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.