Fueled by the success of the Bagger race, aftermarket companies see growing promise in performance parts
Words by Kali Kotoski
Photos by Brian J. Nelson and Klock Werks
The King of the Baggers race at Laguna Seca was a “huge shot in the arm for the entire motorcycle industry,” said Brian Klock of South Dakota’s Klock Werks—an aftermarket company that develops performance parts for a range of motorcycle brands as well as side-by-sides and UTVs.
While the teams that participated are receiving high praise for fielding the motorcycles, it is important to remember that the event was a collective effort that brought dozens of aftermarket companies together by utilizing each other’s parts and leaning on their specialties.
Klock Werks, for instance, supplied the KlipHanger handlebars for team S&S Cycle’s winning Indian Challenger piloted by Tyler O’Hara, as well as provided the low and aerodynamic windshield used by Vance & Hines’ second-place-finishing Harley-Davidson.
S&S specifically told Thunder Press that the adjustable KlipHanger bars were an integral component in delivering the company a historic win at the inaugural race because they allowed for the versatility needed by O’Hara to dial in his riding style without compromise.
“The beauty was that S&S reached out right away, knowing we’d already built parts for the Indian Challenger,” Klock said. “The KlipHanger bars are probably my biggest sleeper part, as they were originally conceived for a Victory motorcycle.”
Now, like most of the companies that participated in the race, Klock is betting that the performance bagger segment will continue to grow in popularity and profitability as customers clamor for the latest and greatest modifications for their bikes.
“I was never into the big baggers with long ass tails,” he said, “and I never built products for that type of customer. It is good to see that aftermarket companies are focusing on the riding experience while making the ‘Grandpa-glides’ cool again.”
Klock added that while the initial idea for the bagger race was for teams to share parts and put their own unique spin on the builds, the high level of competition took it far beyond original expectations – much to the delight of fans craving something new.
The trick to riding the success of the race, Klock said, is for companies to design race-quality parts for the “everyman” rider, someone who wants the versatility of riding on the street while also capable of being formidable on the track or a serious sporting environment.
“Any time you’re pushing something to its performance limits,” Klock said, “you have to keep your focus on the everyman, because then you’re really making a difference in the industry and inspiring people. Having parts out on the street is the ultimate test for credibility, and that is a lot of what makes this business fun.”