Ottawa area motorcycle enthusiasts have probably shopped at Orleans-based Wheelsport at one time or another for modern-day motorcycle parts and accessories, but what they probably didn’t know is what lies upstairs is a vast array of unique and original vintage motorcycles.
Fred Kolman started Wheelsport in 1972 in small store off Montreal road in Ottawa. The company soon outgrew the original shop and moved into their larger, current location on Youville Drive in Orleans, just east of Ottawa. While Fred’s son, Jim, would eventually take over Wheelsport’s day-to-day operations, Fred remains an integral part of Wheelsport and is also an active member of the Ottawa section of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group.
An avid racer of numerous disciplines from dirt to ice, Fred retired from racing and running his shop to pursue his interests in collecting vintage motorcycles. The top floor of Wheelsport is home to 15-20 late model bikes, many of which are unique or original collectors items and all on display for public viewing.
Among some of the more popular models on display, the Kolman Collection features a rare 1954 Ariel Square Four, 1957 BMW motorcycle purchased from the original owner, a 1952 Schwinn Whizzer and Fred’s original championship winning 1970 Bultaco 250 ice racer which he built himself with parts sourced from North America and Europe.
Fred acquires a number of his prized motorcycles through word of mouth or personal contacts made while attending various vintage motorcycle events around the province. Some of them are simply rare ‘barn finds’ that the Kolman’s salvage to put on display in their original condition for everyone to enjoy.
In addition to their Youville Drive museum at Wheelsport, Fred and his son Jim also own a large, two story warehouse that, according to Fred is “just full of old bikes”.
The video above, produced by Inside Motorcycles, provides just a quick look into the Kolman Vintage Collection. The collection is open to the public and best seen in person at Wheelsport at 1390 Youville Drive in Orleans. You never know, you might just find Fred in the store and he would be more than happy to give you a tour.