motorcycle 101 guides

Top Bagger Motorcycles Available In 2023

Top Bagger Motorcycles Available In 2023

Baggers are one of the most expensive, luxurious, and powerful motorcycles, popular among American riders who love to go on long-haul rides. They are considered to be the American version of touring bikes. Harley Davidson is considered to be the pioneer in the field of producing one of the most popular and high-selling baggers in the U.S. After years of Harley Davidson’s dominance in the American bagger market, several motorcycle manufacturers tried to compete with Harley but failed badly. However, Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, especially Honda, became successful with its Honda Gold Wing. The competition then continued and several other big names in automobile manufacturing, including BMW, Kawasaki, and Harley’s fellow American motorcycle manufacturer, Indian Motorcycle stepped into bagger production and succeeded. Read this article to learn about the top bagger motorcycles available in 2023.

1. Harley Davidson Road Glide

Harley Davidson Road Glide
Photo credit: @Web Bike World

On top of the list is one of the most well-known and high-selling American baggers, the Harley Davidson Road Glide. Introduced in 1998, this motorcycle set the bar high for upcoming baggers with its class-leading touring performance and modern-classic design. The Harley Davidson Road Glide was the trendsetter in the bagger category thanks to its unique styling and premium stock parts. Being a bagger, this motorcycle comes with a trademark sharknose fairing and stock hard saddlebags. The frame/chassis-mounted large fairing holds the Boom!™ Box 4.3 infotainment system which includes a color screen display and two 5.25-inch speakers with several advanced features, including Bluetooth and navigation. Unlike most baggers and touring bikes, the Harley Road Glide’s front end does not feel too heavy and hard to steer thanks to its frame-mounted fairing.

To ensure maximum comfort and a relaxed riding experience, the Harley Road Glide is fitted with mid-mounted, pulled-back mini-ape handlebars and rider floorboards.

The Harley Road Glide features a torquey 107 cu in (1,753 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine capable of a torque of 150.5 Nm and a horsepower of 92.5 hp. Moreover, if you want a bigger, more powerful, and premium bagger, the Harley Davidson Road Glide is available in five other exclusive versions with large engines, and high-end styling, including the Harley Road Glide Special, Road Glide Limited, Road Glide ST, the CVO Harley Road Glide, and the CVO Harley Road Glide Limited.

1.1 2023 Harley Davidson Road Glide Variants

Harley Davidson Road Glide Special

The Harley Davidson Road Glide Special features a 114 cu in (1,868 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine with the capability to generate an impressive torque of 160 Nm and a horsepower of 95 hp. The other most notable elements include the availability of both chrome and matte-black finish and a variety of attractive single-tone and dual-tone color schemes.

Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited

The Harley Road Glide Limited is one of the most premium and comfortable baggers for two-up riding in the market. This motorcycle is similar to the Harley Road Glide Special with the addition of a large rear trunk and an integrated comfortable passenger seat with armrests and a luggage rack, sitting on top of the trunk to provide more luggage-mounting space. Two more speakers are installed below the shark nose fairing on each side, which also protects the rider's legs from the incoming wind.

Harley Davidson Road Glide ST

The Harley Road Glide ST is another popular Road Glide variant with a large 117 cu in (1,917 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine. The V-Twin engine produces a high torque of 172.2 Nm and a horsepower of 103 hp. Another notable difference in the Harley Road Glide ST from other variants is the installation of a solo rider seat and the availability of the Fast Johnnie optional color scheme inspired by the famous performance cars of the 1960s and 1970s.

CVO Road Glide

Another top-end Harley bagger designed and manufactured by the specialized department, handling the custom vehicle operations’ (CVO) tasks is the CVO Harley Road Glide. The CVO Road Glide is a factory-made customized bagger available in two custom paint options, including dark platinum with pinstripes and whiskey neat with raven metallic. It also features the largest Milwaukee-Eight engine, having an engine displacement of 121 cu in (1,982 cc) with the ability to deliver a massive torque of 188.46 Nm and a horsepower of 115 hp. The shark-nose fairing installed in the CVO Harley Road Glide is slightly modified to include a single-piece stylish LED headlight and vents for improved airflow. The other most notable feature is the Skyline™ OS infotainment system with a large 12.3-inch color screen display and high-mounted ape hangers handlebars.

CVO Road Glide Limited

The CVO Harley Road Glide Limited is the most expensive bagger-style touring bike in the Grand American Touring lineup, with its price starting at $51,999. The CVO Road Glide Limited features a standard large trunk, luggage rack, sofa-like passenger seat, rider’s backrest, additional speakers with rider’s leg protection, engine and frame guards, large windscreen, and a 117 cu in (1,917 cc) Milwaukee-Eight engine. What makes the CVO Road Glide Limited unique and expensive is its heirloom fade color scheme option that makes this motorcycle look out of the world.

2023 Harley Davidson Road Glide and Variants

Year Model 2023
Engine Harley Davidson Road Glide 107 cu in (1,753 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin Engine
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special 114 cu in (1,868 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin Engine
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST 117 cu in (1,917 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-Twin Engine
CVO Road Glide 121 cu in (1,982 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 121 V-Twin Engine
CVO Road Glide Limited 117 cu in (1,917 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-Twin Engine
Torque Harley Davidson Road Glide 150.5 Nm
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special 160 Nm
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST 172.2 Nm
CVO Road Glide 188.46 Nm
CVO Road Glide Limited 172.2 Nm
Horsepower Harley Davidson Road Glide 92.5 hp
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special 95 hp
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST 103 hp
CVO Road Glide 115 hp
CVO Road Glide Limited 103 hp
Wet Weight Harley Davidson Road Glide 855 lbs
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special 853 lbs
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited 932 lbs
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST 842 lbs
CVO Road Glide 862 lb
CVO Road Glide Limited 963 lbs
Seat Height Harley Davidson Road Glide 25.9 in
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special 26.1 in
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited 27.2 in
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST 26.7 in
CVO Road Glide
CVO Road Glide Limited 28.2 in
Top Features Infotainment System
TFT Color Screen Display
Cruise Control
Electronic Linked Braking
Cornering ABS
Traction Control
Reflex Defensive Rider System (RDRS)
Base Price Harley Davidson Road Glide $21,999
Harley Davidson Road Glide Special $27,999
Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited $29,399
Harley Davidson Road Glide ST $29,999
CVO Road Glide $42,999
CVO Road Glide Limited $51,999

2. Harley Davidson Street Glide

Harley Davidson Street Glide
Photo credit: @Ultimate Motorcycling

The Harley Davidson Street Glide is another best-selling bagger in the U.S. market, along with its sibling bagger, the Harley Road Glide. Both the Road Glide and the Street Glide are almost identical motorcycles, sharing several similar features, bodywork, and engineering. However, the Harley Street Glide is distinguished by its fork-mounted batwing fairing. Being one of the trademark American baggers, it comes with stock hard saddlebags, floorboards, crash bars, and an exclusive infotainment system powered by Boom!™ Box 4.3 with a 4.3-inch screen display and two speakers. The batwing fairing has large vents below a small integrated windscreen to ensure better airflow. One of the most distinctive features of the Harley Street Glide is its fairing-mounted adjustable side mirrors.

The Harley Street Glide base model features a 107 cu in (1,753 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine, capable of producing a torque of 150.5 Nm and a horsepower of 92.5 hp and a torque of 150.5 Nm.

Another key difference between the Harley Street Glide and the Road Glide is the seating position and ergonomics. The Street Glide is equipped with slightly low-mounted and less swept-back wide handlebars, ensuring an upright back position.

2.1 Harley Davidson Street Glide Variants

Harley Davidson Street Glide Special

The Harley Street Glide Special can be easily distinguished thanks to the bigger 114 cu in (1,868 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine capable of delivering a torque of 160 Nm and a horsepower of 95 hp and the availability of 10 unique single-tone and dual-tone color schemes.

Harley Davidson Street Glide ST

The Harley Street Glide ST comes with a solo rider seat and a mushroom-shaped air filter for better air intake. At the heart of the Street Glide ST, there is a more powerful 117 cu in (1,917 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 117 V-Twin engine with the ability to generate a torque of 172.2 Nm and a horsepower of 103 hp.

CVO Street Glide

The CVO Street Glide is another factory-made custom bagger designed and styled by a separate department at the Harley Davidson manufacturing facility for custom vehicle operations. The CVO Street Glide features a torquey 121 cu in (1,982 cc) Milwaukee-Eight 121 V-Twin engine capable of delivering a massive torque of 188.46 Nm and a horsepower of 115 hp.

3. Honda Gold Wing

Honda Gold Wing
Photo credit: @Asphalt & Rubber

The Honda Gold Wing is a unique full-dressed bagger with a sporty front-end look and comfortable ergonomics. If you want to enjoy comfortable long-distance rides and cross-country tours, Honda Gold Wing will keep you entertained throughout the ride. For a plush and distraction-free riding experience, the Gold Wing also features the signature Honda automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) system. The automatic transmission feature allows you to enjoy a smooth riding experience without having to engage the clutch and shift gears.

The Honda Gold Wing is one of the oldest motorcycles with the longest production run in the history of motorcycling. It was introduced in 1974 as one of the most classic touring bikes powered by a 999 cc inline flat-four engine. Over time, the Honda Gold Wing received numerous changes to upgrade its performance and style. The 6th generation modern Honda Gold Wing was introduced in 2018 with loads of modern equipment and rider aids, including heated grips and seats, electronically-controlled power windscreen, hill start assist, throttle by wire, tire pressure monitoring, four rider modes, ABS, electronic adjustable rear suspension, and double-wishbone front suspension.

The Honda Gold Wing features a programmed fuel-injected 1,833 cc inline six-cylinder engine with the capability to deliver a 125 hp horsepower and 176.25 Nm torque. Though it is one of the most expensive and advanced factory-made baggers in the market, you will not find the need to upgrade this motorcycle thanks to the unmatched reliability offered by Honda.

The Honda Gold Wing Automatic DCT is an ideal bagger with stock hard saddlebags and a well-equipped infotainment system that includes tons of modern electronics, travel-friendly equipment, a 7-inch TFT screen, and speakers. The infotainment system is compatible with both iOS-powered iPhones and Android-powered smartphones. Despite being one of the bulkiest baggers and fitted with numerous standard accessories, the Honda Gold Wing weighs 804 lbs thanks to its innovative engineering and mechanics.

2023 Honda Gold Wing
Year Model 2023
Displacement 1,833 cc
Engine Liquid-Cooled Inline Six-Cylinder Engine
Horsepower 125 hp
Torque 176.25 Nm

Trims Base Price Transmission Trunk with Integrated Passenger Seat Airbag
Honda Gold Wing Automatic DCT $25,600 Automatic DCT X X
Honda Gold Wing Tour $28,600 Manual X
Honda Gold Wing Tour Automatic DCT $29,600 Automatic DCT X
Honda Gold Wing Tour Airbag Automatic DCT $32,900 Automatic DCT

4. Indian Challenger

Indian Challenger
Photo credit: @Rider Magazine

The Indian Challenger competes with the Harley Road Glide market in the performance bagger category. This bagger ensures a slightly sportier stance compared to the Indian Chieftain due to being a performance bagger. The Indian Challenger is a perfect touring bike when it comes to comfort, agility, maneuverability, and performance. It comes with a large frame/chassis-mounted fairing, along with an integrated power windshield and adjustable air vents to ensure optimum wind protection and avoid wind buffeting.

The chassis-mounted fairing removes a lot of weight from the front fork, ensuring better handling and maneuverability. Riders with even intermediate riding skills can train themselves to ride baggers on the Indian Challenger. The low center of gravity makes cornering easier at both low and high speeds.

Unlike most traditional baggers, the Indian Challenger comes with liquid-cooled technology to remove the heat produced by the engine. The 108 cu in (1,768 cc) PowerPlus V-Twin Engine delivers a torque of 173.54 Nm and a horsepower of 122 hp. The Indian Challenger also comes with almost similar modern equipment and riding aids as installed in the Indian Chieftain, including ABS, cruise control, traction control, rear-cylinder deactivation, a 7-inch touchscreen display, an infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 100-watt audio system.

The Indian Challenger is also available in three more variants with additional premium features and attractive paint job options. The additional premium features include a tire pressure monitoring system, smart lean technology, premium chrome and matte finishes, and remote-locking hard saddlebags.

2023 Indian Challenger
Indian Challenger Indian Challenger Dark Horse Indian Challenger Limited Indian Challenger Elite
Model Year 2023
Displacement 108 cu in (1,768 cc)
Engine Liquid-cooled PowerPlus V-Twin Engine
Torque 173.54 Nm
Horsepower 122 hp
Wet Weight 831 lbs / 377 kg 840 lbs / 381 kg 839 lbs / 381 kg
Seat Height 26.5 in
Base Price $24,999 $29,499 $28,499 $35,999

5. Indian Chieftain

Indian Chieftain
Photo credit: @Ultimate Motorcycling

After being acquired by Polaris Inc., Indian Motorcycle has become one of the top contenders in the American cruiser and bagger market, giving tough competition to Harley Davidson. The company has produced one of the most sophisticated and versatile baggers, called the Indian Chieftain, a bike well-known for its streamlined design and simplicity. The Indian Chieftain has a fork-mounted batwing-style power fairing with an integrated small windscreen. The electronics and gadgets, including a large 7-inch touchscreen powered by Ride Command, speakers, and gauges are also installed in the fairing.

The 2023 Indian Chieftain can deliver a horsepower of 100 hp and an impressive torque of 161.34 Nm thanks to its 111 cu in (1,811 cc) air-cooled, Thunderstroke engine. Suppose you want a more powerful version of the Indian Chieftain with a premium fit, finish, style, and matte paint job you can consider buying the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse, the Indian Chieftain Limited, and the Indian Chieftain Elite. These premium Indian Chieftain trims are fitted with a 116 cu in (1,890 cc) Air-Cooled Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin Engine capable of generating a tremendous torque of 170.8 Nm and a horsepower of 122 hp.

The 2023 Indian Chieftain makes your ride safer, smooth, and interactive thanks to its exclusive rider aids, including ABS, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, rear cylinder deactivation, and selectable riding modes. Meanwhile, the most expensive of all Indian Chieftain trims, the Indian Chieftain Elite, costing $35,499, comes with additional standard features, including remote-locking saddlebags, tire pressure monitoring system, crash bars, headdress floorboards, a 13.7-inch adjustable tinted windscreen, and exclusive bronze chrome engine finish.

The Indian Chieftain is one of the ideal baggers when it comes to riding in slow-moving traffic. Usually, baggers are not designed for stop-and-go traffic because the large engines produce a great amount of heat which makes the ride uncomfortable for riders. However, the automatic rear-cylinder deactivation system installed in the Indian Chieftain makes it easy for riders to overcome the engine heating issue. The deactivation system works smoothly as it turns off and on the ignition provided to the rear cylinder without interrupting the ride.

Another good reason to buy the Indian Chieftain is its ability to turn corners with ease thanks to its design and aerodynamics. It does not feel heavy and gives you the confidence to lean and maneuver even at slow speeds.

2023 Indian Chieftain

Indian Chieftain Indian Chieftain Dark Horse Indian Chieftain Limited Indian Chieftain Elite
Model Year 2023
Displacement 111 cu in (1,811 cc) 116 cu in (1,890 cc)
Engine Air-Cooled Thunderstroke 111 V-Twin Engine Air-Cooled Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin Engine
Torque 161.34 Nm 170.8 Nm
Horsepower 100 hp 122 hp
Wet Weight 823 lbs / 373 kg 829 lbs / 376 kg
Seat Height 25.6 in
Base Price $22,999 $28,999 $27,999 $35,499

6. Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero

Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
Photo credit: @Motorcyclist

The bagger that is most often overlooked when it comes to discussing the best baggers in the market who can compete with Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle is the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero. However, this motorcycle is one of the most reasonably-priced baggers despite offering most of the premium features. The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero has everything that you expect from a bagger motorcycle. The 103.7 cu in (1,700 cc) 52° V-Twin engine of the Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is liquid-cooled and delivers an adequate horsepower of 81 hp and an ample torque of 145.9 Nm to get you going on long-distance tours. Being a well-equipped bagger, the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero comes with a beautifully designed fairing with large air vents on both sides of the round headlamp. Being liquid-cooled, the engine is covered with a nicely incorporated radiator behind the front wheel. The rumble it produces is what every American loves from a V-Twin engine. The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero’s 1,700 cc V-Twin engine may not produce impressive torque and horsepower compared to the biggest V-Twin baggers in the market; however, it is adequate to push the motorcycle uphills while touring and ensure a smooth ride quality.

The Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero also comes with stock hard saddlebags, fairing-mounted speakers, an audio system, four analog gauges, and a digital screen to keep the rider informed about the vehicle's settings and conditions. To ensure a safe riding experience, it also features ABS, electronic cruise control, Kawasaki advanced co-active-braking technology (K-ACT), and electronic throttle valves. The single-piece saddle installed in the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero is low to the ground to ensure better handling and a low center of gravity. However, it is not ideal for two-up riding due to being uncomfortable for the passenger. You can buy the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager, a full-dressed touring bike, which comes with a large trunk and a comfortable passenger seat for a relaxed two-up riding experience. You can also install a more cushioned and comfortable saddle on your Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero. Below the speakers, there is a lockable small storage compartment on both sides for riders to store gloves, sunglasses, and other essentials.

2023 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
Year Model 2023
Engine 103.7 cu in (1,700 cc) 52° V-Twin Engine
Torque 145.9 Nm
Horsepower 81 hp
Seat Height 28.7 in
Wet Weight 844.5 lbs
Base Price $18,599
Top Features ABS
Electronic Cruise Control
Kawasaki Advanced Co-Active Braking Technology (K-ACT)

7. BMW K 1600 B

BMW K 1600 B
Photo credit: @Safe Riders

The BMW K 1600 B is a good competitor of the Honda Gold Wing with a sports-inspired fairing and style. The German motorcycle manufacturer, BMW, has years of experience producing engines for heavy-duty vehicles and even aircraft. For a long time, BMW mostly produced twin-cylinder boxer engine motorcycles until 2011, when the company experimented with its motorcycle engines and introduced the BMW K 1600 series powered by an inline six-cylinder engine.

The BMW K1600 B holds the distinction of being one of the fastest baggers in the market with the capability to reach a top speed of above 120+ mph thanks to its efficient aerodynamics and low weight. Apart from its superior engine performance, the K 1600 B is also one of the most nimble baggers, ensuring comfortable cornering and leaning performance. The 1,649 cc inline six-cylinder engine produces an impressive horsepower of 160 hp and an ample torque of 179.9 Nm to ensure unparalleled performance on long-distance rides. What makes the BMW K 1600 B unique is its flexible powerband and quick throttle response that allows this motorcycle to quickly accelerate and reach a top speed in less time compared to other heavyweight baggers.

The BMW K 1600 B does not fall short when it comes to comfortable ergonomics. This bagger ensures an upright back position and roomy legroom for tall riders, allowing them to adjust their limbs comfortably. There are tons of modern features and rider aids to make the riding experience more interactive and plush. The premium package includes the heated seat and grips, electronic reverse assist, hill start control, electronically adjustable suspension damping, engine brake control, dynamic traction control, three riding modes, and a 10.25-inch color screen display. However, the audio system is an optional feature.

2024 BMW K 1600 B
Year Model 2024
Engine 1,649 cc Inline Six-Cylinder Engine
Torque 179.9 Nm
Horsepower 160 hp
Seat Height 29.5 in
Wet Weight 758.4 lbs.
Base Price $22,945

8. BMW R 18 B

BMW R 18 B
Photo credit: @Rider Magazine

The BMW R 18 B is the bagger version of the BMW R 18, popular as the most stylish classic cruiser in the BMW lineup. To impress the American riders and to get hold of the U.S. bagger market, BMW introduced the bagger version by installing the signature bagger parts, including a fork-mounted streamlined front fairing with an integrated windscreen for ample wind protection and hard saddlebags.

The BMW R 18 B strikes a perfect balance in terms of carrying both looks and performance. The most attractive feature of this motorcycle is the twin-cylinder boxer engine with two separate chrome exhaust pipes on each side of the motorcycle. The 1,802 cc air- and oil-cooled, twin-cylinder boxer engine produces an adequate torque of 157.27 Nm and a horsepower of 91 hp.

The ride is made comfortable on even tough and bumpy roads thanks to the electronically preload-adjustable suspensions. Also, to make the motorcycle interactive, a large 10.25-inch TFT screen is installed in the fairing, displaying almost every information the rider needs during the ride, including the vehicle settings and navigation. To make the long hauls even more enjoyable, the BMW R 18 B is also equipped with a Marshall sound system.

2024 BMW R 18 B
Year Model 2024
Engine 1,802 cc Air- and Oil-Cooled, Twin-Cylinder Boxer Engine
Torque 157.27 Nm
Horsepower 91 hp
Seat Height 28.35 in
Wet Weight 877 lbs
Base Price $19,945

9. Takeaway

Baggers are the simplest American touring bikes with high-mounted hard saddlebags and a wide fairing integrated with a small windscreen and stereo system. Unlike conventional touring bikes, baggers offer better maneuverability and cornering performance thanks to the relatively greater lean angle and ground clearance. If you want a high-end luxurious motorcycle for comfortable long-distance rides and cross-country tours with loads of modern equipment and rider aids that ensure a fun and safe riding experience, a bagger is the perfect motorcycle for you. This article aims to provide you with a list of the most popular, high-selling, reliable, and fun-to-ride baggers with good value for your money if you are looking to buy one. Before you buy a bagger, make sure to take a test ride and see if you can handle a heavyweight motorcycle without dropping it.

Viking Bags has perfect solutions for those who love to go long miles and enjoy the comfortable touring experience but do not own a bagger. With the aftermarket motorcycle parts available at Viking Bags’ online store, you can easily transform your cruiser into an ideal touring machine. You can find fairings, crash bars, sissy bars, backrests, pulled-back handlebars, and comfortable seats that perfectly fit your motorcycle. Viking Bags can also solve the low storage issue of your motorcycle as it offers a wide range of luggage bag options, including saddlebags, tank bags, sissy bar bags, and trunk bags.

Related Readings

Reading next

Motorcycle Backpack vs Regular Backpack - The Better Pick
Everything You Need to Know About Bagger Races

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.