At Bakker Frames 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
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 a 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.
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.
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.
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, Nico 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
Amongst the frames designed and built during
this period was one to house a 125cc Morbidelli engine. Like many others
produced by Nico 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;
900 and 100cc; 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 Nico Bakker Framebouw to our usual
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, Nico 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 Nico 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 crackcase. Such innovation was indicative of
Nico Bakker Framebouw’s continual striving for technical improvement.
That was underlined during the mid to late
1980s, when Nico 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.
Nico Bakker Framebouw took to the use of
aluminium as a frame material in the same professional manner that we did with
steel tubing. 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
From the very beginning, Nico 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
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,
, 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 Nico 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. Square-section alloy tubes ran under the
engine in normal cradle fashion, while the rear suspension was designed to
accommodate the standard shaft-drive unit.
Upside down forks took care of the front
suspension, with stopping handled by two 300mm floating discs and four-piston
callipers at the front, and the standard BMW disc on the rear. Running on 17in
wheels, all this made the Kangaroo an incredible street-legal machine, wrapped
up in very distinctive and stylish aluminium body panels, or fibreglass panels
for those wishing to save some of the cost.
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
. The first ten Kangaroos were snapped up quickly, resulting I Bakker putting a
much larger batch into production.
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, Nico 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, Nico
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
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. The rear brake used a
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. Attaching the clip-on’s
to this gave the overall appearance of normal handlebars.
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
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. There was actually a complete range of QCS bikes,
to accept 250 and 500cc race engines as well as 750 and 1000cc four-stokes.
It’s 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. This used the engine as a fully-stressed member, the front end of the
frame consisting of an alloy box-section bolted directly to the engine and
carrying the suspension. The rear suspension was a single sided swing arm that
enclosed the driveshaft.
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.
As with the front end, the rear alloy
tubular sub frame was bolted directly to the engine and gearbox unit. It carried
a carbon fibre seat, while the gearbox, brakes (ABS is an option), instruments,
electronics, exhaust and lights were all standard R1100rs items. Fuel was
carried in a Bakker
alloy tank, which is beautifully styled, along with the rest of the Bakker
bodywork. This elegant and modern design weighed in dry at 202kg, and is a true
sports bike, with an estimated top speed of 138mph.
The range of parts or accessories continues
to grow along with the rand of complete machines. We will still produce anything
from the earlier years if required: the Kangaroo for example based on the old
air-cooled BMW flat-twin. The Bomber is still part of the range too, to suit
BMW’s eight-valve twin, and 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 can be supplied with any four-cylinder engine, including the
Suzuki GSX-R and Honda CBR. Executed in naked road bike, or fully equipped
All-Road endurance bike. Then there’s the supermono racer, which will take
Rotax, Yamaha, Honda or any other big single-cylinder engine. The Hawk is based
on Honda’s Hawk, the 650cc engine expanded to 700cc and tuned to produce twice
Over the years, the Bakker Framebouw has
produced many one-off or small production runs of machines for special needs, a
prime example of this being an off-road or enduro machine built around the BMW
GS flat-twin. It weighs 30kg less than BMW’s factory bike.
The diversity of our product range and the
innovation behind our work is clear – not only that, but we have put these
advanced machines into production, and maybe that is our true accievement.