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A Passion for Performance.

The American V-twin scene has changed dramatically in the last decade. Gone are the exotic big-wheel dressers that were more aesthetically pleasing than rideable. Instead, new innovations and aftermarket bolt-on parts by innovative companies like Kraus have enabled riders to balance comfort and performance with aesthetics for revolutionary new builds.

For example, products  pullback risers and triples trees designed for V-twin Harleys allow for simple ergonomic and geometry adjustments that vastly improve the handling and tactility of the motorcycle.

Tunable suspension enhances traction control, while individually fitted Isolated Risers and Aluminum Moto bars offer enhanced vibration dampening and proper body position.

The ability to increase braking performance through oversized floating rotors and rigid aftermarket radial brake calipers goes hand in hand with the massive torque and Horsepower numbers we are seeing from these M8 motor builds.

In addition, OEM upgrades, such as moving from steel to aluminum components, have allowed many V-Twin Harleys to drastically up their performance while shedding unnecessary weight. Finally, consistent innovations from the aftermarket industry are one of the reasons the V-twin has stood the test of time and continues to receive renewed interest from motorcycle enthusiasts and racers.

To understand the evolution of the American V-twin scene and its passionate base, we need to explore the changes to several V-twin bikes and the growing popularity that has ensued. Below, we cover the shift toward the high-performance V-twin trend and the components needed to construct a high-performance build.


Baggers Shredding the Racetrack

Though the high-performance V-twin bagger trend may have seemed like a niche event only a few years ago, it has been made mainstream by the MotoAmerica King of the Baggers racing series.

What started as an exhibition event in 2020, MotoAmerica has expanded to a six-round championship in 2022, spanning from the high banks of Daytona International Raceway to plummeting the infamous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.

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These events are even drawing attention from all around the world. MotoAmerica KoB races are streamed live across several platforms, including the MotoAmerica Live Plus app and Youtube, and aired on live TV in the United States.

Kraus Moto, in conjunction with racing suspension leader Öhlins USA, was tasked with developing geometry and suspension systems for the Harley-Davidson Road Glide platform and has been a key player in helping catapult these heavy-weight machines to near superbike levels. Alongside the new Screamin’ Eagle Milwaukee-Eight 131 Performance Crate Engine, we have helped create the most competitive machines in the 2021 MotoAmerica King of the Baggers.

In turn, these events have led to a renewed push into V-twin and Harley racing, as MotoAmerica has already stated that more events should follow suit in the future.


OEM Offerings Built from Racing

As manufacturers continue to recognize the high-performance V-twin trend, they’ve created platforms that represent the shift and are inspired by the ongoing racing efforts.

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Models like the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide ST, as well as the all-new Low Rider ST, pack everything that the Motor Company has built its legacy upon—a tried-and-true American cruiser silhouette, a pushrod V-twin powerplant, and long-haul luxuries—but targeted performance enhancements with the Milwaukee-Eight 117 engine and aggressive styling cues.

While these upgrades are certainly a start toward a much higher performance build, customers can make much more significant strides by investing in aftermarket components specifically made for the make and model of their bike.


Best Areas to Upgrade Your Harley V-Twin

It’s hard to discount the passion and performance packed within Harley-Davidson’s current Milwaukee-Eight engine platform. The motor company has worked tirelessly to refine the performance and character of its bikes.

Unfortunately, many Harleys offer significant room for improvements, especially regarding suspension and braking components. Below are three areas where riders can make the most improvements to their V-twin bikes with little work.

Ergonomics

Every high-performance V-twin build should begin with rider position. Improving the rider triangle for added control and comfort flies under the radar when it comes to a high-performance V-twin build, yet it’s mission critical.

Using the three points of contact —handlebar position, footpeg/floorboard position, and saddle shape and size—you can easily dial in the position to fit your shape, size, and preference.

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We believe an aggressive upright body stance that is forward on the bike with hands just below the shoulders/chest height is optimal. At Kraus Moto, we’ve built components like the Kraus Isolated and Kickback Risers, Pull Back Plates, ERG Adjustable Moto Bars, ERG One Floorboards, and Apex Foot Controls to dial the fit.

It’s about finding a balance between a sporty and a comfortable position. You should be able to move your body around on the motorcycle easily and maneuver the motorcycle with agility. Sitting way back on the motorcycle can feel comfortable for long hauls, but when you get into the twisties or are riding aggressively through traffic, you want to be upright, alert, and in charge.

Most cruiser-style bikes are rear-heavy from the factory, which is not ideal for handling or braking performance. Offsetting the bike's rearward weight with your own forward on the bike helps distribute the overall weight.

Another critical factor is being able to steer with your lower body. Loading your right or left foot peg and swiveling your hips while pressing the same side palm against your bar/grip will initiate cornering easily. If you're too low on the bike or your feet are too far out in front of you, you will find yourself controlling the steering with your upper body. This is inefficient, disconnected, and causes excessive physical exertion.

Suspension

The beauty of upgrading your chassis with aftermarket suspension components is the ability to tune the bike's physical behaviors based on your own individuality and riding style, as well as the extra control and support of improved traction and road holding characteristics.

Kraus Moto has developed and offered many products within the performance ecosystem, including rigid billet aluminum triple tree clamps, components, and adapters that allow you to take full advantage of the latest road and track technologies.

Kraus has worked closely with Ohlins USA to produce inverted front ends that offer the ultimate handling and steering geometry and the highest quality and performance levels possible. Step-up enhancements like the Alpha Wolf Clamp set coupled with an adjustable internal cartridge kit offer an affordable choice in suspension upgrades that are easy to install and have massive performance benefits.

Rear suspension is critical to the stability of these bikes and bagger OEM rear shocks are a joke, so installing a set of Ohlins adjustable rear shocks is a primary step to a bike performing at any level.

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Braking Components

Adding an enhanced braking system gives the rider the final assurance in their machine’s high-performance capability.

You can have all the horsepower in the world, but without the ability to smoothly and precisely control your deceleration, what’s the point?

Top-shelf braking componentry makes all the difference. Slowing a high-velocity 800-pound plus machine is no easy feat. Increasing the power of your braking system by increasing your rotor size is the first step.

Kraus high-quality oversized floating rotor kits are another easy bolt on upgrade that can be integral to an enhanced riding experience. BrakeTech or Galfer rotors coupled with caliper mounts and radial Brembo Calipers offer significantly better brake performance through rigidity, bite, stopping power, and the all-important brake feel needed for hammering into the twisties.


A Push for Performance Touring

Unfortunately, the modern American V-twin lacks performance out of the box in almost every aspect, robbing you of having excellent times and safety.

It’s one of the reasons founder Satya Kraus launched Kraus Moto to push amazing bikes like the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Street Glide to higher levels.

In fact, the founder of Kraus Moto, Satya Kraus, takes pride in initiating the high-performance V-twin push following a significant time of being unenthused with the baseline, or lack thereof, performance of OEM-configuration American V-twin models.

That’s why we at Kraus Motor Company pride ourselves on innovation, doing our best to push the boundaries of performance that’s packed within these platforms without taking away from the traditional American experience. On our marketplace, you’ll find everything needed to transform your stock motorcycle into a V-twin superbike.

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