Easy Rider - January 1985
As featured in Easyriders Issue# 139
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."
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."