At Biketoberfest in 1998 we unveiled our big new product, the 6-Speed Overdrive. I was confident that this new transmission would simultaneously solve world hunger, cure breast cancer, and kill all the deer that wait in the road to get hit by a biker . I was proud. Working in the booth one day, some old crusty coot walked by our booth and asked me what it was. I proudly proclaimed “Sir, that’s our new BAKER 6-Speed Overdrive”. With a cold stare he looked at me and said: “ what good is it if it ain’t got a ratchet top?”. I had no response and felt like snuffing it.
I don’t know that cat’s name but I thought a lot about what he said to me 13 years ago. So this collection is dedicated to you, mother fucker. You inspired me. I’ve been studying you and your kind for a number years and finally got you figured out. You don’t want a new bike. You want an old bike. You wouldn’t take a new bike if it was given to you. Riding a new bike would be akin to riding a Chinese moped down main street in Sturgis wearing a pink tutu.
This collection is drivetrain components, many of them new, for 4-speed Big Twins (1936-86) and 4-speed based customs. We’ve been busy. But developing new products for old bikes is tricky because you have to balance innovation with heritage. Take a look at our new 4-speed. We have a jockey top for it now and a N1 drum for foot clutch hand shift junkies. And we didn’t forget about the freaks who own 1984-86 Big Twins; we now have that special mainshaft length (unique to those bikes) now for our 6-into-4s. Finally, our new Tin Type Primary (TTP) is the first modern enclosed primary for old bikes that gives a nod to the original tin primaries from 1936. But the TTP fits today’s alternator/generator hermaphrodite motors, doesn’t leak, and is set up for dependable and tidy modern starters.
I want to find the guy who cut me down to size 13 years ago and gave me proper motivation. If you read this, come find me at the next bike show and identify yourself. I want to shake your hand and thank you.