Ed Subias

Ken's Factory's Custom Heritage Softail

Builder Ken Nagai reinvents a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail

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.

Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Ken's Factory's Custom Heritage Softail

Ed Subias

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.

Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Ken's Factory made a swingarm for this bike that's not what you usually see on a Softie.

Ed Subias

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

Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Close up of the one-off bar clamp.

Ed Subias

Harley-Davidson custom Softail

The svelte tank sports some pretty sexy curves.

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Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Contrast grips.

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Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Center Roots of Toyota, Japan handled the graphics.

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Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Those pipes are sick!

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Harley-Davidson custom Softail

Ken's Factory's Custom Heritage Softail

Ed Subias

Harley-Davidson custom Softail

With its low, angry profile, this Heritage Softail resembles the original article in name only.

Ed Subias

1997 Heritage Springer
General
Owner: Ken’s Factory
Shop: Ken’s Factory
Shop Phone: (562) 597-5666
Website: kensfactoryusa.com
Year/Make/Model: 1997/Harley-Davidson/Heritage Springer
Fabrication: Ken’s Factory
Build Time: About 1 year
Engine
Year/Type/Size: 1997/H-D/100-in. Evolution
Builder: Ken’s Factory
Cases: Custom
Cylinders: Custom
Heads: Custom
Rocker Boxes: Ken’s Factory
Cams: Mild
Throttle Body: H-D
Air Cleaner: Ken’s Factory
Exhaust: Ken’s Factory, one-off
Transmission
Year/Type: 1997/H-D
Gears: 5-speed
Clutch: Rivera
Primary Drive: N-Power
Frame
Year/Type: 1997/H-D Softail, highly modified
Rake/Stretch: Yes
Suspension
Front End: Ken’s Factory Custom Girder
Length: Overstock
Swingarm: Ken’s Factory
Rear Shocks: Custom
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Front
Builder/Size: Ken’s Factory
Tire/Size: Avon 71/23 in. 130/60
Calipers: PM
Rotors: Ken’s Factory
Rear
Builder/Size: Ken’s Factory/20 in.
Tire/Size: 20 in. 220/50
Caliper: Ken’s Factory, Custom Inboard
Rotor: Ken’s Factory
Pulley: Ken’s Factory
Finish/Paint
Manufacturer: Top secret
Colors: Semi-Gloss
Paint/Graphics: Center Roots of Toyota, Japan
Powdercoating: Yes
Accessories
Rear Fender Ken’s Factory, one-off
Gas Tank Ken’s Factory, one-off
Gauges Motogadget
Handlebars Ken’s Factory, one-off
Grips Ken’s Factory
Mirrors Ken’s Factory
Hand Controls Beringer
Foot Controls Ken’s Factory, one-off
Headlight Ken’s Factory
Taillight Ken’s Factory
Turn Signals Ken’s Factory
License Mount Ken’s Factory, one-off
Seat Ken’s Factory