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February 11, 2021

From the Vault: Winter, Women, and Motorcycles

When our creator was handing out job assignments, men got charged with the job of propagating the species. Consequently most men with a pulse think about women a lot; fantasies of kicking back next to a mineral spa supervising a small herd of scantily clothed perky women. One is giving you a foot massage, one a back massage, one feeding you grapes, and one fanning you with a large leaf from a palm tree. You’ve been empowered to propagate the human species and you must succeed or die trying. You are the king (in your mind).

But this is just a fantasy for most men, (except maybe James Simonelli.) That’s what we do; we fantasize about women and freaky indiscretions. I suppose if you are a Catholic priest or you play ball for the other team, you don’t think this way, but most men do. But the fact is: carnal fantasies out number actual encounters 1000 to 1 or 1,000,000 to 1 depending on how vivid your imagination
is and how much you hustle.

This is very much like winter in Michigan, where BAKER Drivetrain is located. We dream about riding motorcycles a lot because the weather is crappy and cold and the riding season is short. But I don’t think the cold weather is all bad because it gives rise to another side of the V-Twin culture: the garage scene. Hanging out in a garage with good friends and trading war stories about motorcycles, riding, andwomen is big fun. And you might even work on  motorcycles, too. Whether you’re changing a derby cover or rebuilding a motor, working on bikes and the garage scene is a cornerstone of the V-Twin culture. Even if there’s no wrenching being done, looking at Harleys and appreciating their beautiful architecture never gets old, just like women. The same cannot be said for Honda Gold Wings, which are about as visually appealing as a toaster oven or a wet mop. And what would you do anyways, put air in your tire or bolt another plastic panel on?

So we endure winters patiently waiting for that first day in March or April when that magic moment comes. Just like having a pair of vise grips clamped to your scrotum for six months and viola! The vise grips come off and it feels real good. You‘re riding along and the sun is shining, birds are singing, and you see holograms of Jesus and Amy Winehouse: a truly spiritual moment. But you need to be ready for this magic moment and take care of your two-wheeled shrine.

Before springtime comes, it is suggested that you do the following basic drivetrain maintenance. Change the oil in the transmission regardless of how many miles you put on the bike during riding season. When the transmission is thermally cycled up and down during normal usage, water will condense on the inside of the transmission case wall. Water can also be ingested into the transmission through the top cover vent if you get a little too crazy with a high-pressure wand when you clean your bike. Unlike the engine, the transmission will rarely get above 212°F to boil off the water. Water in the oil will lead to pitting and galling of the gear tooth flanks and bearing journals and ultimately shorten the service life of the transmission. Same thing applies to the primary housing. Change that primary oil in the off-season because it gets thermally cycled and assaulted by water condensation and has clutch plate friction material floating around in it. And don’t overfill the transmission because it’s a sure way to have oil leaks out the pulley spacer seal, pawl shaft seal, and top cover vent when you head out on that first day in spring.

Aspirations, dreams, and fantasies are what keep us going. Without them, we have no reason to get out of bed each morning. The cold weather really isn’t so bad because it gives me time to recharge my batteries in the garage, develop some new products, and recalibrate my ambitions. Hell, if I lived in south Florida, I’d take up residency under a coconut tree and be drunk 24/7 and not accomplish a darn thing.


Baker Drivetrain Team Illustration