Ken Nagai of Ken’s Factory has become synonymous with taking raw and bulky American machinery and remixing with an innovative Japanese style to create an almost new genre of custom. By using the catalog of Ken’s Factory mixed with one-off custom parts, the revamped machine hardly resembles the original in any way. Without a quick glance at the tech sheet, it would be hard to recognize the 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer that was used as the base for this bike. What does stand out is the tip-to-tail uniqueness that can only be achieved by a true artist.
This Heritage belongs to a high-end koi fish dealer in Japan that specializes in selling rare-colored koi fish that can run into the six-figure range. The owner wanted his first full-size motorcycle and knew it to be a custom Harley-Davidson. Ken never negotiates on custom-bike builds, and after an offer was made they got started. A year later, the bike was done.
Japanese law is very stringent when it comes to registering custom bikes. For that reason, this 1997 Heritage retains its stock neck tube and VIN section. In addition to that, the lower engine mounts were also left intact. But that’s about where the factory ends and the torch begins.
The bodywork was all made by hand from raw metal using very basic tools. Its simplicity is where its genius comes from, and the simple semi-gloss paint by Center Roots of Toyota, Japan completes the design.
The custom girder front ends are also available to the public and made to order, each unique and designed in CAD by Ken himself. The one-off wheels are also available as a custom order to spec.
If you lacked the talent to make everything from scratch, Ken’s factory offers many of the parts for sale. The grips, footpegs, headlights, taillight, marker lights, gas cap, engine covers, air cleaner kit, rockers, pushrod tubes, cam cover, trans side cover, and top cover are all available from the Ken’s Factory shop based in Signal Hill, California.
This Heritage is the perfect example of what happens when talent is left alone without any encumbrance. While the heart of the machine still beats American, the rest screams simple Japanese artistry. It’s for that reason we love this bike so much. HB
|1997 Heritage Springer|
|Shop Phone:||(562) 597-5666|
|Build Time:||About 1 year|
|Rocker Boxes:||Ken’s Factory|
|Air Cleaner:||Ken’s Factory|
|Exhaust:||Ken’s Factory, one-off|
|Year/Type:||1997/H-D Softail, highly modified|
|Front End:||Ken’s Factory Custom Girder|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Tire/Size:||Avon 71/23 in. 130/60|
|Builder/Size:||Ken’s Factory/20 in.|
|Tire/Size:||20 in. 220/50|
|Caliper:||Ken’s Factory, Custom Inboard|
|Paint/Graphics:||Center Roots of Toyota, Japan|
|Rear Fender||Ken’s Factory, one-off|
|Gas Tank||Ken’s Factory, one-off|
|Handlebars||Ken’s Factory, one-off|
|Foot Controls||Ken’s Factory, one-off|
|Turn Signals||Ken’s Factory|
|License Mount||Ken’s Factory, one-off|