If you’re a motorcycle accessories specialist, quite naturally, you want to find new and interesting ways to show off the stuff you make to the public. Hopefully, some of them will buy what you’re selling. More than that, though—if you can be entertaining enough, perhaps you can create the kind of special experience that sticks in people’s minds. After all, the more that people talk about what you’ve created, the better.
While we can’t say for sure what went through the minds of the folks at SW-Motech France, what we can do is introduce you to a project bike that they built earlier in 2023. As you may be aware, bagger motorcycles aren’t nearly as commonplace in France (or Europe in general) as they are in the US. Since they’re such a novelty, the folks at SW-Motech France decided to challenge themselves to build a custom bike according to the rules of the King of the Baggers Championship.
Starting with a 2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide ST, the team enlisted the help of partners from across the motorcycle performance parts realm in Europe. Vincent Arnoult of Parts Europe and Drag Specialties guided the engine build and parts recommendations. Christophe Roussilhes of suspension specialist PFP Öhlins, Etienne Bocard of brake specialist Beringer, and Antoine Arcaro of tire specialist Metzeler all had input into the development of this project, as well.
Highlights of the build start at the heart, with several engine tweaks. Items installed include an S&S 131 cylinder and piston kit, along with a new camshaft, valves, reinforced springs, roller rocker arms, injectors, and an S&S oil pump. All in all, the team estimates it now makes 46 percent more power than the stock unit, going from a claimed 97 horsepower up to over 140 horsepower at the rear wheel. Torque also increased, going from 160 newton-meters (about 118 pound-feet) to 216 newton-meters (or just over 159 pound-feet).
The new transmission has multiple upgrades, including a Barnett Scorpion reinforced clutch kit and a 7-gear Baker gearbox. Other performance upgrades include an Öhlins FGR 250 superbike fork up front, Öhlins HD 044 rear shocks, a set of Slyfox machined aluminum 17-inch wheels shod in Metzeler Racetec RR slicks, an Alloy Art machined swingarm, a Beringer brake and clutch system, a BS lithium battery, and more. The team also removed the ABS from this bike as part of the build.
Once the project was complete, the team unveiled it with the help of French WSBK racer Lucas Mahias at the High Side Ride Festival in France in May 2023. According to SW-Motech, the project was so top-secret prior to the unveiling that even Mahias didn’t know exactly what bike he’d be riding, just that he’d be riding something. In any case, he did hot laps, pulled wheelies, and generally put on a show for the crowd assembled at the event.
SW-Motech France plans to bring its completed KotB project bike to other shows throughout the season, so keep an eye out if you’re attending any moto events in Europe in Summer 2023. Is it the only KotB-style bike rolling around in Europe right now? That’s not clear at this point, but there definitely aren’t many.