BAKER Dealer since 2020
St. Michael, MN
Michelle: Hello! Could you please give me an intro to your shop and who you are?
Eric: The shop is Empire Cycle. We’ve been in business for almost 15 years. I’m Eric Riley, the owner.
Michelle: You said you’ve been in business for 15 years... When you first started, were you in the same location you’re currently located in?
Eric: We started in the small town of Loretto, Minnesota, in a pretty small building. Almost two years ago, we moved into the building we’re currently in. I actually started the business on the side when I was working at another shop in my garage and outgrew that pretty quickly. The building in Loretto was about 1400 square feet and the building we’re in now is about 14,000 square feet.
Michelle: What is your shop’s specialty?
Eric: We’re 100% Harley and Indian. We specialize in anything from your basic maintenance intervals to full engine builds and dyno tuning. We also do audio as well. The majority of our work, and what we’re known for, is work on the newer M8's and performance work for those bikes.
Michelle: How many builds do you typically do in a year?
Eric: Depends on the build… What defines a build? A full crank up engine build? We probably do 30 in a year. Cams, we probably do about 150 in a year. Between cam upgrades, we’re still doing Big Bores and GrudgeBoxes in those. We probably do at least one full up custom bike a year.
Michelle: How long have you been riding?
Eric: I’ve been riding for 35 years. I’m 39 years old. I started off as a kid, racing motocross up until I got too many injuries. I’ve been working in the industry for about 23 years. I started when I was 15 and haven’t looked back since.
Michelle: What bikes do you own or ride?
Eric: I have a Harley Road Glide, built up to one of our performance packages we do. I have a heritage softail that’s kind of a resto mod that we’re finishing up for a show that we have next weekend. I have multiple bikes, but only two that are worth talking about right now.
Michelle: What is your favorite build with a BAKER product in it?
Eric: Well, I’d have to say right now, my custom Heritage Softail. It has the OD6 in it. It’s a 1996 Heritage Softail, with mods to bring it up to 2023 standards, but keep intact the nostalgic look and feel.
Michelle: What is the shop’s favorite BAKER product?
Eric: The GrudgeBox. Can’t go wrong with the GrudgeBox. We go through a lot of them. They deliver power right? When we’re dynoing the bikes, when you get up in that 150 torque and over 150 horsepower, you need a gear ratio that can work for that power delivery.
Michelle: Do you have any cool news about your shop?
Eric: The latest cool thing, would be that we moved into this huge building. We’re a large independent performance based shop, and that’s pretty exciting coming from my garage.
Michelle: What does American made mean to you?
Eric: It means everything! That’s it. To have a company like BAKER be American made by Americans is huge. The proof is in how it works. We have a lot of products that fail and we don’t have BAKER products that fail.
Michelle: What is the best way for customer to get ahold of you?
Eric: They can email us through the website, call us, message us on social media, all of the normal ways.
Michelle: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Eric: Just looking at the future, we’re trying to break into the market beyond Minnesota. With BAKER’s help and other vendors, we know we’ll be successful in some compacity.