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California Customs Bagger Effort-1

Worlds Fastest Bagger Competition Heats up

Photos and text by Joe Cree
5/20/2010 10:07:15 AM

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California CUstoms

So it begins….. I’m not sure when I finally decided to start designing one of our custom bagger models for a run at Bonneville, but I guess it had been rolling around in the back of my mind for some time. As a kid I remember seeing streamliner cars like Spirit of America and The Blue Flame make a run at land speed records. Maybe that started the seed way back then. Having been on two wheels since I was just a wee lad I guess I was somehow destined to be in the motorcycle business in some form.

As a teenager I was always looking for ways to make my cars faster and at the same time I was involved with racing motocross, so bikes and speed were always there. My dad was a mechanic and knew his way around a motor better than most I’ve known; so when I sit back and think about all of those influences, I guess eventually it made sense to build something to try and go faster than anyone else. That’s the origins of speed to me. Someone always wanting to go faster than everyone else can, whether it’s on foot, in a plane, in a car or straddling two wheels and whole lot of horsepower..

I’ve always been fascinated with Bonneville or at least it seems that way. I remember the Easyriders magazine bike going for the speed record in the streamliner class and I donated money for that cause. I was tired of a Kawasaki holding the record myself, so it seemed like a good cause to donate some extra cash to. I guess as we get involved with living life and supporting our families sometimes we lose track of the things we dreamt about as youngsters and I’m no different. For the past 16 years I’ve been pretty busy with running a custom motorcycle shop and all that entails as a business owner in an ever-increasingly competitive industry. I always enjoy building bikes with serious performance, so hot rod bikes seem to be what I like building the most.

My personal bikes are built to be able to move quickly, so the speed thing is still there.

There’s nothing like going fast on two wheels to make you feel alive and free all at the same time.

So then it came to me. I’ll be honest and say I’ve been influenced by some amount of competition. I saw Brian Klock’s bike and read about his attempts at having the world’s fastest bagger. I’ve also been reading about the Bikernet’s 5 Ball Racing Panhead venture and sent in some sponsor bucks for that bike.


Having respect for others in my industry I felt compelled to make an attempt to build a bagger worthy of competing against the Klock Werks record. I’ve been building a custom bagger style bikes since 1997, something no one else has been doing that I know of. Our Nomad model is a collaboration between California Customs and Corbin.

Corbin designed and produces the front fairing, chin spoiler, front fender, rear fender, saddlebags and seat just for this model. Our goal was to be the first to build a true custom bagger with no H-D style or replica parts. Mike Corbin and I came up with this idea over dinner one night in Laughlin.


The Nomad will be the base we start with for the Bonneville Bagger or as we’re calling it in the shop, Bagzilla. To get started with the project we asked some of our long times suppliers for help with sponsorships on this project. The guys at Daytec were the first to climb on board and have sent us the frame you see pictured. Also helping out so far is Belt Drives Ltd with their primary drive and a final drive belt. Hacker Pipes is also on board and will custom design a pipe for the bike when we get to that stage. We’re still looking for sponsors for our drivetrain and wheels. We’ll be posting pictures on our web site too along with the list of sponsors. Check it out at

Here’s the Bikernet Bonneville inspector. She’ll keep an eye on everything California does.


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Back to 2007 Bonneville Effort, 5-Ball Bonneville Racing

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