big, heavy bagger with a hopped up motor.
  45. The big heavy custom bagger, even with a hopped up big engine 113 c.i. or larger now requires a seven-speed transmission or risk slow launch and excessive torque and breakage of engine and drivetrain components.  This is a very expensive fix.  Also, lock-up clutches are required to add to the financial pain.  Forget about fuel mileage, you won't have much with these heavy beasts.
  46. A huge can of worms is opened when a custom bagger is built or created from a stock Harley-Davidson.  Once more power is needed and engine modifications begin be prepared to discover the longevity of the engine and drivetrain will suffer.  You now have to spend huge amounts of money for upgrades (belt primary drive, new transmission, clutch, brakes, shocks, wider/stronger rear wheel drive belt, engine cooling systems) and all of this does not mean things still won't break, especially if your bagger has a Twin-Cam engine. 
  47. Expanding on item #47 big, heavy Twin-Cam engine baggers also require an investment in expensive brake modifications.  Such as; Floating 18" front brake rotor, six piston calipers.  Another alternative is to keep what size rotors you have, but the brake pads replaced with Double-HH or install high grade (high friction) brake pads.  This will help stopping a big heavy beast of a bike, but say goodbye to the the brake pads and the brake rotors as they will wear out fast.   And, even if you do invest in the larger size brakes, you can still find the bike is just too heavy to stop safely for their are limits small motorcycle brake rotors can handle.  What is really needed are internally air-vented brake disks, but they will create too much centrifugal force if made of steel.  Watch for carbon fiber products to come in the future.  Carbon fiber brake pads will work to stop a bagger as the harder you squeeze the brake lever the more braking force is applied and this braking force actually increases as the brake pad and rotor turns red hot.  It's what is used on jumbo jets.  I have used carbon fiber pads in stock size calipers and they work great, but you may not enjoy the black brake dust all over the wheel and engine too.  Messy pads, but they will stop your bike.
  48. Chopping a motorcycle has always made perfect sense to reduce weight, increase performance, reduce engine heat and to increase fuel mileage.  The bagger motorcycle goes in the opposite direction increasing weight, ruining performance, overheating the engine, destroying fuel economy and poor handling arrives to boot, increased cost of ownership with rapid depreciation of the retail value and that's what makes owning a big-wheel bagger a disaster.  The people that make money with baggers are the suppliers of bagger parts and accessories, custom painters, bagger builders and magazines.  Everybody else loses.

Illegal Baggers?

  Take a look at the many big-wheel baggers in the magazines and at motorcycle rallies.  If that front wheel is 26" or taller you can't legally ride that bike on the street because the wheel is not DOT (Dept. of Transportation) approved.  It means any cop can pull you over and have the bike towed away on the spot leaving you stranded!  Just because you see tons of wheel advertisers pushing their big-wheels at rallies and in magazine ads does not mean you are safe.  You can end up losing all of your money.  And if you instead try to sell the bike to somebody else?  Well, they can come back and sue you for fraudulently selling them an unlawful motorcycle by not "disclosing" the truth.  If you want that big-wheel look on your bagger you better be ready to pay the price!  The day will come you will have to remove that big wheel and that also means the front fender, the triple tree and any custom brake disk and rotor.  You can then sell the parts at a deep loss of money.  Do not install illegal anything on your bike unless you are prepared to one day have to remove it.  Now, exhaust pipes is no comparison as per sound emission standards bogged enforcement down in court as unenforceable for many years.  However, no such discretion exists for a big-wheel.  If it is not DOT approved wheel, you going to need another way to get home if a cop stops you.  You better be real polite and nice to the officer and hope he only gives you a repair ticket or does not notice the infraction.  This is a game not worth playing on the street.    

Wishful Thinking

  If you find yourself wanting to ride a bagger you need to realize you are buying trouble.  Of course, your friends ride baggers and you want to fit in.  Okay, so be it, but you are still heading for financial disaster of which few can truly afford.  Be careful.  Think it over.  Don't make another mistake.  Do not let yourself be caught up in the "bagger craze" which is a ploy by the industry to hook you up and make financial gain at your expense.

  Most bagger riders are ignorant of the high maintenance and repair costs all around to own a bagger motorcycle.  What is terrible is the Twin-Cam engine is a train wreck that keeps on breaking down.  Fact is, 99% of Harley-Davidson riders are totally unaware of the numerous defects in the engine, primary chain system and frame.  The transmissions are holding up pretty good in the Twin-Can but that is little consolation to forgive the other defects that will creep up on you and give you an awful repair bill.

Know What You Are Getting

  Owning a Harley-Davidson bagger is not an evil thing in itself as long as you are fully aware of what you are actually buying.  Salespersons are not going to mention anything negative to you or warn you beforehand.  This is called unlawful disclosure prior to the sale.  If they know of the defects and do not disclose them to you they could be liable depending on state and federal law.  Buyer beware, but be aware of what you are buying.  Make sure you purchase an extended warranty with your bagger for you will most likely need it.  Don't expect much of a return when you trade-in or sell your custom bagger.  Few people will want to buy it.

Bagger Events

Bagger Motorcycle magazines are now pushing bagger event rallies and it is going to take off in a very big way.  Many Harley-Davidson riders graduate up the food chain to the ultimate (in their foolish eyes) to one day own a big, fat bagger.  It is a status symbol that they have arrived and so they have arrived... to discover their bank account is wiped clean!  Oh, the price of fun.

Loud Music

These baggers often come with loud stereo systems and others upgrade to boom box components that blast loud music.  First, it is foolishness to ride a motorcycle where you can not hear approaching traffic or create a distraction.  Sound bounces in all directions and windows nearby can reflect the sound like a ventriloquist causing motorist to look elsewhere to see where the music (or loud pipes) is coming from and suddenly you get crushed by that distracted and now an inattentive driver.  Also, I have seen many bikers with loud radios fall off their bikes skidding to a stop.  They drive too fast (pacing with the music) and they can't stop in time.  Motorcycles are not cars, they fall down if you skid the wheels on asphalt, especially heavy Harley-Davidson touring bikes.  You also can't hear cars approaching from behind or beside you if you are blasting loud music.  Such is the idiotic riders of baggers today and sadly, a ton of them are getting in awful accidents due to that stupid loud stereo system.  Turn it off, pay attention to your riding and stay fully aware of what is beside and behind you, always.  It's not going to make you look cool when the paramedics arrive to care for your injuries.    

High Performance

A custom bagger also has a "craving" to hop-up the engine with more power.  So many riders are doing it now, pumping up the horses and ruining their engines.  Your local dealer will gladly install Screaming Eagle racing components (piston, cam, heads, stroked crankshaft) into your engine knowing you will be back for even more devastating repair bills in the future.  Your stock Harley can't even handle the heat as is.  If you increase power you increase loading and heat... you can not escape this fact.  It means parts break frequently as they are stressed from added power.  But the insanity does not stop there... they add nitrous oxide or even a turbocharger or supercharger to the engine that can produce 150 horsepower on a engine that is designed 50% to 70% lower and that is just going to devastate and ruin that engine!  The problem is we see these things at rallies and in the magazines thinking installing these items is cool and okay.  It is not okay... it will destroy your engine!  Read the article:  Increasing Horsepower on Motorcycles

Twin-Cam Engine Defects

The stock Harley-Davidson Twin-Cam engine is a total disaster.  It is an engineering failure causing Harley-Davidson to keep trying to employ patchwork fixes into the engine every year on the new bike models.  Read our related Harley-Davidson articles: 

What You Need To Know Before You Buy A Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 & Why You Should Buy One

 You will gain a new knowledge of your motorcycle few Harley riders are aware of and, those that know, refuse to talk about it.  The Twin-Cam engine is seriously defective.  All one needs to do is compare that TC engine to the Sportster Evolution (this motor not the big-twin EVO engine) and you will see the defects clear as day.  Read motorcycle magazines and read the repair articles to fix "defects" and you won't be seeing the Sportster engine being repaired, its the Twin-Cam that is failing and need of constant expensive repair... and we are talking "stock" engine.  Hopping up the motor to get more horsepower does not fix these defects, it only makes the defect fail sooner.  The installation of gear drive cams is a decent fix, but those gears are vertically stacked that can cause a worn crank or cam bearing to bend the crankshaft's pinion shaft... and that will cause you to buy a brand new crankshaft.  Other parts will also fail in the engine even if you do not hop it up with more power.

The vast majority of Harley-Davidson riders are totally ignorant of these serious engine defects and dive head-first into financial ruin.  I see it all the time.  I see it when I walk into a H-D dealership.  I see it at independent V-Twin repair shops.  Twin-Cam engines being torn apart to fix engine defects costing their owners thousands of dollars.

My advice?  Make a small bagger of a model year 2012 or later Sportster 1200 Custom and you will have none of the troubles TC engine owners have.  Yes, you will see Sportster's converted to baggers in the magazines and at motorcycle rallies.  Many seasoned editors, mechanics and sales people are switching to the Sportster because the engine is absolutely perfect in design, function, reliability and low cost to buy and maintain.  Just change the oil and go, go, go!  No more engine problems.  No more repair bills.  No more sadness and grief.  I know, I did it too.  I had those big bikes (two 125 c.i. V-twin bikes) of my 19 motorcycles so far.  The new Sportster is satisfying in all things.  I need not say more. 

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"Learn to Install New Tires on Your Motorcycle and Fix Flat Tires"  click to learn more.  Even Installing and Balancing Harley-Davidson Tires Too... stop paying, do it yourself... it's easy.  

Crashing Your Bike

Others discover the hard way with broken bones when their beloved bagger-beast dumps them off like a violent bull.  Others have crashed from out-of-control wobbles from poor frame design, oversize wheels along with improper fork rake angle, suspension and related frame bearing failures.  Not to mention what happens when the engine explodes from one of many known internal defects splashing oil all over the rear wheel... yikes!  Baggers are trouble.  At least know you know so when trouble arrives you expected it to happen.

Baggers Are Dangerous

The custom baggers are worse, but all baggers are too heavy and can not maneuver quickly to avoid road hazards.  Then when you look at the custom bagger with a huge front wheel and only one disk brake rotor on a heavy beast bike like this it is a disaster in the making.  Those skinny front tires with one brake rotor means no power and little tire contact patch with the road will cause the bike not to stop and the front wheel will lose traction even when not braking.  Big-Wheel baggers are unstable and more so when the rear of the bike is slammed down low reversing the rake angle of the frame to squat down in the rear.  It means more instability.  Some argue this is not true, but if you ever have to emergency brake any bagger you will likely find yourself spread out on the pavement. The weight of these bikes is simply more than a human can handle.  Many custom baggers also have minimal lighting preferring style over safety. Some baggers are way too low to the ground to the point they will crash if they hit a bump in the road, so beware of the slammed look is a killer.

Heavy Nonsense

These huge, heavy beasts are growing heavier and heavier until they become utterly nonsensical, impractical and unmanageably dangerous.  Heavy bikes don't like to turn or stop and you see these baggers high-balling down the roadways as if they were sport bikes with Brembo clamp-tight brakes... they are not stoppable at speed.  The big bagger is a killer.  Just look at the accidents.  They are mostly sport bikes and baggers!  People used to "chop" their bikes to get rid of the weight and gain joyful performance and safety.  This big-wheel bagger craze is just plain stupid.  Okay for bike contest, shows and museums.  Dangerous as hell on the streets.  The engine load, wear and heat is horrific on these heavy bikes and reliability suffers greatly.   

Riding Gear

Another stupid trend is to see bagger riders not properly dressed to ride a motorcycle.  Those short beany helmets if you fall will not protect your face so the jaw and teeth, chin and cheekbones are all going to be crushed.  I saw it in emergency rooms with dozen of pins in the bones to reconstruct the face.  Stop looking "cool" and be "smart" and wear the proper gear.  Your blue jeans will protect you from asphalt a huge two seconds of sliding.  Kevlar jeans will give you 150 feet!  And dressing in drab black leather will get you killed as you only blend in with the black asphalt and can not be easily seen.  Wear a bright color white or silver or better yet a yellow or green day glow jacket with protective armor.  How many dumb bagger riders have you seen wearing short pants?  Bagger riders are the most unprofessional riders you will find in any group.  It also means you should not find yourself surrounded with these unprofessionals riding in a group ride with them.  Think of a fighter jet pilot with his gear.  He is a professional and dresses for the profession to save his own life.  Does the average bagger rider dress professionally?  Well, if he can't be professional why would you trust your life riding next to him?  Yes, judge them by their cover.  If they look unprofessional (the typical Harley look) then they are unprofessional.  

Too Much Body Work

  There is so much body work and low fenders with low saddlebags you can't even see the rear tire if there is a nail in it.  Worse, you can't even fix the tire with a rubber or rope plug due to no access to the tire! 

Boring Appearance

All baggers, including big-wheel baggers, all look the same. Only the color of the paint and some design lines change, but mostly when you ride a bagger it does not really turn many eyes.  Just take a stroll on the showroom of the Harley-Davidson dealership and see if I am wrong.  Even custom baggers all look the same.  You can spend a lot of money to be ordinary.  If you want to be different build a custom "chopper" as they most all look unique and they turn heads daily at much less cost than a custom bagger.

Amateur Riders

  You will definitely notice the average custom and non-custom bagger rider is an amateur.  Just look at the way they are dressed.  Short pants, sandals or sneakers, no body armor, short-sleeve T-shirt, tiny black helmet (or no helmet at all), black color clothing, playing loud music, etc.  These bikers are inattentive car drivers who just happen to have a bagger motorcycle for the most part.  You can tell by the way they drive the bike.  They are in the wrong lane, wrong speed, wrong position, not using turn signals to change lanes and going too fast for conditions or riding in the passing lane, not stopping at stop signs, trying to beat traffic signal lights, passing cars too fast and too close.  The list goes on.  You see these guys crashed at motorcycle rallies and many fatally injured.  They think motorcycles are toys.  They are, but they are dangerous toys and baggers are more dangerous than all due to the extreme weight and mass of the machine.  It takes a professional rider to manage a bagger and even then the bagger can not truly be tamed or controlled with any degree of confidence.  If it begins to slide, it will fall over for it is inherently instable and too heavy to catch with your leg and reverse its fall.  Instead, it will just crush you.  Another thing you notice about the majority of bagger riders is they drive through intersections like a car, going too fast, looking straight ahead and they appear to be "joy riding" and way too relaxed as they zip through traffic.  I have seen many of them slam on the brakes and fall down just because they are driving too fast.  Yes, lower your speed below the speed limit because the speed limit is actually too fast for all motorcycles.  A lower speed increases your visibility to other drivers and gives you time to evade or stop in a timely manner.  If you see a bagger rider wearing bright-color riding gear you will see a professional rider, in most cases.  But do you really want to ride along side an amateur bagger rider?  I have seen these idiots ram and crash into other riders in the group.     

Keep The Bike You Now Have

If you already own a stock touring model Harley-Davidson keep it.  Don't upgrade to an expensive bagger if you do not truly need one.  Don't let the bagger types cast their eyes down on you.  After all, they are the true fools who will pay dearly for making poor financial decisions.  Is that what you want?  Don't be caught up in the insanity.  If you want a bagger buy a Harley-Davidson Road King or similar road model cruiser.  They look like a bagger because it is a bagger and it will cost you less to purchase, less to insure too.  But before you buy read our article How to Buy a Cruiser Motorcycle.

Hot Oil

  The bagger is a heavy bike made heavier than ever by added accessories which makes the Twin-Cam engine run hot as hell and even hotter if the engine has been performance modified with pistons and cams, etc.  Normal engine oil temperature is 180-250 F and up to 280 F is common, but oil will fail to lubricate at 325 F for any appreciable length of time.  So make sure the oil in the bagger (even stock Harley's) is full-synthetic for maximum engine protection.  It's cheap insurance.  However, a hot engine will wear out faster, so don't expect a heavy custom bagger to last as long as a stock Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  You should also consider a 25W60 weight oil.  S&S makes the V-Twin oil for hot-running engines.  If you overheat a V-Twin engine it will warp engine cases, pistons, valves and much more.  I would install duel engine oil coolers, but remember, those wonderful devices will not cool the primary chain case or the transmission.

A Sensible Bagger?

  Iron Works Magazine on page 48 has a photo of a Sportster converted into a bagger.  It made sense and it looks real good too.  Jan/Feb 2014 edition.  Purchase the back issue if available. Story by Sam Kanish and photos by Buck Lovell.




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© by James Russell.  All Rights Reserved.  Posted on:  JamesRussellPublishing.com Reprint Rights:  Enthusiasts and Motorcycle Dealers may post and reprint this article and use it to help them sell motorcycles as long as they do not make any changes to the document.