Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The History of The Shaker
This is how Dale Baker's Shaker sits right now.
In the last remaining days of 2009 Bacon and I drove to Michigan to pick up this survivor 1964 xlch. We bought it from a guy named Al Larson and he did a lot of research on this bike. He found that it was on the Cover of Street Chopper with a Ron Finch bike in April 1979. Al said he found the Shaker's skeleton laying in a pile of hay inside of a barn but it lacked its motor and wheels. He decided to buy it.... then spotted another sportster on the other side of the barn and was informed that the motor in that stockish sporty actually came out of the Shaker frame. He decided to buy both and put the Shaker back together.
In 1978 a man named Dale Baker decided to change his daily rider into something a little more radical. He goosenecked the frame and put the sporty tank back on it. It just didn't look right so he had Al Osting fab the tank, rear seat and fender area's. It was then taken to Jerry Anderson for a coat of gold paint. As they sat around the bike smoke'n joints they decided that the gold was just too much. So Jerry suggested a few Orange highlights here and there to break it up. Before it was all said and done just about every color in the rainbow found its way on. Now all it needed was a mural painting. Hanging on the shop wall was a Frazetta Print.... it was decided that it was perfect for the bike. Czerwinski stepped in and recreated the painting on the top of the tank. Jerry happened to be doing a firebird hood with gold and silver leaf and had plenty left over so that found its way on as well. Jerry is still alive and said there is just no way in hell he could paint something that elaborate today but the Shaker was his proudest piece. He mentioned that he had over 200 hours into this paint job. Jerry's Upholstery did the original seat and he is also still alive. He was asked to make another one for the bike but he declined stating that it was his first and only motorcycle seat he has ever done. He said that it was such a pain in his ass that he would never do another motorcycle seat.
I was told that Dale Baker wasn't into show bikes... he was into bikes that were ridden. He took many trips to Colorado with his buddies on his Shaker. He was the odd ball in the group because he rode a Harley Davidson. All of his buddies rode Hondas and constantly gave him shit for riding a Harley. Supposedly their are a handful of these bikes still floating around. Michigan Motorcycle Company had a hand in all of these bikes.
Dale Baker was a Long Haul Truck Driver. In 1985 Dale died on the dance floor at a wedding of a Heart Attack. After his death the bike went to an MC club... I'm not positive but I believe the club was called the Road Knights. It's new owner and President of the Club pasted away shortly after and the bike lead the Funeral Presentation. I believe the bike then went to his son who gave the bike to his wife but she didn't like the way it handled. So here's where the shaker gets ripped apart. The motor was taken out and put into an stock sporty set up and the chasis was thrown into a pile of hay. The son then went to jail and I think he is still sitting there today. His family starting selling off his stuff and in walked Al Larson.
Al bought both sportsters and did what he could to get the Shaker back to its original state. He got it running but has a really fucked up back and fell on hard times so it was put up for sale. With the purchase he gave us the original copy of the 1979 Street Chopper. So it is our goal to put it back to its original set up. When we got it, it had some funky bars, a 15 inch invader with a car tire on the rear, a 21" star hub up front and the wrong seat. It originally had pull back bars, a 16 inch spoked rear and a 19 inch mini drum on the front. About a month before..... Warren and some friends drove up to Ron Finch's to hang up... get tweaked... and wade through his parts piles. DL grabbed a set of pull backs that seem to be an exact match. It's weird because the other bike on the 1979 cover was a Ron Finch bike and they are both in the same area. I doubt they are actually the same set of bars but I know that Dale Baker hand made the original bars and they seem to fit like a glove. I picked up a 16 inch spoked rim from Slippery Pete and used a 19 inch mini drum rim that came on the Girder I brought in Indiana on the way to pick up the Shaker. We also changed a few other little things like the carb, put on a period air cleaner and some foot pegs sent from Mike D.
I will try to get more information and as I do I will post it. Stay tuned.
Dale Baker's Shaker in 1979