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Teams Go All-Out for King of the Baggers Race at Laguna Seca

This weekend at Laguna Seca, in addition to the usual MotoAmerica races, a special “King of the Baggers” race will be held. Just two of the entries will be Indian Motorcycles, among a sea of Harley-Davidsons.

The Indian effort is being contributed to by S&S, as well as Roland Sands Designs. This race is no joke, with riders like Ben Bostrom (multi-time WSB race winner) participating. The Indian bikes will be ridden by Tyler O’Hara and Frankie Garcia. Here is a video from Indian regarding preparations for this weekend:


  1. Hard Candy says:

    BAD A$$! Indians & Harleys!! I don’t care what the haters say about it….that was a exciting race!! Those boys were gett’n after it…to handle those turns on a bagger 🤘 GanGsta!!

  2. bandit says:

    What was the marshals bike? 400 Kawasaki? BMW 310?

  3. fred says:

    Everything considered, it was a pretty good race. Lots of work went into it, but only 3 bikes were really competitive. Hard to be certain, but I expect the King of the Baggers class of racing will continue and grow, and have a positive impact on the market as well.

    It’s a bit of a mind shift for the customizing crowd.

  4. Ed says:

    Harley / American made only racing is like Tee Ball and Trophy’s for all. Yeah its cool to see big bikes snaked through the turns, Yellow Wolf on the GL1800 hammers sport bikes on the dragon. Would be cool to see a sea of all kinds of baggers dragin bags and pipes. Is one make dominated racing classes and the maker bragging about their winning really winning?

  5. Tom R says:

    Wow, lots of sarcastic and cynical comments here. I haven’t seen this many since the last time MD featured a bike with tank seams or a beak.

  6. Jeremy says:

    While I concede it is fun to race just about anything, I can’t really get excited about this.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Really a neat race, glad I watched. Still can’t believe going side to side thru a corner with bags and bat wings out.

  7. Menace says:

    Wonder what they were playing on the stereo?
    Hey that one has rear sets?
    In a country that can vote in Donald nothing would surprise me.
    It’s marketing desperation. Pretty funny though! Or just plain silly?

  8. todder says:

    Cowards for not letting Japan Baggers compete…

  9. Goose Lavel says:

    Just watched the race on YouTube. Every entertaining and those Indians can fly!

    I say more King of the Baggers plesse!

  10. motomike says:

    Umm, ok watching Bostrom backin’ in a bagger boggles my brain. How did that dude crash on pit lane? I hope he’s ok. This just isn’t natural.

    • Dave says:

      The first time I ever saw the Bostrom’s race, they were on Harley 883’s. Maybe this is a full-circle thing?

  11. HS1... says:

    We need full-on chopper racing. I’m talking extreme rake and trail, ape hangers, donk front wheels, and frame butchered by several home welders. This would be the best use of these reality TV bikes. I’d pay to see this.

  12. fred says:

    Here’s the link to the rules:

    Open to Harley-Davidson & Indian motorcycles exclusively.

    • Marcus says:

      It’s embarrassing to see American manufacturers allow access to the race only to themselves.
      They made up rules to disallow competition from other competitors.
      This is really embarrassing.
      And this is why HD is in the trouble they are.

      I wouldn’t own a cruiser but I was a little bit excited to watch this race. Something different.
      Forget it.

      Now I’m just embarrassed for those two companies.

      • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

        There’s been some really fun series to spectate that were designed solely for one type of bike through the years.

        Buells in Pro-Thunder
        R1100S in the BMW Boxer Cup series
        XR1200 in the H-D XR series

        to name a few.

        It’s the parity in the bikes that made for exciting bar banging races. The winner could be pretty much anyone on the grid any given weekend. Kind of like how GP is this season.

      • Kermit T Frog says:

        Ummm…Marcus? There’s nothing to be “embarrassed” about. Sheesh! Let the Starleys and Kawacopies put on their own event(s). Talk about “drag” bikes…LOL!

        I don’t much care for racing but fake HDs are not something I am remotely interested in, racing or not! 😉 🙂

        • Marcus says:

          I’m not a cruiser guy and I’m probably as much a Harley hater as the next, but no more or less.
          And I’ll tell anybody I’d never own a Harley except ……
          when I saw the Bronx at the NY bike show,
          And me being a naked bike guy. I was highly interested. Finally an American made bike I would want to buy.
          But NO, they cancelled it. They are still trying to squeeze the last few drops of blood out of bones of their dying base.

      • RyYYZ says:

        They’ve been doing it for years. NHRA pro-stock racing? Rules are basically designed for the V&H “Harley” engines, which about the only thing they have in common with actual Harley engines is the V angle.

  13. Joe Moto says:

    To fairly represent the class, they must include a bone stock Kawasaki H2SXSE with it’s stock forks, wheels, fairings and saddlebags in amongst them. Leave the bags on it. Throw in 30 pounds of lead shot in each bag. Then put Ben Bostrom on it, no mods. No contest.

    • Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

      I have the H2 SX SE. It’s a phenomenal ST, however it’s pretty hefty compared to the Ninja 1000 SX I still haven’t sold. Fully loaded cases, tank bag and tent and sleeping bag on the rear don’t slow down that freight train. While the suspension is better than the Ninja 1000 even with a Penske Double clicker, The H2 SX SE just doesn’t turn in or throw around as easily. She’s not all that nimble. She just eats tires quickly.

      But she’d definitely make it around LS pretty quickly.

  14. Mick says:

    I wonder what they are doing to keep the FLH bikes on the track. Push a stock bagger too hard and it’s going to oscillate. There must be some minimum amout of frame gussets they are looking for at tech inspection.

    I wonder if this race is a good idea. I don’t think that showing people race baggers on Sunday is going to do Link any favors when he goes out and trys to push his unmodified FLH on Monday. Tank slapper, meet ditch.

    • Evan says:

      Yea, who knows?? I can’t stand HD’s for this very reason. It is like riding a motorized lazy boy. Feeling the frame flexing all over the place and the bike bobbing up and down on nearly undamped suspension is inexcusable at the prices they ask.

      • J P says:

        Think the class for baggers is pretty exciting!! Something different. Many baggers out there in the road so obviously they are popular so this class will hopefully become more popular. Don’t just be a Harley hater!!! Baggers are for men maybe you will be a man someday and understand 🤷‍♂️ 😂😂😂

    • Bart says:

      I read somewhere that at least one team has custom made carbon fiber bags & bodywork. So no weight penalty there, just keep from grinding them too hard slamming down through the Corkscrew.

  15. todd says:

    Would an FJR1300 qualify? The race would be won before it even started.

  16. VFR Marc says:

    The old adages that “racing improves the breed”, and “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” apply here. Josh Herrin, Ben Bostrom and Cory West are no chumps and the promoters and suppliers are serious. An interesting concept. Thanks to Marcus for posting the video.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A bagger without bags. WTF.

  18. Marcus says:

    Here’s an interesting video of Josh Herrin riding a Harley racing bagger.
    Just watch the view from the rear. That thing is all over the place but he still goes for it. That boy has a set!

    • fred says:

      15 minute video, maybe 5 minutes worth watching. S/b and interesting race. It looks like some bikes will be serious, and some will be jokes.

  19. joe b says:

    on FB there has been a lot of conversation about this race. Invitation only, for bikes with fairings and bags. I could not source a link to the “rules”, but it seems all you have to have is a bike that was originally sold with bags, and then its as much as you want to spend, and some have what looks like spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, on their entry. It may be some might be bringing a slightly modified bike while others are bringing full on, total race bikes but with fairing and bags, but the interest in this class is through the roof. Shows to go ya, theres a lot of bagger sales out there.

  20. todder says:

    Maybe this will inspire some future naked bikes from these companies…

  21. dt-175 says:

    somebody w/a cavalcade call KRJR stat!!!!

  22. Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

    The Indian Scout based bagger is something I’d be hard pressed to call an equivalent bagger, however it is a real item in their lineup. It is significantly smaller and lighter than the air cooled Roadmaster and Chieftain which would be the real equivalent to H-D’s baggers like their tour-glide and electra-glide.

    Won’t be much of a contest. H-D doesn’t have a smaller liquid cooled bagger. Though they could probably dig up the obsolete V-Rod and throw a batwing fairing and some luggage on it.

    • fred says:

      You seem to forget that this is not a race between bikes just pulled off the showroom floor. The dempanic has meant that these bikes are being seriously prepped for the race. At least one article showed an HD w/ 150hp, 535lbs, and a 61 degree (static?) lean angle. You and I might not care, but a lot of bragging rights are at stake here, in front of a market full of riders willing to drop fairly big bucks on performance gains.

      IMHO, it will be a heck of a contest.

  23. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    This race is the only thing that will take more courage than Moto GP for a racer to run in. I would like to see if any of these 2 wheel cars can surprise me. Maybe 1/2 a joke.

  24. VLJ says:

    For once, I’m going to have to disagree with Dirck. Look at Frankie Garcia. A giant, fat “roadracer,” riding a giant, fat bagger on a racetrack?

    This race is definitely a joke.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I’ve ridden with Frankie. He grew up in Salinas learning from a guy named Doug Chandler. He has pro level speed. He could lose some weight, for sure, but I don’t think it will make any difference on these motorcycles.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      If it proves popular enough to spawn a market for midsets and better suspensions/handling for baggers, it may just turn out to be be the most important race since Nicky Hayden’s heydays, for American motorcycling……

      • VLJ says:

        Stuki Moi, I don’t know where you live, but I can assure you, American riders of baggers have zero interest in, nor any need whatsoever for, better suspension and handling. Real-world riders of baggers are merely out sightseeing. They’re just along for the ride, passengers on their own motorcycles. Baggers are cheaper, simpler touring bikes for Harley types who don’t want, can’t afford, or don’t need full-boat luxury tourers. Race-bred handling has no relevancy to the bagger market.

        Dirck, the fact that Frankie could lose a ton of weight, but doesn’t, tells you how serious he is about high-level racing. Which is to say, not very. If even he isn’t serious about this, why should we be? The additional point that his weight won’t make any difference on these motorcycles is further proof that this is nothing but a feel-good “everyone gets a trophy, even bagger riders” exercise in lower-the-bar-until-there’s-no-bar-left, wink-wink irony.

        It’s the two-wheeled equivalent of three-legged racing. It’s a joke…an expensive joke, but a joke nonetheless.

        • fred says:

          America is a big place, and “American riders of baggers” are not a monolithic group as you suppose.

          There are probably enough overweight people who ride motorcycles that an overweight racer just might wind up with a lot of fans. Just sayin’.

          • Jabe says:

            Yes, how dare VLJ describe only 95% of “American riders of baggers” and not not give credit to the 5% who can locate their front brake (and perhaps use it).

            The biggest draw at these races will be in the vendors area at the head shops and tattoo parlors.

      • Dave says:

        Let’s not forget, NASCAR has a pickup truck series and people sometimes become widely famous for having mildly famous parents and sharing their party lives.. We can never underestimate what Americans will find entertaining.

        • Motoman says:

          As George Carlin once said “the world is a freak show and in America we have a front row seat.”

    • Dave says:

      And Frankie got 3rd…

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