How Ken's Factory Does a Bagger

What if Harley-Davidson made a bagger like this?

Leave it to Ken Nagai of Ken’s Factory in Japan to create a custom bagger this cool. Even though Nagai brought a tall front wheel into the project, you’d have an easier time finding integrity in a politician than locating any of these baggers roosting outside some watering hole at a rally. It’s not so much a touring motorcycle as stripped-down sex machine with saddlebags and a sleek little fairing.

Dubbed “Hard Call,” this machine rocks a 106-inch Twin Cam powerplant swathed in a rubber-mount frame of Ken’s making. Between the Eaton blower and the aluminum bodywork Nagai brought to the project, it has the makings of a bagger built for speed right off the bat. Although he went large(ish) with a 23-inch front wheel set in his own girder front end, Ken wasn’t exactly feeling Big Wheel Mania when it came to this project. The wheel’s larger than a stock Harley rim but in the age of 32-inch wheels, it’s certainly not extreme. Come to think of it, I don’t remember a Ken’s Factory bike where Mr. Nagai did feel the Hula-Hoop vibe.

What I do know is that Ken’s Factory has figured out the balance point between too much and too little on the something different scale of custom. From Dynas and Softails to choppers and this here bagger, Hot Bike has featured a fair selection of Ken Nagai’s work both in print and online. That’s one trend I’m okay with seeing.

Ken Harley-Davidson Bagger

No cupholders, no speaker lids. Just a sweet bike with a bit of fairing and a set of hard bags. That’s all you need. Everything else is simply luxury. Or in this case, it would have been extra weight running counter to the purpose: to go fast.

Michael Lichter Photography

aluminum gas tank

Ken’s Factory’s aluminum tank is animal, to be sure.

Michael Lichter Photography

V-Rod headlamp

Nagai’s shop wrapped a V-Rod headlamp in just enough aluminum to redirect wind from the pilot, then capped it with a strip of windshield up top.

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson bagger open primary

Open primaries aren’t a standard design cue for baggers. That’s probably what drew Ken Nagai to using one here.

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson bagger dash

You’d think that with a profile this narrow and almost no inner fairing of which to speak, there’d be no gauges but the shop made it work, in style.

Michael Lichter Photography

Ken Nagai and Harley-Davidson Bagger

The artist and his work.

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson bagger motor

On the pipe side, that blower doesn’t really obscure your view of the motor, letting your eye take in details like the faceted muffler.

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson bagger bags

Up close and personal with the bags. When was the last time you saw saddlebag hardware like this?

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson bagger

Round LED lights on the bags and back fender get you noticed when you need to hit the stopping power.

Michael Lichter Photography

Ken Nagai reflection

Pausing for reflection…

Michael Lichter Photography