While having a conversation with a few of my riding buddies at a gas stop, this statement was made: "Baggers are just this year's fad, like choppers were a few years back." I really didn't say anything in retort as I threw my leg over the Road King I was riding. I just mulled over the words that were spoken over the next few hundred miles on my way home.
As we all know, life goes in cycles, and nothing ever stays the same. Such is also the case with motorcycles. Less than five years ago, everyone I know was building rigid jockey shift, raked bikes with no front brakes, including myself. The bottom line is they look really bitchen, but after a few miles of actual riding, they are horribly uncomfortable. Also, chopping a bike is all about having less on your bike than you start with, meaning there is little support from the aftermarket parts industry. Then the chopper scene seemed to turn into a rock star-like egofest that cared more about who was building the bike rather than the bike itself. With all of these things combined, the chopper market simply couldn't last at the lofty level it rocketed to.
While the amount of baggers on the road has indeed increased over the past few years, it's the boom in aftermarket support that has really grown in regard to customizing a currently owned bagger. There have always been people riding Geezer Glides and building parts for them, but we now have welcomed all of the world's best bike builders with open arms to fire up their CNC machines and English wheels to help us make our FLs look different than our pal's. With them joining the party, there are more parts choices than ever before when it comes to outfitting our bikes, and the best is surely yet to come.
As far as the case of this all being a fad, I would say no, simply because baggers are more about riding the bikes and less about the name of the guy who built them.
Jeff G. Holt, Associate Editor