It’s in 1999 that Bert & Lisa Baker officially appeared on the custom V-Twin motorcycle scene. Armed with the necessary theory, protocol, and experience that they both acquired during 14 years as engineers working on manual transmissions for General Motors, they immediately succeeded in imposing their new ideas. They revolutionized the way we gear up and down our bikes (remember the 1st 6-speed overdrive?) and the manner we install transmissions (remember the shift to the right side drive made necessary because of the fat tires?) Since then, always balancing innovation with heritage, the Bakers have brought to the market many new concepts, ideas and a complete line-up of products to fill the needs for driveline improvement of oem American V-Twin motorcycles and custom applications.
It’s in this office that new Baker Drivetrain products are dreamed of. Bert Baker is not afraid to admit that it’s also the place where he had quite a few shitty ideas that he keeps for himself. Of course only the best ones make it through the door for testing by his mechanical engineers. An office that one could almost qualify as a “man cave” as it is evident that it’s a male professional hang out devoid of any influence by wife Lisa. Probably the only place in their life (in their case separation between private and professional is at least very blurry) where she has no say about what gets “mounted on the walls”….
Bert having a pathological aversion to conformity, his office is the opposite of a corporate show-me place. It’s all about work, a retreat, a place to be alone, dreaming, rambling (in a colorful language he is an ardent and vocal defender of the “Made In America”), calculating (in metric and standard), working hypothesis, figuring out some new gear combinations (forward and in reverse) and imagining whatever products you still don’t know you need them on your custom bike. Of course it doesn’t exclude surrounding yourself with favorite objects. For example, Bert is an amateur guns collector because they represent for him a beautiful mechanical art form with a much longer American history than motorcycles. He even confided to me that if he wasn’t in the drivetrain business, he would probably be manufacturing firearms…
Bert Baker also collects human skulls, one of them checking you out when you talk to him across his desk. On the walls, a lot of pictures of late actor Dennis Hopper, a personality to who he must identify a lot, both with the man and some of his movie characters. He missed his chance to meet him but now want to meet Jeff Bridges and Crispin Glover. In his office, no books to be seen because Bert’s mind wander too much to stay focused a long time on one story. But a lot of car and motorcycle transmission repair manuals that he reads with as much avidity as you would reading the crime novel “The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo.”
For all memos, notes, technical references, data sheets belonging to his daily professional life, Bert doesn’t use much his computer for doc files and sound alert memos. He is a genius gearhead but not necessarily a PC tech whiz. He does it the old school way with push pins and a cork board. So, what’s next at Baker Drivetrain? If I would know, do you think I would tell you? Just be certain that with the new release will be included the integrity and creativity of traditional good ol’ American engineering.