Russell Mitchell from England didn't wait for exile and bailed out beyond the seas willingly. Who knows if there was a reson to fear a deportation. Maybe he's made some mess, but he'll never confess. The only thing that is well aware, is he was to become a vet at homeland. No doubt, this is a noble profession, but he wanted something moe sublime...customizing, for example.
Russell left the foggy Gloucestershire and moved to California (yeah, rightful place for the strong with "rigorous climate" and "wild temperament") with tough mission yo show the locals what is real men's customizing. Being in England, Mitchell became a skilled hand at it. His works were even spotted on pages of English press. In 1980-s he started with customs based on 4-strokes of Kawasaki. Then it came to Sportster. And then Russell focused on America.
The history of Exile Cycles company started in Van Nuys, California, or, to be more specific, in the garage behind Mitchell's house. He and his chief mechanic and right hand Johny Goodson madly tinkered something there. The process was accompanied with noise and strong words until Nancy, Russell's wife at that time, kicked the poor bastards out. Pshaw! Exile more, exile less...
Few years later the company relocated in Sun Valley, the suburb near Los Angeles (to my mind, this city consists of suburbs). Big place! 10 minutes drive in one side - and you're in the middle wild nature of national park. 10 minutes in another - and you drink strong drinks in one of million bars in Hollywood. Nice place, but the name...Sun Valley...if there are completely incompatible things in the world, these are brutal machines by Exile Cycles and "Sun Valley Serenade", the Jazz-pop by Glenn Miller.
But let's get back to customizing and stop on Mitchell's ideologic platform. Because customizer without ideology is doomed to failure.
Russel claims that America was timming with tasteless custom-bikes, the building of which was a crime! That's it, no trial, no record. If you ask, what about fashion trends. Mitchell has fine and wise answer: "F…ck fashion!". Indeed, what does fashion have to do with is? The machine that Exile builds today are the very same they constructed 10 years ago, at dawn of its biography. Lokks like nothing will change even 10 years later. So, what are these eternal and out of fashion bikes? These are "boars" - dull, black, one-seater bikes with a kickstarter. Just hardcore, no bright tints and chrome!
You must be free swinging to present a remodelled scooter on custom bikes show. That was the beginning of American company Exile Cycles, which takesa pecial place in American market of custom motorbikes and choppers.
The young Mitchell dared to introduce his small scooter on British show of customized monster bikes. The organizators absolutely refused to enlist him and gave no permission to show his work. But his unique scoot caught a fancy of experienced bikers and they convinced the organizators to show Mitchell's model. Daring work of young customizer was accepted warmly. And the fact that unknown boy dared to fit into the environment, where scooters are not considered as motorcycles also gained respect. Mitchell continued customizing scooter and then - metric cruisers. In 1991 Russell moved to the USA, where he founded Exile Cycles company.
The feature of customized bikes by Exile Cycles is absence of glossy shine, glamour and pomposity, which have become an integral feature of all custom bikes for the last few years. Mitchell moved to the USA, but didn't changed his attitude, which formed when he was a child. He sticks to European ideology, in which functionality prevails over form.
On the market of custom motorcycles the Exile Cycles differs by giving prefference to simplicity, form and functionality. Mitchell is proud of creating motorbikes with huge draft. But at that time they're not going to weld many stuff, which have no sense. The company oofers practical motorcycles, which proudly demonstrate their specs, instead of cutting a wide swathe demonstrating various bells and whistles.
Mitchell started his business with making custom parts, but soon he began custom bikes manufacturing. Now Russell makes both, but is still loyal to his ideals. His bikes are diiferent from those bright customs dominating American market.
Except chopper productiom, Russell's company also produces special kit bikes, which are meant for those, who likes making something with his own hands. For example, the cost of ready-made Bulldozer is nearly 30 000$. But if you buy a kit bike, you'll pay for it approximately 20 000$. The difference is quite significant. And you'll enjoy even more, because this bike is made with your own hands.
Yeak, not many people like motorbikes produced by Exile. But there are also many people, who prefer purity of style, to which the company sticks. You can love them or hate, but you cannot but respect Exile Cycles for following its own style without chasing a shifty fashion.