The Story Of The World’s First 30” Front Wheeled Harley-Davidson Bagger

Last January, when I published the stated first 30” wheel, it provoked a lot of passionate comments in my Blog . Both regarding its size and the tire necessary to dress it. Controversy amplified when I informed you that its first use will be as a Bagger front wheel. Like many professionals, I had the opportunity to check out this 30” front wheeled Harley-Davidson Bagger while visiting the V-Twin Expo in February (Couture Wheels was also exhibiting a new 30″ wheel in the new products section). Right away, I asked Tim Mc Namer from Ballistic Cycles, the custom shop behind this project, to tell me about “Paradigm” and the way it was conceived. Here is the story.

“The idea to get involved with Harley Baggers first started off around February of 2009.  At that time we were mainly known for our custom one-off, long and low smooth-lined flowing look, no kickstand, air-ride bikes, but we could see the huge market with custom Baggers and knew it was something we needed to get involved in.  As much as we love our one-off custom bikes, and the looks we get while riding them or taking them to shows, nothing beats the open road comfort of a Bagger.  Combining the two, and bringing the best of both Worlds, was exactly the route we wanted to go.

We drew up our ideas, researching what parts were already available for custom Baggers and making connections with those companies.  In August of 2009, with less than a month of total build time, we finished our first Bagger (named ‘Blue Bagger’) with a 26” 3D Phoenix front wheel made by Metalsport Wheels.  We’re proud of that bike, it set a high standard for other 26” front wheeled baggers to follow and strive to beat, but while building it we came up with some bigger and crazier ideas. Before the end of October we were already planning and moving forward on our next project.  We could have used any custom set of bags and made our changes to it, but this time we wanted something that was 100% ours that we could mass produce and sell to the Bagger World.  It was also important for us while designing these bags and side covers that they could be easily installed on any bagger by anyone in their own garage.  We had the extreme, yet smooth and exceptional flowing body lines we were looking for.  Now we figured we’d set the bar even higher and use a 30” front wheel.

The 30” front wheel brought with it a lot of controversy.  Some people told us it couldn’t be done.  Others said there was no way we could make it a rider friendly bike. And then of course there was the fact that there was no 30” tire at the time.  We were involved with plenty of talks about the wheel and tire, other builders were too, and there was a bit of a race going on with it.  We didn’t care so much to have the first 30” wheel, we just wanted to be the first to put it on a Bagger and have it done in time to unveil at the 2010 V-Twin Expo.  There were times we thought it wasn’t going to happen, but then Doug McGoon and Vee Rubber came through for us and everything else seemed to fall in place.

We started on our bags and side cover before we ever got the wheel or bike so we were doing well with time there.  About a week into January we got the tire, the wheel came soon after, and then we figured it was time to go buy the bike we were going to put this 30” monstrosity on.  We’re now about three weeks from the V-Twin Expo and we’re finally starting to get an idea of what this bike will look like.  We’re always making some changes as we go on, and had a few ideas to change the front fairing since that was the only body part that was left somewhat stock.  In the end, the extra time spent on the front fairing, the added body lines and headlight assembly were all well spent.  As unique as the bike already was, it wouldn’t have been the same without it.

The bike was now finished and it was time to give it a name. It was an original, with many prototype parts and an awe-inspiring and unique look like no other.  It was our model of how we envisioned the future of custom Harley Baggers, and an example for what was yet to come.  It was Paradigm…Total build time for Paradigm was under a month with some very long days and late nights towards the end.  The final day before heading to Cincinnati might have been the roughest since we had to repaint the rear fender after buffing through the clear.  Paradigm was done in time, even if it was loaded up on the trailer before the clear was completely dry.  All the planning and discussions we had early on, plus some back-up plans ready just in case, allowed us to execute this build better than most since we were all on the same page.  Well, for the most part anyway.

It was too late to get a booth for the V-Twin Expo so we contacted our good friend Amy, the owner of Wizards Products, and asked if she was interested in hosting our latest bagger creation in her booth.  After a brief description of the bike, she seemed pretty ecstatic about it.  To team up with Wizard’s Products was a great honor and privilege that we are extremely thankful for. We also need to give a shout out to Randy from B’Cool for sponsoring the 30” prototype front fender, and also Accutronix for the controls.  Then of course Doug McGoon for designing the 30” front wheel and making it happen, and Vee Rubber for the prototype 30” front tire. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. The hard work isn’t over yet.  Our main goal with Paradigm was to get involved with custom Harley Bagger parts.  And besides the parts you see on Paradigm, which are all in production, we have a lot more ideas for different parts that will be coming soon.  We may have been around for a little while now, and have a lot of great bikes to prove our work, but this is definitely a new adventure and just the beginning for what we have in store next.” Tim Mc Namer, Ballistic Cycles.

Zipper's

50 Responses to “The Story Of The World’s First 30” Front Wheeled Harley-Davidson Bagger”


  1. 1 ahotrod Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:29 am

    That is a great looking bike, EXCEPT for that front wheel!!! I just don’t get that HUGE front wheel, I might go as far as to say it is ugly, but the rest of the bike is great.
    Just took another look and that wheel just does NOT look right on that bike and I’m not sure if it would look right on any bike. The more I look at THAT wheel the more it looks like something that belongs on a swamp buggy, just too weird for me.

  2. 2 Mazz Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I have to agree, the bike is nice but the front wheel is out of place, it looks cartoony and more like a die cast model offered by “DUB” However, it’s all a matter of taste, if this gets you up in the morning, then all the power to ya!!
    Mazz.

  3. 3 BST Apr 1st, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Ghetto…

  4. 4 Dragon Bob Apr 1st, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I have to aggree a smaller front would mage it look bitchin and get rid of the matel big wheel look

  5. 5 Dragon Bob Apr 1st, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I have to agree a smaller front would make it look bitchin and get rid of the matel big wheel look

  6. 6 Redman Apr 1st, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Like it or not, people are talking about it and the related bike and the custom components that are in production. Are people going to run out and start putting 30s on their bikes? I seriously doubt it, but they probably will buy some of those awesome looking bags. . I think they did a great job of marketing this gimmick to sell their products.

  7. 7 J Apr 1st, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Awesome- this opens the door for the obvious sequel- the 52″ front wheel……..

    Nice bags, tho.

  8. 8 Charlie Apr 1st, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    You guys should go back to cool school!
    Have you all forgotten the meaning of “CUSTOM”?…
    Distinctive, uncommon, unique, out of the ordinary…
    Hats off to Tim McNamer and everyone involved in this creation, it’s people like them who keep the custom motorcycle world alive.
    For the rest of you, go back to watching TV.

  9. 9 Friar Apr 1st, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Please tell us this is your April Fools joke…

  10. 10 Seven Apr 1st, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Just because you can, and you are the first, doesn’t mean you should.

  11. 11 Steve Carr Apr 1st, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Why, please………………tell me…………………..Why?

  12. 12 Fausto Simoes Apr 1st, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I need two for my upcoming Custom Trails Bike project-they will make running over cars a breeze!

  13. 13 golfish Apr 1st, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    IMO, it looks really stupid but then I think 24″ rims on a 1974 chevy short bed look stupid too.

  14. 14 Jeff Nicklus Apr 1st, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I think they should airbrush small wheels on either side of the bags to give it that true Big Wheels effect! Just a thought!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  15. 15 doc Apr 1st, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    This is an pril Fool’s, right?

  16. 16 1550tc Apr 1st, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Recently saw this bike and super cool ride and so what if u cant ride it, like it was said above its custom not an HD1 serial # bike

    and to answere this question

    Why, please………………tell me…………………..Why?

    Sitting on this barstool talking like a damn fool
    Got the twelve o’clock news blues
    And I’ve given up hope on the afternoon soaps
    And a bottle of cold brew
    Is it any wonder I’m not crazy? Is it any wonder I’m sane at all
    Well I’m so tired of losing- I got nothing to do and all day to do it
    I go out cruisin’ but I’ve no place to go and all night to get there
    Is it any wonder I’m not a criminal?
    Is it any wonder I’m not in jail?
    Is it any wonder I’ve got

    Too much time on my hands, it’s ticking away with my sanity
    I’ve got too much time on my hands, it’s hard to believe such a calamity
    I’ve got too much time on my hands and it’s ticking away from me
    Too much time on my hands, too much time on my hands
    Too much time on my hands

  17. 17 BadMonkeyMW Apr 1st, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I would call it retarded, but that would insult retarded people.

  18. 18 J Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Gee, it’s 1878 all over again- they called these “penny-farthings” or “high wheelers”;;

    What next- bowler caps and handlebar moustaches?

  19. 19 just my opinion Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    This picture reminds me of a story. A young man once asked me why I don’t use hot almost naked girls in front of my booths at these rallies. The answer was as follows.

    I said do you remember that really hot girl wearing a bikini that was sitting on the bike spinning on a carousel in Sturgis a couple years ago?

    And my young friend said ya she was hot!!!! Don’t you remember how she drew the crowds in?

    I then said yes she did draw in the crowds but can you tell me what people were selling?
    He had no answer. All he could say was.” I guess that’s why your the boss.”

    That wheel does the same thing for that bike as hot models do for vendors. people talk about the girls and they will talk about that wheel but the bike will soon be forgotten. Good idea on paper but bad marketing.

    I like the bike except for that out of proportion wheel. If they were to put a 23 inch wheel on the bike I am sure they would sell lots more of the bags and such. But it is their horse so they should shoe it how ever they think it should be shoe’d whether other people like it or not. Gotta give them an A for effort.

  20. 20 Chopper Kid Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    At first it looked like it was one of those mirror images taken. After reading some of your comments I have to go back and look at these bags. I really think the whole big front wheel thing is like people stretching there ear lobe holes. I thought that the 21 X 3.25 was the perfect wheel for it, but hey that is just my opinion.

  21. 21 Chopper Kid Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    The bags are sweet. Closure to the ground bags, taller front wheel, no trunk and a bigger rear tire with a closed up rear section and those baggers look as sporty as they can.

  22. 22 rocky0 Apr 1st, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I think the wheel looks great. People that can’t think out side of the box will just be haters.The bike flows well and is the first of its kind.When people start seeing that size more frequently and saying its cool,the people that hate it now will start acting like sheep and try to get in on the latest trend just like the bobber style bikes that seem to be the latest rage right now.Keep on leading instead of following!

  23. 23 Brandon Apr 1st, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    its what ever no matter what they put on size, color they wont make everyone happy. personaly i dont like it. but somewhere someone dose. if you dont like it dont look at it or buy it. just saying

  24. 24 jatinder pal Apr 2nd, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Too much of everything is bad,in this case ugly.Moreover i dont think it will handle very well.

  25. 25 Milton Bradley Apr 2nd, 2010 at 8:02 am

    The “big wheel” kids came of age . . .

  26. 26 B'COOL Products Apr 2nd, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Remember when the 26″ front wheels came out and how retarded they were? Remember the negative comments about how they would never sell and wouldn’t work? Well the wheel blank manfacturer started producing 26 ” builder blanks last fall and all of the wheel manufacturers are now offering 26″ wheels in their line up for 2010. We started offering 26″ steel fenders two years ago, yes two years ago, when we began working with Doug McGoon to supply his customers 26″ fenders. Isn’t it interesting how the 26 is the new craze for all of those building custom baggers now even with all of the negative comments way back when?

    Given the 26 comments above, now 27 with mine, on this post it is obvious it is getting the attention that Ballistic Cycles set out to do. It also shows that people like Ballistic Cycles, Doug McGoon (who built the wheel) and Vee Rubber can continuosly think outside the box and deliver on their promises. As crazy as this whole thing was we got involved with providing a 30″ prototype fender to support them. Marketing scheme, absolutely! Does it detract from the other parts they are trying to sell? Probably not. People will remember the bike and builder. If they like the look and have to have it they will buy it. Just ask those that are building 26’s now that they are available.

    Way to go Ballistic. Keep `em coming!

    Randy Briley
    B’COOL Products

  27. 27 Tim Hanlon Apr 2nd, 2010 at 10:16 am

    After digesting it for a while I thought….Very cool, one question to Ballistic, Is these any travel in that front end? curious.

  28. 28 Ballistic Cycles Apr 2nd, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Yes there is 4” of travel up front and rear . Why build a bike you can’t ride ?

  29. 29 Ballistic Cycles Apr 2nd, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Say what you like about our bike , your comment will be forgotten LONG before the bike will be . We are happy you don’t like it and we hope you cringe everytime you pick up a magazine or look @ a blog because the 30 bagger will be there like it or not .. LOL LOL LOL Haters

  30. 30 Brent Apr 2nd, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Sorry, guys. I like it. I think this bagger is very cool with the 30″ in front.

  31. 31 BadMonkeyMW Apr 2nd, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Well, the circus is always looking for a bike for it’s clowns to ride. Of course, you know you can’t ride it anyway, but Ballistic has plenty of clowns to supply. OR, you can alway Grand Marshall the Gay Pride Parade on it. Flame on!!

  32. 32 Iron Horse Apr 2nd, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I agree with Seven and everyone who thought or wished this was an April Fools joke, “Just because you can, and you are the first, doesn’t mean you should”. Neat styling exercise and I like the bike otherwise…with the exception of the front wheel.

  33. 33 The Producer Apr 2nd, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Reminds me of a bycyle project I did with my son where we stuck a big front wheel and small back wheel on it. He tooled around with it for a while then he and his bud switched out the rear for the large wheel and placed the small one on the front to get that chopper effect.

    Always neat to see what people come up with.

    The Producer

  34. 34 Woody Apr 2nd, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Most of Big Daddy Roth’s stuff wasn’t the first word in utility either, but I’m glad he was here long enough to have some fun and leave some stuff behind for us to talk about. Not sure why folks can’t relax and just take it for what it is and not worry about whether it should be a production bike or not.

  35. 35 raycwheeler@gmail.com Apr 2nd, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    might look good on a uni-cycle?

    my old great-great- grandpa Wheeler is turning over in his grave, ya know my relatives invented the wheel years ago.

  36. 36 ian Apr 3rd, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Best Looking bagger I have seen since Ness’s original one.

  37. 37 Heavy Metal Apr 3rd, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Not a hater but I don’t see the lure of a high dollar bagger. I beat mine up traveling with it. This one looks like you keep your old lady’s purse and jacket in the bags when going out to dinner. Different strokes for different folks.

  38. 38 Rigid Shovel Rider Apr 4th, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Horrible…simply horrible.

    That thing’s a joke…a bad, horrible, ugly, terrible, joke.

  39. 39 Vamartha Apr 4th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    My question is how could you not get a booth in a building that was only 2/3 full?

  40. 40 Rider2 Apr 4th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    No disrespect on the work but this is butt ugly. I admire the effort but this is plain stupid. Nice fairing though.

  41. 41 JK Apr 5th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Ballistic, its an open forum, don’t get upset with peoples personal opinions. Everyone remembers back 5-10 yrs when the crazy custom choppers were the rage and not everyone liked everything about every custom bike. Well you are the same, your bike is extremely custom and not everyone will like it. The wheel does look cartoonish, but its yours and you can do what you want with it. There is a market out there somewhere and thats what you are shooting for. good luck!

  42. 42 Conrad Nicklus Apr 5th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Ballistic,

    With the attitude you have above, I highly doubt some magazines would want you in them. I have seen a few of your bikes over the past few year and yea you do some nice stuff, but nothing different than what most do. This is a good looking bike MINUS that ugly ass MONSTER piece of aluminum you call a wheel. Should go to some hood-rat or rapper, they would love to buy this.

    Conrad Nicklus

  43. 43 1550tc Apr 5th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Guys go and ask Vee Rubber what the 360 tire they made for Matt Hotch did for their sales??

    Jeff

    they should airbrush small wheels on either side of the bags to give it that true Big Wheels effect! Just a thought!

    that would be a great visual, would look like one of those 1890 bicycles

  44. 44 Rider2 Apr 6th, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Nobody denies there is some work on this bagger. But the proportions are just too off. It was a nice exercise of style but this doesn’t seem to be a trend that will stick.
    Now… did I just see that Ballistic front fender for this bike is listed at $1000 on their website? Clearly a mistake or those guys need to stop smoking those cheap Mexican mushrooms.

  45. 45 RUB Apr 6th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    slow speed handling , might be an issue ?

  46. 46 RUB Apr 6th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    U TURN ?

  47. 47 B'COOL Products Apr 11th, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Rider2

    When you consider the R&D with tooling costs and very, very low volume of parts to be made the cost of that fender at the retail level is very justifiable assuming the fender is to be made from steel.

    I would challenge anyone, even yourself, to bring one to market for less!

  48. 48 Adam May 7th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Congrats to the Ballistic boys for building a bitchin’ bike. It’s been great having you guys in our booth at shows.

    And just for the haters that said it couldn’t be ridden . . . how about a frozen ride in February? http://www.youtube.com/user/ballisticcycles#p/u/0/er0AjaCjcGA

  49. 49 Brou Nov 17th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    How do you turn a boring bagger into a bad azz chopper ask Ballistic ! Yes this may not be the bike to ride all day with the boyz , but it does look sicK ! Like it or not this is the future of custom baggers, Igive the men at BALLISTIC CYCLES mad props for pushin the lines of what a bagger bike can be , dare to be different ! FTW and what you think I like the LOOK , I will be puttin A 23 front on my 2010 road glide next year, cant wait ! Getto Ithink NOT! screw it lets RIDE !

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