California based Exile Cycles is synonymous with tough and minimalist industrial styling. And its founder, Englishman Russell Mitchell, with his full-body tattoo and mohawk (blonde most of the time) is one of the most recognizable Custom Builders of our industry. Backstage, learn a little bit more about the man who continues to preach against over-chromed and over-painted motorcycles (photography copyright Christian Holzknecht)
Cyril. In High School, what your teachers said about you? Russell. That I wasn’t smart enough to become a veterinarian. So I did.
Cyril. Who were your childhood heroes? Russell. Evel Knievel, Tony Alva and Marc Bolan from T-rex.
Cyril. What was your 1st vehicle? Russell. Vespa 50cc scooter.
Cyril. If you were not working in the motorcycle industry, what would you do? Russell. I’d like to be an architect when I grow up.
Cyril. What is your favorite way to relax? Russell. Red wine and Vicodin.
Cyril. What are you afraid of? Russell. Outliving my son.
Cyril. Which film made you cry? Russell. Is this a trick question? The Boxer.
Cyril. Name five things you hate. Russell. Bigotry, olives, violence towards women, that spiderman bike, ignorance.
Cyril. What was the last book you read? Russell. Tale of two cities.
Cyril. Do you have any guilty pleasures? Russell. Cuppa tea.
Cyril. Do you collect anything? Russell. Not really.
Cyril. What was your worst buy? Russell. That crappy low temperature welding rod that’s supposed to work on thin metal plate.
Cyril. How do you take your coffee? Russell. Milk, no sugar.
Cyril. What was the most embarrassing thing you have ever made? Russell. A coffee mug at Elementary school that said “Mom” on it. We spell it “Mum” in England!
Cyril. What is the best thing you can cook? Russell. Spaghetti bolognese.
Cyril. When was the time you were really angry? Russell. Halfway through “Schindler’s List”
Cyril. What is your perfect weekend when you are at home? Russell. Poolside with my fiancée and son, and the afore-mentioned relaxants.
Cyril. What is your preferred rally? Russell. Gotta love Sturgis, although the Chianti Hills HOG Chapter Rally in Italy is pretty epic!
Cyril. What is the worst question a journalist asked you? Russell. “Which film made me cry?”