manufactures transmissions, clutches, and primary drives for the American
motorcycle aftermarket. The design criteria for any new product we develop is to
be unique and offer levels of function and performance way beyond the OEM status
quo. We are the aftermarket dammit and that makes us the fun kids in the school
yard. We're the ones that tie a string of firecrackers to the backpacks of the
OEM status quo kids. Aftermarket=fun. To cultivate the new/fresh ideas Lisa and
I have created a Haight-Ashbury company, with a daily cap on the lysergic acid
intake. Within the collective abnormal mindset of our company is fertile soil
ready to spawn unconventional product ideas. The free-thinking mindset at BAKER
was spawned out of walking the straight line of lemmings on the GM corporate
treadmill for 14 long years. The pendulum swings the other way baby, look at me
creation. Our new product ideas usually come from within the company.
Occasionally a killer new idea is found on a bar napkin in pant pockets worn the
2) New idea
marketing check. Will this new product occupy an exclusive niche in the
aftermarket? If so, then strong sales are usually assured. If it doesn't occupy
an exclusive niche then ask yourself why would someone purchase this new product
over comparable products.
3) Cost relative
to market. Estimate the BOM (bill of materials) cost and tooling required to
get the new widget up and running. From the estimated start up costs work
backwards to calculate the retail cost. Then you look into the crystal ball.
What kind of sales can be expected based on the estimated retail?
design. Construct the new product model in Solid Works (3D) or AutoCAD (2D).
This can take many months. It can also take just a few weeks but the model may
be chocked full of dimensional errors, design oversights, and structural
question marks. It's always cheaper and easier to pick the boogers out of the
design on the CAD tube.
Prototype parts. Expensive stuff but very rewarding. Expensive because
making a prototype run of 5 to 10 units is very costly due to low volume.
Rewarding because holding those virgin parts in your hand is nothing short of
6) Test Prototype
assemblies. Carefully assemble all the parts into an assembly and install it
onto a test mule. Conduct the complete battery of in-vehicle abuse testing. If
there are fitment or dimensional issues, then rework or re-do may be required.
Take the picture of me testing the reverse pattern ignition kill shift drum on
James' 145"/190hp/9.90 ¼ mile beer store express. Yep, that's me in the picture,
the idiot with short pants and exhaust pipe burns on the right leg. Winding that
sucker up to 6500 in 1st and tapping down to do a 1-2 shift without
touching the clutch is big fun on that monster. I like to test my own
Phase. Incorporate the things learned with the prototype assemblies into the
final production design. Kick off manufacturing. Use only American vendors. Get
the marketing campaign going.
Sleazy American guy sends a popular American product to China for
engineering. Chinese engineers with no riding experience on anything larger
than 50cc, reverse engineer said product. Critical fillets and dimensions are
missed because the interface components and their function as part of a system
are not understood.
3) Marketing study.
None required. The real American deal sells like hot cakes so a half-priced
half-quality copy should sell just fine. There's always a few short sighted
individuals who purchase stuff solely based on initial outlay. When their
communist stuff breaks, they buy another.
batch. A short run of prototypes are made. Minimal testing is
phase. Sleazy American guy imports knock-offs of the real deal and gets paid
for selling out the red, white, and blue.
product designs for V-Twin motorcycles do not come from communist China because
they don't ride American motorcycles and they certainly don't understand the
Harley culture. On the other side of the coin, Americans do not understand
Rickshaws and how they are integrated into the communist transportation system.
I don't think anybody in America cares about the damn things; but they should.
The more crap we as a nation (not including Lisa and I) purchase from them, the
weaker we become. The day could come when they are riding around on Harleys and
in Cadillac's and we get to pull the Rickshaws around town. Support the red,
white, and blue baby, now more than ever.