A huge part of the subculture of custom motorcycles still revolves around personal connections made through word of mouth. Sure, most likely you see pictures on social media or on the pages of magazines but the odd chance of getting to know the creators in person is uncommon. Builders that I have been fortunate enough to meet are welcoming, passionate and most of them can talk your ear off about their bikes.
I met Lock Baker recently through my friend Max and after a couple of weeks of planning finally found time to see him in his downtown Los Angeles work space.
Lock is originally from from Fairfield, Connecticut. He is actually a fine artist by education and trade but it was always about motorcycles for him since he was a kid. He said it was a very natural progression to move from fine art to custom motorcycles.
You can tell from his creations art is a huge influence. Workable art. Art with horsepower.
The most recent bike he built is The Interceptor MK2. He had built the bike years ago but he wasn’t too happy with it so this is the second time.
This time he would go the distance on the build. Mixing technology and traditional craftsmanship into one delicious piece of machinery. The engineering itself will make your head spin. Keeping the same stance as the original Harley (because somewhere deep in his heart, Lock is a Harley Davidson purist) he altered and improved the entire bike to keep up with his current demand. Lighter and with more power.
The bike that really took my heart was a bike he named Icarus. If you weren’t paying attention you would probably walk by this bike and think “Cool Chopper!" but the next second you would come to realize that there was something special about the engine.
The weird part is that it’s not a motorcycle engine. Well, not originally. His eyes widened when I asked him. He said, “this is my favorite bike."
He use a Continental 0 200 parts to start with. Continental is a company that builds boxer style engines usually used on light aircrafts. They are known to be very reliable and tough as nails.
I can go on and on about the details on this build but will never have enough time. To summarize it, it as an engineering marvel to piece the whole thing together and make it run like a motorcycle. I love airplanes and just the thought of having an aircraft engine on my motorcycle gets me straight in the heart.
Lock is the kind of builder that is full of enthusiasm. He puts a lot of love and intellect into his work. He will take the time to explain if you take the time to listen. He loves finding new challenges and learning new methods and process to build. He has recently been into making knives, forging his own steel blades right there in his shop. His engaging attitude towards life with motorcycles is what I love about talking to Lock. I am very happy to have made another friend in the industry.
PS. This article is a little overdue. For that, I apologize. Since my visit, Lock has rebuilt the Interceptor MK2. It still looks the same but with some fresh bits. The Charger is also going through some changes. Lock is completing a full frame up rebuild with rumors of a turbo diesel Cummins motor waiting to go in. The Motus V4 build is well underway. He has also been busy building an incredible collection of Lockhart Knives, freshly made.