In February 2022, the guys from Bikes and Beards brought what they thought was a Harley-Davidson WLA motor to Matt Walksler of Wheels Through Time. As the story goes, they’d found an entirely decommissioned WLA that had sat unmanned for decades, then brought it home (after gluing new tires on it). Once there, they knew it required a lot of attention to detail, and they weren’t quite sure what they were looking at, so they decided to bring the important stuff to someone more knowledgeable than ‘them.
Walksler and WTT are the kind of experts who give you peace of mind knowing your precious baby is in good hands. After learning that the suspected WLA engine did, in fact, have all sorts of rare and valuable WLDR racing parts (specifically those cylinder heads), the guys at Bikes & Beards made the extremely smart choice to leave it in Walksler’s hands. for a complete rebuild.
If you’ve been waiting to see what this reconstruction would look like, this video is absolutely for you. It’s just over 40 minutes, but not a second is wasted as Matt Walksler walks us through and shows us exactly how each piece fits together. Anything that is reused has already been fully cleaned. The bores have been refined (with nice cross-hatching) and all the parts have been neatly laid out on the workbench to make assembly as stress-free as possible.
First, the bottom end assembles quite easily, with those magic cams securely in place. Then it’s time for the high end, with Matt talking to you every step of the way. While some things might sound familiar if you’ve worked inside an engine before, there are of course plenty of quirks specific to this engine – and that’s where Matt and all his years of knowledge come in. .
Where items needed to be replaced, Matt had or sourced new stock items to keep the bike as true to its original form as possible, except of course for that spare rubber ducky float for the Linkert carburettor which is apparently just one of those updates you to have To do. All in all, if you’re the type of person who enjoys watching a mechanical artist create, then you’ll definitely want to watch this video.