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Bagger motorcycles rise in popularity, style

April 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Say the word bagger, and most people would think of a grocery store employee but it's also a category of stylish motorcycle.

"The bagger would be described as something that comes from the factory with saddlebags," said Jordan Mastagni, editor-in-chief for Baggers Magazine.

Specifically, big custom-looking motorcycles have what's known as the bagger look.

For example, Honda's Gold Wing touring bike certainly has saddlebags but it's not a bagger. But Honda created a bagger from the wing by chopping down the fairing and losing the trunk creating the new 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B ($19,999 base price).

It retains most of the good stuff from the gold wing, including the smooth, powerful flat-six engine.

The bagger trend is so hot, there's even a magazine for them. Eyewitness News caught up with the editor, putting miles on a bagger called the Victory Cross Country.

"The baggers market over the past six and seven years has just exploded on to the scene, you know, what was the choppers scene has now become the baggers scene," said Mastagni.

If a motorcycle company builds large cruiser-style bikes, chances are it has a bagger in its lineup.

Suzuki has added to its boulevard line with the B.O.S.S., big V-twin engine just enough chrome and the bagger look and stance. The windshield is part of the package and often a part of the bagger look.

Of course, putting saddlebags on a motorcycle increases the practicality. You can carry things around which you can't do on a regular cruiser but there's also an advantage to the bagger category in terms of styling. Using the bags you can really create some interesting looking motorcycles.

The Honda's bags have a swept look and the Suzuki's saddlebags have a leather-like texture that matches the seat.

And if you really want bagger style, check out Victory Zach Ness Cross Country edition ($25,999 MSRP), from a family name known for custom bike styling. This limited edition victory rides smoothly and wears its style well though you'll need a bigger bag of money for the upgrade over the regular cross country.

Keep in mind; all baggers have a practical side for travel.

"A bagger you could actually take across country and put your stuff in the saddlebags, you don't have to worry about jimmying up piece of luggage to the seat or a sissy bar or whatever," said Mastagni.

Taking your stuff along and looking pretty cool while doing so. That's a bagger.

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