Is our destiny a sequence of events that is inevitable and unchangeable, or do we control ours by choosing different paths throughout our life? Were Bert & Lisa Baker meant to study in the same university in the same class, to receive the same Mechanical Engineering diploma, to work for the same employer, to become a couple, to business partner to create in very short years the V-Twin Motorcycle Drivetrain Authority? If it was predetermined destiny, it must have been fore-ordained by the God of V-Twin. The storyline of their destiny (or fate?) is very well recounted in their own website at The Baker Story, An american One.
Baker Drivetrain made its first professional appearance in 2000 with a small display (facing mine) at the Cincinnati V-Twin Expo. Armed with the necessary theory, protocol, and experience acquired during 14 years as a Senior Project Engineer to Manual Transmissions at General Motors, and supported by a partner wife already planning the manufacturing and marketing of their brand new revolutionary product, Bert Baker introduced his 6-speed overdrive transmission concept that all the custom motorcycle industry worldwide will adopt in the following months, inluding o.e.m. manufacturers…
Since then, with a commitment to using the best materials, labor, creativity, know-how and grit that is born or made in the USA, innovation has never stopped with Bert releasing all the time new drivetrain products, each of them improving bikers’ experience with their factory or custom built motorcycles. Ardent and vocal defenders of the “Made In America” Bert & Lisa Baker define their business philosophy as to preserve the purity, integrity and creativity of American engineering. (Top picture copyright Cyril Huze. Bottom picture copyright Baker Drivetrain)
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Bert. No recollection. I was a military brat and moved every year or two.
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Bert. Jim Morrison and my Uncle Bud who dropped bombs on Germany in WWII in a B-17 when he was only 19 years old
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Bert. Honda SL70 when I was 10. I lived in Albuquerque at the time and loved to ride along the Sandia mountain foothills
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Bert. I would be an automotive engineer but I tried that already for 14 years and figured out I’m incapable of working for someone else.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Bert. Driving my ZO6 real fast
Cyril. What are you afraid of? Bert. My children’s economic future in America
Cyril. What was the last music you downloaded in your iPod? Bert. I don’t know how to do that and I don’t care to learn. I have no music in my iPhone. In the shop right now I’m listening to Traffic, Buck Cherry, Johnny Cash, and Pantera in the stereo machine.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Bert. Requiem for a Dream
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Bert. People who drive shitty Korean cars too slow in the left lane, Potato salad, China, Winter, and hairy un-manicured “snappers”
Cyril. Who is the person you would love to meet? Bert. I missed my chance with Dennis Hopper but I would like to meet Crispin Glover or Jeff Bridges.
Cyril. What was the last book you read? Bert. I don’t read fiction; my mind wonders too much. Last book I read was ATSG Saturn TAAT transmission repair manual
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Bert. White Castle/Krystal burgers. They’re so nasty I can’t brush my teeth enough times to eradicate the stink
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Bert. Human skulls
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Bert. 1977 Triumph TR7 when I was a kid. British cars suck
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Bert. Black. I got this stove top Alesi coffee maker in Italy and it makes strong coffee.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Bert. I’ve had some shitty shift system concepts but nobody knows about that and I’m going to keep it that way
Cyril. Where is your preferred vacation place? Bert. My cottage on Lake Michigan. The infinite expanse of looking westward over the water gives me humility
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Bert. Deep fried fish filets with flour, egg, and Panko coatings
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Bert. 9/11 and I continue to be mad at that religion and the ignorant fucks who follow it. Every time I have to do a full cavity search to get on a plane in my country I am reminded of this.
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Bert. Weekend, what’s that? When you run a business you don’t have weekends and it all blends together
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Bert. Used to be Daytona back in the Custom Chopper excess days, but now it’s Sturgis
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Bert. This one, you crazy Frenchman!