BAKER Drivetrain - Shift up with Bert
A General Motors drivetrain specialist takes a detour, burns a wad of insurance money and keeps fiddling about with bikes ever since. Sounds like a neo-realist drama feature at your local art house cinema, but in reality is an American blockbuster – at least when you're watching the world from the gut perspective of a Harley. It's the true story of BAKER Drivetrains. Contrary to popular rumours founder Bert Baker was not born a twin of a piece of Milwaukee machinery, but misspent his youth BMXing, wrenching motocross bikes, graduating in automotive engineering and landing a job at GM as a sort of gearbox guru. So far, so nice.
Responsible for all the rest is Bill Schmidt. All of us (well, all of us that ever wished their gearbox to hell) should bend their knees and thank the man for lending his '93 FatBoy to Bert for the weekend. From that fatuous day Bert was lost to everything non-V-Twin on earth. When they ripped off his ‘94 FLSTN during Daytona Bike Week, his wife gave him the inspiration to build his own bike from the ground up with the insurance money.
Which he did. Only to gain the bitter insight, that the whole sled vibrated like hell, shaking all kinds of parts loose, or it ran nice and quiet, but wouldn't pull a slice of chorizo off a pizza.
Bert knew right away he had to propel the Harley gearbox from it's 40ies standard into some sort of here and now. Having spent his Harley-less years tweaking 6-speed overdrive muscle car gearboxes came in mighty handy now.
Eight months, several prototypes and one founding of a company later BAKER Drivetrains was on track to bring a new dimension of smooth running to the Harleys of this world, including the vintage of 1936 by now. It‘s always worth a consideration, when restoring or customizing a bike from the ground up. There are 6 gears instead of a measly 4, giving you a smooth running setup without any loss of punch in the lower gears. Its all very unobtrusive and easy going, some advanced wrenching experience is recommended however. But after you're done, it‘s just kick and ride, ride, ride …
BAKER applications are available for all HDs from 1936 onwards, including Sportsters and Buells. Everything is done to high precision specs, and: everything's Made in USA. That's something Bert is mighty proud of.
There are optional left- and right side drives, reverse gears, bigger oil bags and shifter drums with a more convenient gear sequence. In our shop alone there are more than 100 hits when you search for BAKER.
Even more can be found on the BAKER homepage bakerdrivetrain.com . The only snag is this: you'll never have enough bikes to use all that neat BAKER stuff. Drives you nuts.