Back in ’95, Bert Effin Baker’s 1994 FLSTN bike was stolen in Daytona by some no-good, thieving little crapstain. Even though Bert loved that bike, the theft was the best thing to ever happen. Why? Bert, under the wise guidance of his better half Lisa, took the insurance money and built a new custom bike from the ground up. In building that bike, he was nagged by substandard transmission engineering decisions that traded less vibration for worse performance. Never one to compromise, Bert was motivated to design an elegant 6-speed transmission on his own, and he knew right away he had created something special. A simple idea turned into an American business success when Bert partnered with his wife to launch BAKER Drivetrain.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of BAKER, subscribing the help of company friends, the crew decided to build a new bike as a replacement for that bike stolen all those years ago. In this edition of From the Vault, we walk down memory lane to see how the BAKER Jive Train came to be.
Sometimes it seems as if this bike has had more names than the fake ID’s that George The Painter carries around. I always thought of it as “The Secret Baker Bike” and the seat proclaims it to be “Riding Dirty,” the “BBBB” pushrod covers stand for the “Bert Baker Ball Breaker” but then again the gas tank says “Baker Jive Train.” It’s really no surprise that this bike has multiple personalities considering the multiple personalities that put it together.
I’m certain you all remember my article on the building of this bike in complete secrecy in issue #78, but just in case some of you have severe short term memory problems or for some reasons just crawled out of the primordial soup and have just now discovered The Horse magazine, let me recap.
This bike was built for Bert Baker as a sort of replacement for the bike that was stolen from him in Daytona in 1995, the idea was to built it in total secrecy and present it to Bert on the 10th anniversary of Baker Drivetrain in March in Daytona this year. The secrecy part was no mean feat considering the amount of information exchange these days, but somehow the lid was kept on it. The frame was built by Bill Dodge of Bling’s Cycles, Milwaukee Iron built the rear fender and the seat came from Duane Bullard (of course). Paul Wideman of Bare Knuckle Choppers made the way-cool front end as well as the mid controls and exhaust work (and the glass velocity stack).
It fell to Eric Gorges of Voodoo Choppers and Fabricator Kevin (of Fabricator Kevin’s) to do the lion’s share of design, fabricating and general figuring out how to get all this stuff to work together. I probably didn’t help much when I suggested the under-the-tank oil tank, looks really tricky but presented Eric with an awful lot of work figuring it all out. This was all made a little less easy because the S&S P-Series engine took a while longer than planned to arrive and when it did, Eric decided the cases should be polished and the top end powdercoated to match the (important) drivetrain components. Dan Roedel was pressed into service to strip the brand new engine down to its component pieces, and then reassemble it a week or so later. The wheels came in from Ride Wright and a few other people such as Jason Hallman and Even Edwards put a lot of time and effort into getting this bike to the stage where it was presented to Bert at the Broken Spoke in March. Since then, the paint has been applied by the French Kiss guys and the bike actually runs now!
We went out to J&R Cycles (the shop ran by Jason Hallman) in Plymouth Michigan for the shoot. I hadn’t seen the bike since just after Daytona and I was certainly impressed with the looks now it is complete. The bike was being shot for the Baker 2009 calendar; check out our 2009 calendar for a stolen shot from the shoot.
We went back a couple of days later to shoot the bike in the yard outside Jason’s shop and over by the railroad tracks next door. Special thanks to Harley for posing with the bike and Lumpy from CCX for making sure we didn’t get run over by any of the trains…Jive or otherwise!