fbpx

Motorcycle Guru Bob Barker Has Died

Robert Barker, an American motorcycle innovator had a storied career in motorcycle engineering. Bob grew up in Altadena, California and could be found learning life’s lessons at San Gabriel Drag Strip, Santa Barbara, or Marchbanks Speedway. Bob died in his sleep on May 25, 2015.

marchbanks
In the late-’60s legendary motorcycle innovator Bob Barker rode a 350 air-cooled Bridgestone (#66) to set an AMA record at Bonneville going 147 mph.

Robert Barker, an American motorcycle innovator had a storied career in motorcycle engineering. Bob grew up in Altadena, California and could be found learning life’s lessons at San Gabriel Drag Strip, Santa Barbra, or Marchbanks Speedway.

As a young engineer in Southern California Bob was involved with the aerospace program that landed on the moon. In the late-60s Bob rode a 350 air-cooled Bridgestone to set an AMA record at Bonneville going 147 mph. Just a few years later in 1973, Bob was back at Bonneville setting another land speed record riding a Can-Am 125cc two-stroke to 138 mph (a record that stood for 35 plus years).

Can-Am advert Rotate
Bob moved on to Can-Am’s design team in the ’70s and later in 1978 he was named the Can-Am MX race-team manager.

Bob moved to Quebec after Can-Am’s vice president, hired him to head up the design team that built the 500cc two stroke street bike, until uncertain emission regulations forced the cancellation of a brilliant design. In 1978 Bob was the Can-Am MX race-team manager and he convinced his boss to let him establish (and choose the location of) a remote Can-Am workshop where motocross testing would not be inhibited by the cold winters of Quebec. Bob did just that in Gainesville, Florida, because of its warm weather and close proximity to Gatorback motocross track. Bob oversaw the Can-Am test riders and the development of parts until the end of the Can-Am motorcycle program.

Bob and his wife Marrie opened an engineering company “RC Barker Engineering.” Bob was a master machinist and specialized in tricky vintage motorcycle jobs, the company also produced machine parts for the state of Florida. In 1988 tragedy struck when Bob and Marrie’s son Alan, was killed in a motorcycle accident. The love of racing vintage motorcycles led Bob to be one of the founding members of AHRMA. Bob was “the guy” for anything and everything to do with Dunlop vintage race tires. He was also known for being a Manx Norton and Ducati 125 guru; an amazing problem solver and mentor.

Bob Barker died in his sleep from COPD on May 25, 2015.

You May Also Like

MIC Members Now Have the Power of Data

New interactive dashboards and historical sales data files are now available on the Motorcycle Industry Council’s website.

Motorcycle Industry Council

Members of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) now have access to powerful new dashboards on www.mic.org. Four dashboards enable visualization of the S&P Global Mobility annual dataset and include:

Powersports Vehicles-In-Operation Overview

Powersports Vehicles-In-Operation Segment Analysis

Powersports Vehicles-In-Operation Model Registration Trends

Honda Announces National Technician Contest

Top qualifiers from Honda’s online technician test will travel to Alpharetta, Georgia, for the National Final.

honda-technician-contest
OTR Hires Global Vice President of Sales and Marketing OEM

OTR Engineered Solutions appointed Ben Brown to grow the company’s OEM business globally.

ben-brown
Peugeot Motorcycles Italia Sentenced to Pay Piaggio Group in Patent Infringement Case

Piaggio continues its fight to protect its products against counterfeiting.

piaggio-peugot
Triumph Motorcycle Dealers Rank 1st for Easy Appointments

Across the powersports industry, one in seven powersports customers failed in an attempt to schedule service.

powersports-ste-trophy

Other Posts

RumbleOn Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

Tiffany Kice brings over 25 years of experience in financial leadership roles for public and private companies.

tiffany-kice-rumbleon
Yuasa Battery Inc. Announces New President, CEO

Rio Okubo, with over 25 years in the battery industry, takes over as the new president and CEO.

yuasa-president
AMA Pro Racing Announces AFT AdventureTrackers Regulations

Adventure bikes are supremely versatile machines, so these rules have been constructed to showcase the inherent capabilities of the bikes when piloted by professionals.

AFT racer
NPA Dallas Hires New Operations Manager

Aaron Greenhaw brings nearly 10 years of experience with NPA and a deep knowledge of the powersports industry.

aaron-greenhaw-npa