The bikes thrown into the fray this year are the Indian Challengers and Harley-Davidson Road Glides we're used to now. Well, not exactly the usual ones, as compared to their road-going counterparts, these rides have been heavily modified for racing purposes. Sure, they still wear the fairings, windscreens, and saddlebags that make them baggers, but they’re heavily beefed up in most other places.
To exactly what extent was until now a matter of how much the two bike makers were willing to share. As for the general public, getting a chance to experience these two-wheelers firsthand was out of the question. Until this week, that is, when Indian decided to make the King of the Baggers Challenger something any “die-hard track riders and collectors” can own. Or should we say just a privileged few, as the production run for this thing is a very limited one, and each bike is insanely expensive.
The first important thing we should mention is that the bike, called Challenger RR in this configuration, is not street-legal. It can be used on the track (perhaps even entered in the King of the Baggers by a daring soul), ridden on private roads, if you can find any, or kept as part of a collection, but that's about it.
Starting from the ground up, the ride gets 17-inch wheels shod on Dunlop race tires. The one at the front is backed while speeding down the track by an Ohlins fork, while the one at the rear uses shocks made by the same company and a race-modified swingarm.
There are visual and functional upgrades made to the Challenger’s body as well, as a means to make sure you don’t mistake this one for something meant for road use. The saddlebags at the rear come in carbon fiber, the rear fender is made of fiberglass, and the race seat sits higher than we usually see it.
The 112ci engine on the RR comes with a big bore cylinder/piston kit and a custom air intake system with a 78 mm throttle body. It breaths out through an S&S 2-1 race exhaust, and its power is kept in check and brought to a halt by means of Brembo braking hardware.
The bike will be made by Indian for the American market, but also for Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan. That’s a total of seven markets that’ll have to share a limited run of just 29 such bikes (the number was chosen in honor of O’Hara’s winning ride, which boasts the number 29 on its body).
And now for the price. Do you know how the regular Indian Challenger sells for $25,000 or thereabouts? Well, this race-spec jewel is almost four times more expensive, as it will sell on the American market for no less than $92,229.
As for this year’s King of the Baggers competition, it is the largest we’ve had to date. Over the coming months, 14 different races will take place, grouped in double headers as part of the MotoAmerica Superbike series races.
The season opener takes place this week at the Daytona International Speedway, and it will be followed in April by the event taking place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Summer racing starts in June at the Road America track.
July will witness no less than four King of the Baggers races, two on July 7 at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca at another two at Brainerd International Raceway on July 28. The same thing happens in September, with the month welcoming bagger racing on the 8th at the Circuit of the Americas. The season is scheduled to end on September 22 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park track.