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His own workshop where he could develop all his building ideas. For a long time, 35-year-old Wido Veldkamp dreamed of this, but now he can dream a lot further. Now he has set himself another goal; become the Dutch equivalent of Roland Sands.
The WiMoto business premises do not immediately reveal that there is a handy guy here who makes beautiful customs. Inside you will not find a trendy Chesterfield sofa or fancy carpets, the usual items from trendy custom shops. None of this. No, the working environment of Wido Veldkamp is sleek and above all functional. Workbenches on wheels, versatile machines in the corners and a dedicated storage area on the first floor. Plus, an office where he can work with 3D drawings.
More about that later, first discover who Wido Veldkamp really is. A somewhat yellowed photo in his canteen reveals that the transfer of the love for motorcycles took place at an early age. "It's nice that you can just see my mother's hand on the saddle", Wido laughs. "She also had to stop me, because I was only three months old there. Then, of course, a picture had to be taken on the Laverda 750 SF2, the pride of my father. He bought it in 1974. "
Although a motorcycling father is no direct guarantee that his son will also develop a passion for motorcycles, it happened with Wido. During his high school years, he also developed an interest in the technology of powered two-wheelers. "My father had not ridden his Laverda for a long time, which was in parts in the attic. After thirteen years, he thought it was time to rebuild it and I helped him with that.
"During the same period, Wido is also busy keeping his scooter, an Italjet Formula 50, running. "Man, what a disaster. Everything that could break actually broke on that scooter. As a poor student, of course, I had no money to have it repaired, so I did everything myself. I had no knowledge of it at all, but luckily my father used to tinker with mopeds as well. So that helped me a lot."
Because Wido knows how to restore his own scooter, he can sell the Italjet for a good amount. That makes him think. He starts to buy scooters and, after a good refurbishment, he sells them again. "That was actually my part-time job. Slowly, I started customizing those scooters with aftermarket parts, but that got boring at a certain point. So I started messing around with my father's welding machine. '' Wido eventually manages to assemble a minibike and notices that he likes to make the necessary parts himself. It is therefore not surprising that after high school he chooses a course where he can carry out this type of work. "I first started looking at mechanical engineering, but I thought it was too theoretical. The problem was that almost all university studies are like this, but I wanted to get started with my hands. Fortunately, this was possible with the industrial design course at TU Delft.
There they had a gigantic workshop where you could make your own prototypes. "Unsurprisingly, at university, Wido ends up with the NovaBike project. "You helped develop a racing bike and even got credits for it. So I didn't have to think about it for very long to participate." The student gains a lot of experience during the project. He develops and draws various parts with SolidWorks, a 3D CAD program. "Two worlds came together at NovaBike. I could enjoy building in the workshop, but also work out my ideas on the computer. In my opinion, that was the most ideal situation I could find myself in."
After his studies, Wido Veldkamp takes the plunge and registers with the Chamber of Commerce. WiMoto was born, but the start was certainly not easy. "I still lived in student rooms in Delft, so I had no space to work there at all. Besides, nobody knows you, so I didn't have a lot of work through my own company. In order to generate the necessary income, I ended up with an off-shore construction company. There I learned a lot about SolidWorks. "In the meantime, Wido continues to build his dream, his own workshop. In the end, he actually managed to get hold of a commercial property, in Elst, Gelderland. "Of course, I was very happy with that, but the travel distances were a problem. I lived in Delft with my girlfriend, worked in Woerden and therefore had my workshop in the east of the country. " Wido therefore decides to look for work in the vicinity of Elst. He soon finds a similar job in Arnhem. "That was a relief, but I still couldn't fully focus my attention on WiMoto.
I had financial security from that full-time job, so I really didn't have to worry about anything. Only it kept gnawing that I could spend much less time chasing my dream because of this. WiMoto started to run better and better, which also increased the pressure. That way I couldn't keep it up for very long. " When Wido's girlfriend Frederieke finishes her studies, the next step in his adventure with WiMoto follows. "She soon found work in Nijmegen and, with that certainty, we dared to focus entirely on WiMoto. That was, of course, exciting, because now I had to generate the necessary income. If that didn't work out, the dream would be over right away. "
The first six months turned out to be quite difficult, but in the end, one phone call changed the entire future of his company. "It occurred to me that I might be able to do something for a webshop that sells specific parts for café racers. That is why I called the owner and it turned out to be a good click. He saw a market in subframes for specific models and so I developed one for a BMW R80, a bike that is often used for custom projects." The part appeared to be in demand right away, because after a week the first five subframes had already been sold. "It turned out to be a gap in the market and from that moment on it really exploded," Wido says. "I now make subframes for about fourteen different models."
The source of income through the production of subframes ensures that Wido Veldkamp can also regularly focus on special construction projects. It's the way he can show his true talent. "There are few custom builders in the Netherlands who can make parts themselves. Because of my industrial design training and the experience with SolidWorks, I show what is possible via the computer. If customers can actually see some sort of end result, it often wins them over. " The WiMoto built bikes (see boxes) were well received by the public, as evidenced by the praising comments on renowned websites about custom bikes. Wido therefore envisions a future in which he increasingly focuses on offering certain parts which he then shows on self-build motorcycles. "My great example in that area is Roland Sands, a well-known American custom builder. I would like to adopt his method.
Together with his team, he makes very cool bikes and they have the most beautiful stuff on them. He then sells it again. I think that is a great way of working and that is also the direction I would like to take. "
The owner of this Suzuki could not figure it out himself and enlisted the help of Wido Veldkamp. The result is stunning. As always, SolidWorks was used first to have an idea of the end result. With the approval of the owner, WiMoto went to work with this GS 550. Not only did the complete look change, but also the geometry was overhauled. As a result, it has become a sharply steering motorcycle that has also lost a significant amount of weight. This Suzuki weighs only 160 kilos. And just how WiMoto usually likes to work, everything is taken care of down to the last detail.
One of Wido's latest projects is this incredible CBX 1000. Of course, the bike already stands out because of the legendary six-cylinder block, but some extras have been added. The owner of the bike wanted a single-sided suspension for both the front and rear wheels.
That was, of course, a nice challenge for the man behind WiMoto. In SolidWorks he looked for the right geometry and that is how he came up with the idea of making a girder front fork. It was also possible to achieve a single-sided suspension at the front in this manner. Wido thus delivered a very unique CBX.
Once upon a time, this was a Ducati 900SS, but that’s no longer recognizable in this caféracer known as “Wheel of Fortune”. Actually, you only recognize the engine clearly, with the rest of the motorcycle being a brainchild of WiMotor and the owner.
The original frame has been completely modified. On the rear side, you will find a self-made swingarm. Also, the stereo shock absorbers make for a completely different look. The hidden exhaust in the butt of the motorcycle is, of course, a nice touch. This bike has not only a beautiful look, the steering qualities have also been significantly improved. WiMoto managed this by using a different geometry, as well as losing a few necessary kilograms. As a result, caféracer weighs only 149,5 kg.