Russ Wernimont is no stranger to creating works of art out of ordinary pieces of sheetmetal. He practically grew up doing it. Russ got his start in the early '80s when he moved from Toledo, Ohio, out to California and got a job working for the Toyota Off-Road factory team. At the time Don Vesco was doing off-road motors and asked him to do some stuff for bikes. He then got introduced to Stan Fox and eventually Tom Motzko from Drag Specialties. So it was a pretty natural transition for him into the motorcycle world.
Russ is still pretty involved in the off-road racing world. He is a master craftsman who has been creating off-road trucks for the last 30 years. In fact, Russ' trucks were so fast that off-road organizations had to come up with a new class, Trophy Trucks. He is also a racer himself, most recently Dirt Late Model cars.
Russ added his saddlebags, filler panel, and also his bag lids. Notice the symmetry of Wernimont's taillamp, and turn signals in the bags. Nice touch!
Russ added his saddlebags, filler panel, and also his bag lids. Notice the symmetry of Wer
The stretched RWD tank and dash are a cut above the stock setup.
Russ has always been into customizing baggers because he enjoys taking something that starts out pretty straightforward as far as design is concerned, and turning it into something that oozes cool. He also believes baggers have more appeal to the masses, and they seem to have more appeal to the hot-rod guys that Russ knows. He also thinks it's neat that you can have a comfortable bike that is also a cool bike. However, Russ was pretty embarrassed the first time he bought one back in 2004. He actually had one of the guys that works for him ride it back to the shop from the dealership and then Russ tore off everything he didn't like, replacing it with his own handmade parts.
She's got legs! Russ designed these axle covers to add a little chrome pizzazz.
This past year Russ needed an '09 H-D to practice his craft and show off his latest designs for bolt-on kits, so he went down to Bartels' Harley-Davidson and ended up trading his Dirt Late Model racer for this '09 Road Glide.
So Russ got to work on this bike as kind of a showcase of what he can do. His philosophy has been that anyone can customize their bike, and that baggers are cool. He doesn't do anything too wild with his kits, and believes that is the best part: the simplicity.
Russ began by calling up his buddy Wendell Smith over at Rampage Wheels to get some custom wheels and matching rotors. Russ likes to use Rampage Wheels because he believes the company makes great wheels that go perfectly with his creations. He then threw on some calipers from Hawg Halters.
Next, Russ replaced the front fender and gas tank and cap with his own pieces. He wanted something that would flow a bit better and lend more of a hot-rod feel to the bike. He left the fairing stock but added a Klock Werks windshield, and replaced the saddlebags and lids with his own design. He also made a seat for it and put his own taillight and license mount and fender extension and filler panels to the stock Harley-Davidson fender. After he had everything perfect he took it all apart and sent it over to Hot Rods-n-Hogs for the paint and graphics.
Russ and Wendell have toured the bike all over the country, displaying it at all the major rallies. It has definitely sparked some interest and most importantly motivated people to pick up one of Russ' bolt-on kits and do for themselves what they thought was impossible-put together their very own custom bike in the privacy of their own garage, with just a few tools and a bunch of nuts and bolts!