Walkem's Cycle
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Easy Rider - January 1985
Trial Run
As featured in Easyriders Issue# 139

Some dudes build their bike for show and don't dare ride 'em till after the trophies are awarded. This bro figures just the opposite.

Wymond Walkem is a bike builder. Spell that builder with a capital "B" - as in, not a bike "assembler". Wymond believes that there is more to creating a good ride than ordering a bunch of custom parts from suppliers and using wrenches and a torch to put them together. What Wymond most likes to do is figure out ways to make stock Harley parts do things the folks back in Milwaukee never dreamed of. Then, after he's perfected some righteous bit of gear, he incorporates it into the bikes he builds for his bros.

"I don't like to put anything into a bike I build for someone else until I know it works," Wymond says.

"That's why I took this bike on a 10,000 mile run right after I got done building it. It's got a couple of new systems I'd like to start using, but I had to make sure they would motor down the road without any problems."

Among the trick bits Wymond developed for this ride are an electronic ignition system, combining the bottom of a '65 early style H-D distributor with late-model factory electronics, and a hydraulic clutch setup using parts from late-model Big Twins.

"I wanted to be able to get the new Harley ignition parts to work on this bike so I could finally disprove that old saying about Sporties - you know, "Every time you go for a long ride on a Sporty, you get home with your generator light on." As far as the hydraulic clutch goes, some bros won't want it 'cause you lose the kick starter, but not that many people want to kick-start an 86-in Sportster anyway."

To test his latest creation, Wymond took off on a six-week, 10,000 mile rumble from his Ontario home to the New Orleans World's Fair, returning via Texas, Las Vegas, L.A., and Oregon. "The bike worked great," he says. "Really, the only problem I had with it happened a few days before I left when I got loaded and road it through a barbed wire fence. The bike was really devastated; the tank and front end were bent, the linkages were all screwed up, and the exhaust system was knocked clean off.

"I wasn't in such hot shape myself, but a bunch of friends pitched in and we got everything back to perfect in a few days. Everything except the pipes. Those had been my pride and joy. I'd designed and built 'em myself, and had sent them back to the chrome shop four times to get 'em 110 percent right without a single high spot or bubble. There was no time to get 'em rechromed and still take off when I had to, so I cried a little bit, picked up a can of black spray and let 'em have it.

"What I'm gonna do now is repaint the bike into something a little wilder and get it ready to enter in the spring bike shows. I know a lot of people would say I'm crazy to have ridden something I intended to be a show bike on a cross-country trip before putting it on display, but I believe a bike shouldn't be entered in a contest until it's been proven on the road."

- Butcher

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