In 1988, Ron Wilkerson was the points leader in the American Freestyle Association (AFA) pro ramps class. Halfway through his run, he crashed while performing his trademark trick — a no-footed, no-handed ‘Nothing Air’. It was a disastrous accident which left Ron in a two-week coma, but it motivated him to leave his lucrative Haro sponsorship deal and realize his dream of starting his own BMX business: Wilkerson Airlines.
The Riot was the first Wilkerson Airlines model and its arrival heralded the next era of BMX freestyle frames: burly, reinforced frames with bash guards, 990 mounts and a focus on all-American construction. Ron’s dedication to quality over quantity generated a brand loyalty that carried Wilkerson Airlines through the 90s, a period where the BMX flame was kept kindled only by the truly passionate. Meanwhile, while WAL was being established, Ron was putting on events under the banner of 2hip.
With a logo created by graphic design luminary, David Carson, 2hip and WAL were eventually merged, where Ron continues to contribute to the BMX fraternity. Nowadays, the Riot frame is very collectable, especially one in a condition such as this. It belongs to the collection of Jonathon Sherwood who built it up as he would have done, had he the pleasure of owning it in 1989, when it was released. The build list is flawless, from the long-legged forks, original bash guard and San Quentin handlebars.
Massive thanks to Jonathon Sherwood for the photographs — see more on his BMXmuseum page.