Bakker motorcycles

At Bakker Framebouw it is possible to have a motorcycle made entirely to your style and wishes.

We are no manufacturer of engines, but we can build you the motorcycle of your dreams based on a engine of any producer.

If your budget is tight, but you want to own a unique motorcycle, there is the possibility to us a standard motorcycle as base, and to rebuild this at Bakker Framebouw according to your ideas. You can choose to for example keep the rear fork and to build a new frame and fairing. In this way you can have your dream bike become reality.

Bakker Framebouw can fall back on many years of experience in constructing all kinds of parts for both street- and private- racing, as for endurance- and GP- racing. Also on a regular base our company is consulted by the big motorcycle manufacturers for, for instance the development of prototypes, improvements on rolling chassis, and the adjustments for bikes for ambulance- and police- uses.

Background History:

By the early 1970s, Nico Bakker, a very accomplished road racer, had reached a point in his career where his ultimate performance was being restricted by the machinery he was riding. However, this was not due, as in many cases, to a lack of power or reliability Nico had the right engines, and his racing performance demonstrated his riding ability. The problem lay in the handling of his bike, and this is the point where the Nico Bakker story really starts. As a purely private venture, he decided to build a racing motorcycle frame for his own use.

Nico Bakker with Ducati 1968 - 1969 Foto Nico met Suzuki 1970 - 1971

This first Bakker frame was built to very high standards, using only the very best materials. This high quality was to become a Nico Bakker trademark., and has led to a lasting reputation for excellence of finish. That first frame also proved to be the starting point for a new business, as the very marked improvement in Nico Bakker’s race results with this home-built frame was noted by the motorcycle fraternity. It wasn’t very long before requests from other private owners for purpose-built frames began to reach Nico. His first commercial frame was for someone else who was to become famous in motorcycle racing.

In 1974, fellow Dutchman Wil Hartog asked Nico to build a frame to house a 250cc Yamaha engine.

1975 Yamaha 125cc Bakker Suzuki Frame 1973 - 1974

            At the beginning of his frame-building career, Nico constructed his frames from steel tubing in the traditional manner, but his racing experience gave hem the knowledge of exactly where to put the various tubes to achieve the optimum performance from the frame he was building. This quality of design was matched by the use of the best materials, and demand for Bakker frames was strong.

            By the mid to late 1970s, Bakker Framebouw was producing frames for a wide range of engines, from 50 to 1000cc, and in many different forms. In fact, the versatility was such that almost any engine was eligible for the Nico Bakker treatment, and the list of customers was growing continually. It included some very well know top-class riders such as Phil Read, Cecotto, Agostini, Kork Ballington, Jack Middelburg and many others. The comparatively short time in which this demand was achieved is an indication of the admiration that Bakker machines commanded from the motorcycle racing fraternity.

Nico Bakker met Jack Middelburg monteur Adrie van de Broeke

            Amongst the frames designed and built during this period was one to house a 125cc Morbidelli engine. Like many others produced by Bakker Framebouw, this frame could be purchased as a kit into which all the original parts would fit, enabling the customer to rebuild his own machine into the high-performance frame.

            Another engine catered for was the Suzuki 1000cc four, the frame offered in road or race trim. The main difference was that the race version utilized a monoshock suspension system, as did the little Morbidelli frame. The 1000 frame was also available in versions to accept the other four-cylinder Japanese motors of the time: Honda 750 and 950cc; Kawasaki 900 and 1000cc; Suzuki 750 and 1100cc.

            Also popular and successful during this period was a frame for the famous Yamaha TZ. When supplied as a kit, the frame would accommodate all original 250 and 350 parts. In addition, all the other parts, such as petrol tanks, fully-tuned exhaust systems, fairings, seats and wheels were – and still are – produced by Bakker Framebouw to our usual high standard.

            This line of frame design – that is the high quality, tubular steel type – continued into the 1980s, and where the engines remained popular of competitive, Bakker Framebouw continued to supply the relevant frames. Both offered in race or street-legal forms.

            Another popular model from the Bakker works at this time was a street-legal frame for the six-cylinder Honda CBX. Other frames to come Bakker Framebouw included race frames for the Cagiva 500 and Rotax 250 engines. The latter incorporated an interesting feature for this period: not only was the rear suspension monoshock, but the shock itself was mounted horizontally, under the crankcase. Such innovation was indicative of Bakker Framebouw’s continual striving for technical improvement.

            That was underlined during the mid to late 1980s, when Bakker Framebouw began to use aluminium in his frame designs, including swingarms. Both frames and swingarm utilized pre-formed aluminium extrusions and tubes. Considerable modification of the extrusion was often required, along with varying amounts of aluminium fabrication to achieve the required result. This would depend on the style or design of the frame or swingarm. The use of extrusions was ideally suited to the construction of the widely-used, twin-spar type frame, which was – and still is – a very popular frame style suitable for many engine configurations. We chose the very best quality materials, and aimed for a very high standard of construction and finish. During the latter half of the 1980s, the fabricated aluminium frame became the standard method of construction in the Bakker factory.

            From the very beginning, Bakker Framebouw has always been prepared to design and build one-off or short-run examples of our frames to house almost any type or make of engine. However, we always had a range of catalogued models that have become popular and, therefore, created a demand. This range of standard frames includes both race and road examples. In most cases, these can be supplied as finished machines or as frame kits.

            In the early 1990s, the Bakker range included a full-race spec aluminium twin-spar frame and swingarm to house 125cc engines. In contrast is the Special Formula 1 design, a fabricated twin-spar frame that could be supplied with, or to house, engines from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and Yamaha, in capacities from 750 to 1100cc. In effect, this was a whole range of machines in one design, but this particular frame had something that rendered it extra special: it supported a single-leg rear suspension in place of a conventional swingarm.

            The single-leg was of Bakker Framebouw design and manufacture, and was fabricated from aluminium extrusions, and it remains unique. The single-leg could also be bought as a complete unit – leg, damper, brake, wheel and mudguard – to fit most frames from 250 to 1100cc.

            Unlike our sports and racing machines, the BMW Kangaroo was quite different, a big traillie based on BMW R100GS, and offered as a complete bike. The air-cooled flat-twin engine and shaft drive were housed in a fabricated, aluminium twin-spar frame, welded to swingarm pivot mounts that were machined from solid. Upside down forks took care of the front suspension, with stopping handled by two 300mm floating discs and four-piston callipers at the front. Running on 17in wheels, all this made the Kangaroo an incredible street-legal machine. An independent professional rider reported the BMW-based Kangaroo as being an excellent handling road machine, with good torque from the flat-twin and a claimed top speed of 125 mph.

            If fact, BMW engine lovers were well catered for by Nico Bakker, as he also offered a bike based around the K100 liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine. This too used a fabricated aluminium twin-spar frame with USD forks, plus four-piston calliper brakes in a 16in front wheel, and an 18in wheel at the rear. The complete machine weighed in at 188kg, which was only 3kg heavier than the Kangaroo, due to the larger, liquid-cooled engine. The Nico Bakker Framebouw K100 Special, as it was designated, was finished off with stylish GRP bodywork and had a top speed of 140mph. It was an interesting alternative take on BMW’s standard offering a K-powered sports bike long before BMW itself did.

            From the very beginning, Bakker Framebouw has been extremely versatile and has pioneered a wide range of technical advances, but one masterpiece crowned all of these achievements. The QCS (Quick Change System) is a unique machine in that both wheels were single-side mounted and easy to change (hence the name) with both hub-centre steering and the Bakker single-leg rear suspension.

            But of course, the QCS wasn’t designed that way simply to improve wheel changing times. The use of hub-centre steering resulted in constant steering geometry and wheelbase measurement. These two major benefits can never be achieved with even the best conventional front fork layout. The QCS layout also allowed quicker and easier suspension adjustments, a major advantage for road-race machines.

Although hub centre steering is not new, Bakker Framebouw designed our version to take full advantage of the technical possibilities it offers. This remarkable design utilized axial pivot steering, which means that the kingpin (formerly the front fork) angle remains constant during suspension movement, resulting in little or no trail change, and the result was a machine with more neutral handling than a conventional system could deliver.

            Due to our own developed six-piston brake calliper, braking equal to a twin-disk set-up was achieved using a single ventilated disk, which brought a weigh saving, but more importantly, the central position of the single disc in the front wheel meant that its gyroscopic effect had a less negative influence on road holding. The single central disc also has a unique cooling system, air being forced through a clever-designed hollow front mudguard onto the disc, which itself was ventilated.

            All this sounds like a very formidable package to be ridden by experts only, but such was not the case. In fact, the QCS is much simpler to ride than motorcycles of conventional layout. Road test reports by professional riders described it as being a joy to ride, in terms of comfort and outright handling. They remarked on the high degree of road feel, something reported as lacking in other hub-centre steering designs, while another notable point was the lack of road shock felt through the handlebars. As there were no forks for mounting the clip-on bars, we fitted a machined alloy plate on a short headstock running on roller bearings.

            The positive feel and lack of road shock were due to the unique front suspension and steering arrangement. The front suspension was connected to a front sub frame at the mounting points, which meant that the forces were not concentrated at one point, as is the case with the steering head of conventional front forks. Another advantage of this system was that none of the suspension movement was transmitted to the handlebars. All this improved rider comfort which, in turn, reduced fatigue, something of prime importance to long-distance road riders and endurance racers. The QCS was enclosed by beautiful bodywork, optimised for aerodynamics and comfort, and of course was finished to the same very high standard as the rest of Bakker’s products.

            The prototype QCS was built around a Honda RVF750, but the production road version used Yamaha FZR1000 parts. It’s significant that the complete QCS actually weighed approximately 10 per cent less than the original Yamaha.

            It is clear that Bakker Framebouw has a good relationship with BMW, and we actually acted as consultant when the Bavarian company was developing its Tele-lever front suspension. So the Kangaroo and K1100 weren’t our only BMW-based bikes. The Bomber was a high performance road-going sports machine based around BMW’s eight-valve 1100cc oil-cooled flat-twin.

            Our version of Tele-lever front suspension was based on a single pivoting wishbone, which operated a suspension unit mounted behind the steering head. This type of suspension maintains a higher degree of steering geometry under braking and cornering than conventional forks, and we designed the front suspension to give a ride height that enhanced the handling necessary on a sports bike of this calibre, while maintaining the overall appearance of conventional forks.

            We will still produce anything from the earlier years if required. Together with these the Barracuda is a complete motorcycle designed to accept big V-twins, such as the Suzuki TL1000, Honda VTR or Ducati. The well-known Grizzly in different executions, can be supplied with any four-cylinder engine, including the Suzuki GSX-R and Honda CBR. Then there is the supermono racer, which will take Rotax, Yamaha, Honda or any other big single-cylinder engine.

            The diversity of our product range and the innovation behind our work is clear and not only that, but we have put these advanced machines into production, and maybe that is our true achievement.