Visiting Wunderlich America

We’re used to visiting motorcycle shops. We’re used to visiting motorcycle dealerships.

We’re not so used to visiting the companies making the things we add to our motorcycles to personalize or customize them, or to make them more comfortable.

The next time you’re in or near Asheville, North Carolina, carve out half a day to ride down to nearby Hendersonville and visit the Wunderlich America showroom. You’ll be glad you did.  Not only can you get a tour of their three-business operation (WA, Boxer2Valve and Plam Werks, their motorcycle customization/fabrication arm), but if you think ahead, you can buy anything they have in stock and get it installed while you wait!

This is only half of the warehouse! I stood on a mezzanine over the other half to take this photo. The maroon R 80 in the middle is the owner’s personal bike. Owner/President Bill Plam says his favorite modern BMW is the F 900 XR. The white bike on the right was customized by Plam Werks.

The sheer number of parts they keep in stock for Wunderlich America and Boxer2Valve customers is mind-boggling – and that list includes every cable needed for any BMW motorcycle built since 1947!

A better shot of Bill’s R 80.
The shipping department takes up a good bit of floor space, but they ship out dozens of packages a day.

Monitoring the parts inventory for Wunderlich America and Boxer2Valve is aided by a robust computer system and the logistical skills of several employees. They ship boxes all over the country, using all the various package services available. Further, they’re able to take advantage of their proximity to BMW’s largest facility in the world just 60 miles away. The entire region manages freight to Greer, South Carolina, and the US and interstate highways in the region are able to handle a significant amount of truck traffic.

The entire building is a museum of sorts, with motorcycles on display. Note the R 65 LS tucked away here! You can listen to my two-part interview with Hans Muth, who designed the LS, on the Chasing the Horizon website.

Off to the side of the warehouse filled with rows of parts and accessories is Plam Werks, a three-lift operation producing about 10 custom BMWs a year. Edward Plam and Matt Hickson do the heavy lifting here, taking time away from their builds when needed to do installs of Wunderlich items on customers’ bikes.

Custom builds in progress on two of the three lifts in the Plam Werks shop.

Two things in the shop area caught my attention and roused ugly feelings of jealousy. Just getting to see the wall of special tools was a spiritual experience.

I’ve seen other examples of this storage wall of special tools for airhead BMWs in other places, but I have never seen one this close to complete! Some of these tools haven’t been available for decades!
Edward meticulously restored this rescued Bridgeport machine (on the right) to expand what Plam Werks is able to accomplish. They use the vapor blaster on the left to clean just about anything you can imagine – including crankshafts.

Expect an upcoming episode of 200 Miles Before Breakfast featuring Edward to talk more about what Plam Werks does. There will also be a feature-length article in an upcoming issue of BMW Owners News detailing more about WA, B2V and PW.

Bill (left) and Edward Plam – and no, the Plam Werks overalls are not for sale … but the blue overalls Bill wears in the Boxer2Valve videos are!

Wunderlich America stocks nearly the entire Wunderlich catalog, which means you can get accessories for pretty much any modern BMW motorcycle – 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 cylinders! From tanks bags and hard cases to windshields and seats and much, much more, if there’s something you need, Wunderlich America probably has it – and if they don’t, be patient. They might be working on it! Same goes for your 1947-93 BMW motorcycle – Boxer2Valve has you sorted.

Stop by for a visit soon and check out what they have to offer. If you ask nice, Bill might even give you a tour of the warehouse! Be sure to bring your debit card, though; as I learned, it’s hard to visit the showroom without buying something. (In my case, it was an Aktivkomfort tall seat – and it is fantastic. Review coming soon!)

2017 R 1200 GS kitted out with nearly everything Wunderlich makes for the big boxer. It has side cases to match the top box, they’re just not on the bike right now.