I don’t know how a bike like Wes Kline’s purple and teal Harley Davidson Shovelhead could go unnoticed. The unusual color scheme alone really stands out among so many other bikes with their flat paints and aged patinas. Don’t get me wrong, I love an old crusty-looking chopper just as much as anyone else; but Wes’s bike, with it’s purple metallic/rainbow pearl powder coating over a teal frame and all of the multi-colored hand-poured epoxy resin pieces found throughout the build, is just plain fun to look at.
Finding out that Wes lived nearby, I jumped at the chance to go meet him and see the “CheMistress” in person. Wes was more than happy to fire up his Shovelhead in the freezing cold and ride over to a local abandoned building where we could pull it in, get out of the cold, and spend some time asking him a few questions about his build.
What is your name, how old are you and where do you call home?
My name is Wes Kline, I am 27 years old, and Emmaus, Pennsylvania has been home since day one.
How long have you been riding motorcycles?
I have been riding motorcycles since 2013 but come from the bicycling world, so I’ve really been enjoying two-wheeled freedom machines for a lifetime.
What (or who) got you into the motorcycle scene?
I have to credit my cycling friends with lighting my fire in the motorcycle realm. Through the years of racing, I came across more and more people that share the same passion for riding as I do, with and without a motor. Of course, my mother was terrified of the idea, so I didn’t tell her until after I started dabbling - ask for forgiveness, not permission!
What is the make, model and year of the bike you are riding (does it have a name?) And what do you love most about your bike?
I say she’s from 1977, but “The CheMistress” is quite a concoction of parts. As it sits now, it is an 88” Shovelhead motor with S&S internals inside 1977 Harley cases with an Andrews B-grind cam, and the trans is a close-ratio, 4-speed cowpie inside an STD case. Whoever did the rad engraving on the rocker boxes was trying to imitate the rare Robinson Thunderhead logo from the early 80s. I am running a Dyna 2000i ignition, an S&S Super E, 3” BDL open belt drive, and a slammed wide glide front end with billet trees. The wiring is simple and runs off a lithium-ion battery and low-voltage system. The bike is kick-only, geared way up for the highway, and has a foot clutch and jockey shift. A few of the notable homemade metal pieces are the skin-shredding kick pedal, clutch linkage, and seat base structure. Everything is as stainless as possible. I threw together the leather seat with materials from a local horse saddlery shop.
My favorite part of The CheMistress is probably the manifold vacuum-operated brake light. I split the vacuum line into two and ran one to an ignition VOES and ran the other to a second VOES that controls the brake light. When you close the throttle, the brake light comes on and when you open her up, it goes off - who needs brakes anyway?
Are you a one bike man or do you have a motorcycle “habit?” If you do have a habit, can you tell us about some of your other bikes?
The CheMistress isn’t the only girl I have around. I still have my first Harley, which is a 1989 Sportster that I did a bunch of work to. It is a 77” solid mount 4-speed that is opened up and absolutely rips. Also, last year I picked up a virtually-stock, beautiful 1980 FXEF last year, and it has been a solid rider in the fleet.
Back to your current bike. How long have you owned it?
I have owned the bike just about two years on the dot.
Did you do all of the work on the bike yourself or do you have any friends, shops or builders that you’d like to shout out and thank for their help?
My whole goal was to do as much work as I possibly could do with the tools and skills I had, but obviously there are some things from others that are simply unmatched in quality and mastery of craftsmanship. First off, I’d like to thank my dad, who was a blessing throughout the whole build and in getting the motor tight and right. Zach Hissim from Privateer Coating (@privateer_coating) did all the chemical-themed powder on the frame and tins. Bob Hauck of Hauck’s Metal Polishing (@alternative_chrome) made the aluminum look like absolute chrome. Fab Kevin (@fabkevin) came through with a stellar shift lever and linkage and Steffan from Zombie Performance (@zombieperformance) made a killer set of stainless bars. Finally, I’d like to thank Jake Keough (@highwayman_co) for the guidance and inspiration, turn-on to Shovelheads, and all things muscle-bike!
Can you let us in on any unique aspects of the build or any noteworthy circumstances surrounding the bike?
A unique aspect of the bike is certainly the epoxy resin work I’ve done in various areas. I started working with resin last year in hopes to make my own shift knob, and that opened up a whole new world of art to me as well. I utilized crystal-shaped molds to align with the witchy/chemical/potion theme of the bike. The points cover is a resin piece with witches flying around in it. Resin has been a great medium to work with and has provided an opportunity for me to expand my skills. If anyone would like custom work done for shift knobs, points covers, coasters, or jewelry, slide into my DMs @weskline.
What are some of the most memorable times you’ve had with this bike?So far, the bike has not seen any long trips yet. This past summer, a few friends and I hit up the Reading Motorcycle Club Anniversary Bash in Oley, PA and took a bunch of longer rides around the area that we live in.
What’s next? Do you have any future plans for the bike?
Summer 2020 is going to be THE summer. I plan on finishing up a taller sissy bar and a few touring provisions for her and am aiming to make a solo cross-country run in July.
Many thanks to Wes for coming out in the cold and letting me shoot a few pictures of the CheMistress. You can follow Wes and his future adventures on instagram at @weskline.
Story + Photos by Chris Lacour