Jeff Allen

Lock Baker’s Modern Motus Chopper

Clean, computerized power and a lot of it

For the first couple of years I knew Lock Baker, this Motus engine sat in the middle of his shop. Mounted in a jig he had no doubt made around the engine as he uncrated it, the red heads of the MV4 sat cocked just slightly forward —exactly like they do in the stock bike. “When are you going to build this thing?” I would ask every time.

“Not yet. That’s the bike I’m going to die on,” he’d reply with a little smile. “I’m not ready to build it just yet.” Joking but knowing that there’s some daunting possibility of truth to it.

Lock Baker with Modern Motus Chopper

Lock Baker and his Motus in the city where the bike was built, Los Angeles.

Jeff Allen

Baker is the sole proprietor of Eastern ­Fabrications and Lockhart Knives in downtown Los Angeles, where he builds absurd motorcycles and hand-forges masterwork-level knives. One wildly unique build after the other, he’s found his niche with overengineered V-twins (and one V-4), often machining internal engine components and getting much deeper into the builds than any spectators would ever know. While he started out building far-out choppers, his work has grown more and more functional over the years, reaching its pinnacle with this build: Red Asphalt.

Named after the scare-you-straight videos we were all forced to watch in driver’s ed class, Red Asphalt earned its moniker by its terrifyingly awesome weight-to-power ratio—the same one that had Baker fearing for his life before he even started the build. The Motus production model MSTR has a claimed dry weight of 500 pounds with 180 horsepower and 126 foot-pounds of torque, and saw top speeds of over 168 mph at Bonneville. Now imagine that with 100 pounds stripped off and the intake and exhaust uncorked.

brembo brakes and ohlins suspension

Brembo brakes, Öhlins suspension, and a skinny little gas tank that Lock manages to squeeze 100 miles out of.

Jeff Allen

“The power is insane,” Baker says, sort of giggling and leaning in across the table. “You really have to take some time to learn to control your right hand. If you sort of grab a little jab of it and you’re not completely prepared and pointed in a safe direction, it can get you into trouble pretty quick. So that’s the only problem—and it’s not a problem. And the more I ride it, the more I learn to control it. You’re easily tagging 100 in third, and it’s a six-speed. The stock bike, bone stock gearing and everything went out at Bonneville, and set a pushrod world record right out the box.” His eyes are lit up. You can see that even after the three years he has spent building and modifying this bike, it still gets his heart pumping. Maybe it’s that there is that untapped potential, and knowing that it’s right there if he wants it.

Modern Motus control panel

The control panel for the Motus is brutally functional.

Jeff Allen

From the beginning, he knew he wanted to build his vision of a modern chopper. Something radical with a low seat, footpegs a little farther forward, and high handlebars, but other than that, this was going to be, as Baker described it, “a sort of futuristic racebike meets chopper.” The bike is entirely computer controlled through a small panel full of toggles and readouts on the left side. Sensors measure internal and external temperatures, as well as intake and exhaust to manage the fuel injection for maximum efficiency. In fact, Baker claims that you can hold your finger behind the open pipe while it’s running, and you won’t catch any soot.

Lock Bakers Modern Motus Chopper

Lock Baker's Motus custom, "Red Asphalt."

Jeff Allen

“It’s like...it’s perfect. It’s perfectly smooth computer-controlled power. It’s efficient. It has a complete start and run sequence. It needs no input from you other than powering up the panel.” Every time we talk about riding the bike, he gets the same distant smile, like he is imagining being on it. He comes back: “It’s taking its own temperature as it rides so it’s perfect. It’s got exhaust sensors, ambient-air sensor, crank-position sensors, timing—it takes care of everything.” Which means that that tiny little envelope of a 1.5-gallon gas tank lasts him an average of about 100 miles.

Modern Motus Chopper Components

All aspects of handling geometry were worked and reworked to get them just right.

Jeff Allen

From the rocker boxes to the riser clamp, there isn’t a piece on this bike that wasn’t thoughtfully engineered and constructed. Pieces were redone if they weren’t done right—in fact, the rear suspension took three forms before the Vincent style you see here. Whether it’s to make it lighter, faster, more efficient, or stronger, everything was done for a reason, and done right.

Motus Chopper tire and engine

Every piece of the bike except the engine and suspension components was hand fabricated and one-off.

Jeff Allen

Specifications

General
Owner Lock Baker
Shop Eastern Fabrications
Year/Make/Model 2018 EFab “Red Asphalt”
Fabrication EFab
Assembly EFab
Build Time Three years
Engine
Year/manufacturer 2016 Motus
Type/Size MSTR V-4/100 in.
Builder Motus Motorcycles
Cases Motus
Cylinders Motus
Heads Motus
Rocker Boxes EFab / Shane McMullen
EFI/carb Bosch port injected w/ individual runners and throttle-bodies
Exhaust EFab 321 stainless
Air Cleaner K&N
Special Features 2 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled
Transmission
Year/manufacturer/Type 2016 Motus six-speed
Gears Motus
Clutch Motus
Primary Drive Motus with shock-trap compensator
Frame
Year/Type 2018 EFab
Rake 25°
Suspension
Front-end Öhlins
Length Stock
Triple Trees EFab / Ryan Boyd
Rear Öhlins
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Front BST
Wheel Height-Width 19-by-3.25 in.
Tire Height-Width 110/80/19
Caliper Brembo Monoblock x 2
Rotor Suzuki
Rear BST
Wheel Height-Width 17-by-5.5 in.
Tire Height-Width 180/55/17
Caliper Brembo
Rotor Brembo
Finish/Paint
Colors Graphite Black Cerakote
Painter Dunham Metal Processing
Accessories
Front Fender EFab
Gauges Motogadget/EFab
Gas Tank/cap EFab
Dash EFab
Oil Tank Motus
Handlebars ProTaper
Headlight Efab/HD
Taillight SL NYC
License Mount EFab
Seat EFab
Misc EFab titanium axles, swingarm, seat subframe, foot controls, and all related brackets and linkages, risers, airbox, seat pan, all plumbing, custom aluminum radiator