Custom baggers: full dressers, full dress tourers, deckers, grocery getters…they go by many names but they all have the same things in common: big V-twin engines, big front wheels, big saddlebags, sensual bodywork, and questionable levels of taste. Unlike custom café racers that generally prefer a subtle and understated design aesthetic, or custom scramblers that require a rough and ready nature, custom baggers champion the loud and proud, bigger is better, over-the-top attitude. And they should.
Custom baggers aren’t subtle and they’re designed to turn heads and grab your attention, so if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and going all in. However, the world of motorcycle customization requires bike designers and builders to walk a very fine line that can lead to failure if they overstep the mark. By definition, these bagger motorcycle beasts are meant to be loud and proud. They need to feature a whole host of classic bagger parts, with giant front wheels, incredibly painted side cover, huge bags, and an ostentatious nature. Naturally, a huge v-twin engine is also a pre-requisite, but not all custom baggers for sale are custom Harley baggers, and some of the entries on this list may surprise you.
Taste is subjective though, and what one person considers to be a masterpiece another might consider to be an artistic disaster, so before we get any further with our list of…unusual…looking custom baggers, we just want to say that none of the entries on the list is poorly made, and all of them are well-engineered to the highest levels – our only problem with them is the aesthetic. Even then, you still have to applaud the designers for taking the risks in the first place, and then putting out there. Some outrageous ideas work…but the vast majority of them are just too crazy to comprehend, and we’ve had a look around online for some of the worst offenders.
It’s all a matter of taste though, and since there is no perfect recipe for success in this field, we can only apologize if you’re not happy with some of our choices. If there were a recipe for producing award-winning baggers, what would it even be? Huge bags? A giant front wheel? Big skirts? More additional lighting than an oil-rig? An audio setup that could wake the dead? At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. As long it moves forward and still functions as a motorcycle, right? Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the top custom baggers that we feel were built in questionable, but also brilliant, taste…
10 Custom Baggers That Are Just Too Weird For Our Tastes
#10. The Kawasaki ZX-14 Bagger
Yes, that is exactly what we’re looking at: a Kawasaki ZX-14 that the hardworking guys at Platinum Motorcycles have painstakingly converted into a hard-luggage wearing bagger. Remember that fine line we mentioned above, well this crazy creation can fall on either side of it, depending on your personal preferences. You see, it is ridiculous, but it’s also genius at the same time. From a design standpoint, we can see the thought progression. Take one of the world’s fastest production motorcycles and treat it with the practicality of having a set of bags grafted to it, right? It works well on paper, and it actually worked in real life for the Kawasaki H2 sports-tourer derivative, the H2-SX, so the guys at Platinum Motorcycles might well have been on to something. Still, you can’t help but ask yourself “Why though?”
The concept is great and if you’re in the market for a head turning bagger, well, they don’t get more interesting than this – but what makes this one fall flat in our opinion is the fact that it restricts the ZX-14. It won’t be going around any sweeping corners, and it certainly won’t be fun to ride. And the color is another story altogether. This one is a love/hate on our custom baggers list. It’s hard to define…
#09. The HD Road King “VIRUS” by Pairadice Cycles
In truth, this Harley Davidson Road King isn’t a terrible looking bagger, but as bagger customs go, it goes a little bit over the top. On the surface, it’s got all the key bagger ingredients: a big 30” front wheel, cool custom paint, stretched everything, and some impressive bodywork. To really set it apart from the crowd, the good folks (and bagger experts) at Pairadice Cycles threw in a cool audio system that includes a Wet Sounds stereo with 6×9 speakers integrated into the bags, and to make things even wilder, they added motorized saddle bag lids that lift and close at the touch of a button. There are plenty of other great features that include custom lighting arrangements, custom bodywork, and a wide range of aftermarket parts…but then they went and spoiled it all by adding something stupid like a…flame thrower.
A flame-throwing custom exhaust is a little bit…try hard, isn’t it? Cool on paper, but in reality, people with flame throwing exhausts aren’t likely to be your local hooligans and street toughs, and they’re genuinely more likely to be your Sunday rider-only, paper-pushing, 9 til 5, middle managers in desperate need of some character. It was all going so well until that mid-life crisis inspired flame-throwing exhaust reared its ugly head. Shame.
#08. The Veneno Bagger by VooDoo Bikeworks
Now, VooDoo Bikeworks make some absolutely stunning motorcycles. In fact, there are some who’d goes as far as to call them the absolute kings of the custom bagger segment – but this bike isn’t one of their finest. Or it might be, depending on how you look at it. You see, this bike was built as a one-off for The History Channel’s show Biker Battleground. The format of the series was simple, Paul Yaffe takes on some other bagger builders in a bike build-off, claiming that he was the original inventor of these modern custom baggers, calling everyone else “copycats.” While the premise of the show was pretty weak, it did throw up some interesting custom baggers – like this incredibly ugly, but incredibly interesting offering from Kody McNew from VooDoo.
For a start, it’s powered by a gas-turbine starter engine that’s usually found on an F-14 fighter. Cool right? Yeah, it’s technically brilliant and by rights it should be aesthetically awesome too, because it looks like Kody decided to take his bodywork inspiration from the legendary and incredibly rare Lamborghini Veneno. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out, and the result is something that’s pretty ugly and rather…over the top. The addition of the rear spoiler was also a mistake…but while we can all agree that this is an ugly custom bagger, it’s undeniably interesting and you have to appreciate the work that has gone into it. A lot of vision went into this…but sadly it didn’t quite hit home.
#07. The Cycle Worx Full Dresser
This is a list about over the top custom baggers, so it’s only fitting that we feature this bad boy from South Carolina’s Cycle Worx. It’s garish, it’s gaudy, and of course, it’s a show bike…but to make things even better, it goes by the name of “Over Kill” – just to let everyone know that Cycle Worx knew exactly what they were doing when they built this. As much as we’d like to say it was the product of too much enthusiasm and questionable taste, this one was built to turn heads, raise eye brows, and take the theme of over the top custom baggers as far as they could without alienating the rest of the bagger community. Over the top? Absolutely. Eye catching? Definitely. Would you like to own it? Hell no.
Built on top of a 2005 Harley-Davidson Road King (not a Road Glide) and fitted out with a custom front fairing, a gigantic 32-inch spinner front wheel, front and rear air suspension, a forward facing 2-to-1 exhaust, and an overhauled engine that features a Screamin’ Eagle 95-inch kit and more, the Over Kill does exactly what it says on the tin. And all that’s before we even mention the blinged-up chrome and violent green paint work. Overall, it hurts your eyes to look at, but you still can’t help staring at it. That’s over-the-top Over Kill done exactly right. Or wrong, depending on your point of view.
#06. The Snow Bunny Road Glide by One Time Customs
Big, white, and intimidating – that’s this offering from One Time Customs. This crazy Snow Bunny was built on top of a Harley-Davidson Road Glide originally but there’s not a hell of a lot of distinguishing features left to help us identify it as one. As you can see, the good fellas from North Carolina’s One Time Customs have managed to transform this bagger into something entirely different thanks to that interesting bodywork. The new front fairing is a one-off edition that holds onto two tiny headlights, and keeps the audio and infotainment features in place. Partnered with a swooping rear end and not a lot else, how can we call this one “over the top?”
Very easily, in fact, thanks to that very brave choice of paintwork. There’s a lot of white flake splashed across this one, and it make a big impact. The photos really can’t do it justice, but imagine it under the full glare of the midday sun – then you’ll get an idea about why we think this custom bagger is less motorcycle and more attention-seeking missile. There’s no way you’re not going to notice this one if it zipped past you or was standing still in the parking lot. No way. It’s going to get you noticed, that’s for sure. And if it makes people stare…then you can bet that it’s a little over the top.
#05. The Copper King by Backyard Baggers
Back Yard Baggers have built some epic over the top custom baggers in their time, and they always grab our attention when we see them – however, we’re always left asking ourselves “how are they going to top that one?” After building one outrageous bagger after another, surely the company has exhausted all of its options, right? Wrong. It seems like no matter how impossible it seems, Joey Hensley’s Back Yard Baggers, based out of Winston-Salem in North Carolina, always have another trick up their sleeve. This rather outrageous machine is one that you’re either going to love or hate: it has a lot going on, and we’re not entirely sure that it all works. Even so, it makes you want to learn more about it all.
Believe it or not, there is a Harley-Davidson Road King buried underneath that interesting paintwork, but not a lot of the donor is left underneath that bizarre paintwork. Up front, Back Yard Baggers have replaced the original front wheel with a big skinny unit, mated to a quirky set of air ride forks, holding on to the new head light and controlled by some seriously tall handlebars. Copper has been used pretty much wherever humanly possible, on the wheel spokes, across the engine, over the dash, on the exhaust, and everywhere else. And it’s that fusion of copper and the other bizarre color choices that really elevate this custom bagger to strange new levels. Neon lime green? Yikes. It’s an acquired taste, to be sure.
#04. Cards, Skeletons, And Jenny McCarthy by Godfather Baggers
How do you take a 2016 Harley-Davidson Road Glide custom and turn it up to eleven? Like this, apparently. This is the work of Godfather Baggers from Rutherford, North Carolina – and boy, it’s one of the most over the top custom baggers that we’ve ever seen. Featuring a 30 inch front wheel, an eight inch stretch, custom brake rotors, new Touring Torpedo forks, bespoke bodywork, crazy speaker lids, an awesome LED setup, and more billet parts than we’d care to count. It’s pretty extreme, but it’s not all aesthetic – the motor has had some work done to it too, in the form of new billet air cleaners, an aftermarket 2-to-1 exhaust system from Misfit Industries that gives the engine more horsepower than it could ever logically use.
It’s already over the top, but then we get to the paintwork and other styling details. It started with a red base, and even then it would’ve been head-turning and eye-catching enough…but then things got really weird. If the red wasn’t enough, the team at Godfather Baggers called in the artistic skills of Brian Morgan from BKP Art in Easley, South Carolina to add some rather interesting white graphics. Now, we’ve got nothing against card players, skeletons, or Jenny McCarthy, but should they all meet on the side of a custom bagger? We’re not sure. But the result is an over the top, show stopping, custom bagger.
#03. The Futuristic Street Glide by Hatred Customs
This wild machine is one of the craziest custom baggers that we’ve ever seen – and what’s more, it breaks a lot of the rules at the same time. It trades the conventional bling for swooping, sculptural bodywork, and swaps outrageous graphics for a more refined color palette, but it’s no less attention grabbing or over the top. Arizona’s Hatred Customs know a thing or two about building shocking custom baggers and this offering is one of their finest – if not a little too outlandish – machines to date. This one definitely isn’t going to be everyone’s come of tea, but you can’t deny how much work has gone into it. To get the ball rolling, Hatred Customs began by taking their stock 2013 Harley-Davidson Street Glide and treating it with a 53 (!) degree rake, adding a colossal 30 inch front wheel, and treating it with a cool 18 inch brake rotor too.
That’s already impressive stuff, but throw in a Platinum Air Suspension system, a GSX-R headlight, a sh*t load of speakers, and a Dakota Digital gauge package, and you’re on the way to over the top greatness. And that’s before we even mention the bodywork. The reworked front fairing is one thing, and it really transforms the front of the Harley into something alien-like and intimidating, but the bodywork at the back isn’t to be dismissed either, since it showcases some interesting curves and swoops. Overall, the sculptural effect makes a striking impact. Would you want to own it though? That’s a matter of taste, but if you want something eye-catching that breaks the stereotype, then this might be for you. Oh yeah, and it’s turbocharged too. Just in case you were wondering.
#02. The Green Grafitti Bagger by Camtech Custom Baggers
Based out of Summerville, South Carolina, Camtech Custom Baggers have built some of the most incredibly outrageous baggers ever to grace the nation’s roads, and this vandalized, graffiti-fied 2011 Harley-Davidson Road Glide is one of the most over the top custom baggers that we have ever seen. If this doesn’t make you stop, sit up, and pay attention, then nothing will. You might not like it, and you might not love it, but you’ll definitely remember it – that’s for sure. Oh, and this one is actually owned by one of Camtech’s very own employees, so you can imagine that no expense was spared on creating this over the top beast. The Road Glide was raked out to accommodate a big 30 inch Renegade Whistler front wheel, stripped of most of the original HD parts and upgraded with Camtech originals, but it’s the paintwork that has the majority of our attention.
Tagging and graffiti either appeals to you or you outright hate it. We’re not going to let you know which side of the fence we fall on this one, but there’s no denying how much skill and effort has gone into turning this crazy custom bagger into something completely unrecognizable. It’s a wild design, and it has been executed with skill and precision…but there’s something about the detail, the lines, and the colors that makes our heads hurt! It’s outrageous and over the top, but we dig it.
#01. The Mystery Road Glide by Anonymous
If anyone knows who the builder of this hypnotic custom is, then let us know so that we can give them the proper credit because it might not be the most amazing bagger you’ve ever seen, it certainly is one of the most eye-catching and entertaining. Is it ugly? Possibly. Is it tacky? Most likely. Is it over the top? Oh yes – and that’s what makes this one our favorite over the top machine on the list. Spotted at the Boardwalk Show at Daytona Beach, this mystery bagger has been turning heads online and off. Whether it’s in a good way is a matter of opinion though. To some riders, this is the ultimate Road Glide…but to others, it’s nothing short of disrespect. What do you think?
Kitted out with a massive 30 inch front wheel and appropriately raked to accommodate, this bagger has been chopped and stretched, and equipped with a huge front fender, dual disc brakes, air ride suspension for the front and rear, and more. The engine has been treated with a One-Two Stage 1 kit, a new air cleaner, and a new 2-to-1 exhaust system. Out the back, this mystery bike has some serious bags, stretched out to accommodate some speakers and entertainment. But it’s the paintwork that really set this one apart from the crowd. As we’ve mentioned already, graffiti isn’t for everyone – however, these spray can style graphics really pop against the blue base, making a big impression, whether you like it or not. Is it tasteful? Is it sacrilegious? We don’t know – but it’s definitely over the top, and that’s all that matters here.
What Is A Bagger?
Now we’ve judged some of the most outrageous custom bagger motorcycles out there, what does a true bagger need to really be called a bagger? Unfortunately, it seems that there isn’t a clear cut definition and the internet is fairly divided about this.
Some would say that a bagger is a large frame cruiser with saddlebags attached that you can tour on, two-up, with no troubles at all. The use of hard luggage or soft luggage is a matter for debate, with some camps arguing that only soft luggage is allowed, while others argue that factory supplied hard luggage is the only acceptable form of luggage on a bagger.
There are some who argue that a real bagger can only be a Harley bagger, equipped with custom bagger parts or official Harley bagger parts.
Others would say that a custom big wheel motorcycle with big bags is the only real definition of a bagger.
The truth is that no one is really right and no one is really wrong. One thing is for sure: a bagger bike must have bags. That’s fundamental. Other than that, it doesn’t matter how fancy you paint a side cover, or how large your rear fenders are, as long as it has bags and you’re riding it with enthusiasm, then by definition, you’re riding a bagger.
What About A Dresser?
This is another interesting clash of definitions that gets people arguing. While the definition of a bagger suggests that it has to have bags, what about a dresser or a full dresser? In short, a dresser is like a bagger, but it’s essentially a touring frame cruiser motorcycle with all the additional touring paraphernalia equipped. A bagger turned up to eleven.
So, a full dresser would be a touring motorcycle wearing full dress: hard bags, touring fairings, antennas, tour accessories, and more. And while that should be a straightforward and satisfying definition, there will be plenty of riders out there who will disagree. And that’s fine. At the end of the day, the most important thing about riding anything, from a bagger custom, to a bad ass sports bike, is to enjoy what you ride, no matter what category other people put it in.