Harley-Davidson Cross Bones Reengineered By Exile Cycles

With the complicity of photographer Steve Kelly, I release a sneak preview of the latest project of Russell Mitchell at Exile Cycles. As a matter of fact these photos were actually shot within hours of the bike being finished earlier this week while Russell was road testing his new creation. Contrary to what you may think at first glance, the re-engineering work accomplished on this custom born as a 09 Harley Cross Bones is much heavier than what meets your eyes. Built at the request of Johannesburg Harley-Davidson, South Africa, already owner of 2 Exile custom bikes, this project received some serious TLC. Let me explain…

First, as you can expect, the Cross Bones is adorned with a lot of Exile Cycles parts, used as is or modified specifically for this project. From their catalog, Exile’s tall and fat bars (1.25”) with internal wiring, internal throttle and left side rubber handgrip modified to accept Exile’s hidden switch system for a clutter free appearance. Exile Evo foot controls fitted to the Twin Cam frame via adapter plates. Illumination is taken care of by a single, Dutch manufactured SJP headlight that Exile distributes in the US; while the tail section uses as taillight 2 super bright Lazerstar Micro-B LED lights. And many other Exile hard parts…

In the category of what was re-engineered, the gas tank is much more than a stamped Exile gas tank with modified mounts to fit the stock Harley frame. It incorporates a fuel pump and to make the modern Twin Cam runs smoothly due to all intended modifications, a complete Zippers auto-tuning fuel management system is the chosen simple and efficient solution. Although Russell Mitchell would have preferred to use a 200 mm rear tire, client insisted on size 230 mm on a 15 x 7 wheel, forcing the crew to modify the rear Exile Trojan fender for a perfect wrap around the rubber, and to space out the primary system for extra clearance. Springer front-end was shortened 1.5″ with springs re-engineered for a suspension setup able to accept the Monster Exile 15×5 front wheel dressed with a 200 mm white-wall tire. In addition to the flamed paint job and red rims, the leaf-spring suspended LePera solo seat and wrapped Exile Hot Rod pipes complete this Cross Bones hot-rod look. More details soon at Exile Cycles Website.

35 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Cross Bones Reengineered By Exile Cycles”

  1. 1 TK May 5th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    looks like less is a lot more. always great work

  2. 2 Eric Maurer May 5th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have said it many time before….. and all the fashion bikers hate on me when I say this…. but Softails are the next big thing! Rigids are cool, the club bike scene is a quickly passing fad, baggers suck and yes kids… chopped Softails are the next BIG thing.

    Even moreso, Evo based Softails becuase they can be picked up for soo cheap, are bulletproof and you throw in a cam, gear it short and you have a helluva a bar hopper

    This is what you can do with a 92 Fatboy and a little imagination (frame is stock): http://www.flickr.com/photos/20681045@N00/5690336681/

  3. 3 Tom S. May 5th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Really enjoy Russell’s work.

  4. 4 Donnie May 5th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Like it but Russell should renew his paint jobs.

  5. 5 HDRYDER May 5th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    @ Eric, that is a nice Fatboy, if you can call it that, as you have changed a ton of stuff.

  6. 6 golfish May 5th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I still say that the Pure Sex bike is the nicest bike every built. I like everything on the HD except the red.

    We have been to Exilecycle a couple times, great bunch of guys and they treat you like Presidents (I was going to say Kings)..

    I’m glad to see Exile is doing well.

  7. 7 Eric Maurer May 5th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    HDRYDER….. thanks!
    yes, I have changed a ton of stuff, but it is still a stock frame and everything else is bolt on (except 2 gas tank bungs and welded rear fender). I have verry littlle money into this bike…. lots of used parts, parts found on forums or stolen from buddies 🙂

  8. 8 golfish May 5th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    oh yeah, the oil tank is a little “bowling ballish” not liking the right side of it.

    Eric Maurer, I’m with HDRYDER…very nice HD, sir.

  9. 9 Eric Maurer May 5th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    hey Cyril… I love the title of this feature … reengineered
    in a decase of ground up customs with all aftermarket parts, I am glad to see builder embracing repurposing of existing motorcycles. Its how we all have done if for decades and only in the past 10 years has there been a huge influx of ground up builds.

    I have owned and customized a ton of bikes, and only 2 were ground up customs but both started as factory bikes before ditching everything but motor and trans….. so even then, I guess they were recycled as well.

    Reengineered, recycled, repurposed or just plain ol customizing…. I am glad to see this getting some airplay. Someone once said a quote that I have since stolen and claimed as my own…..
    “everything that enters my garage dreams of being something else”. or something like that.


  10. 10 CurtizH May 5th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Russell nails it again! Great piece of work.

  11. 11 jatinder pal May 5th, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    What stock stuff is left, not much.Front-end,bars,head light,gas tank,oil tank,rear fender,wheels,pipes…….lot of work and lot of money spent.

    Isn’t ground up custom will be more practical?

    Good work though Russel.

  12. 12 luSca May 6th, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Nice work!

  13. 13 luSca May 6th, 2011 at 4:46 am

    nice work! I like the exile style (exept the last “on-off”)

  14. 14 Mike Greenwald May 6th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Jatinder Pal,

    “Isn’t ground up custom will be more practical?”

    There seems to be a very real value to maintaining a HD MoCo frame and serial number. As I recall, there has always been an advantage to the proof of valuation and provenance of motor vehicles by retaining these numbers.


  15. 15 Boss Hawg May 6th, 2011 at 6:39 am

    It’s nice to somebody if it is a one off, but way over done. Red & white….looks like da hood.

    HHI Sprotor, Monster Exile 15×5 wheel??? how about Black Bike 15″ laced wheels! Just what does he make ? Russel is a great guy, but you figure it out.

    I’m all for Eric’s ride though.

    Boss Hawg

  16. 16 Q-Ball May 6th, 2011 at 6:44 am

    I like it.

  17. 17 Heavy Metal May 6th, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I like Russell’s stuff but I’m done with wide whites and red rims after the second guy used them. Nice job on yours Evo builder, I watched your build on the horse board. Mid nineties softail is the best buy on the market .

  18. 18 Hondo Cat May 6th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Exile Cycles creations have always touched the industrial side of my sensibilities. Russell’s Hard Parts for Softails are a great way to go to get that industrial look for your Softail. This rendition of a Cross Bones is my favorite of the Softails he has transformed thus far. I personally prefer 200mm rear and 150mm front tires and wide handlebars instead of the apes for the Cross Bones.

    Also, just totaling up the part prices looking through Russell’s catalog, it is apparent it’s not inexpensive to make such modifications and those are just the bolt on parts. Certainly, not under 35K. However, if I had 35K just sitting around looking to be spent, this particular bike would be the one that touches my heart the most. Eliminating the wide whitewall tires and going with a 200mm rear and 150mm front, keeping the stock gas tank, oil tank, and rear fender would eliminate some of the cost. Love those pipes.

    Great job Russell!

  19. 19 TodT May 6th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Huge fan of Russell and the guys at Exile. Fat,black,industrial look…..

  20. 20 luSca May 6th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    for Boss Hawg:
    It isn’t an on off,
    I said that I like exile works, but I don’t like the on off model, this one: http://www.exilecycles.com/index.php?section=163


  21. 21 1550tc May 6th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Guys at hd should be happy maybe now a few more of these dog bones will get off dealers sloors

    worst wanna bee poser HD has built in decades

  22. 22 live2rideaglide May 6th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    You can spot Russell’s work from another planet. Always fat and beefy but no overkill. Flat colors. Hey Russ ,you made this crossbones , bad to the bone . The red wheels and the wallies are right on , classic without them it would look like so many other bobs , especially factory bobs. Just add grease stained Levi’s , engineer boots and a rolled up T ( I realize many out there have no idea what I am talkng about , unless you was a teen in the fifties ). and you got mid summer night cruising perfection. Awesome build .

  23. 23 Big May 6th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I’d like to see it without the wide whites and red rims.

  24. 24 leston May 6th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    i see the oversized front wheel abot like i see a 280 rear wheel, why?

  25. 25 BDR May 6th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    It looks like that new Victory.

  26. 26 Tom Keller (thug custom cycles) May 7th, 2011 at 9:25 am

    ours looks better…. its all over the hd forms thug bones.

  27. 27 Tim Hanlon May 7th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Well now…… that works!

  28. 28 Zipper May 7th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Nice Rock. ..Z

  29. 29 Boss Hawg May 7th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    @ Tom Keller….Tat red head will give us a bikers a chubby. Can see why she garnered so many photos…wink wink.

    Bikes look great, too.

    Boss Hawg

  30. 30 Raylene Curtin May 9th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Hey guys, the seat is different but the suspension looks like what my old man rides on his hardtail. Way cool. I can’t wait to see other bikes sporting this as is a softer ride. Since my other half is “Old School” and his is ’50 pan it beat the crap out of him. When he got this new seat with suspension he felt so much better on longer and longer rides. He got his seat and suspension from tm customseats. Russel has a great idea about running this specific leaf spring suspension. Have a good ride friends. RayRay

  31. 31 Hotrod May 9th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    C’mon, it looks exactly like every other bike Russel Mitchell has built for the last 10 years. Time to get at least a new paint design.

  32. 32 Raylene Curtin May 10th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    but you have to say one thing that leaf spring seat is bad too the bone .

  33. 33 bad co. May 10th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    this bicke is bad ass . i like it . bobbers are in . Exile dose it right. love it. i like the seat on this bike leafsprings. are in and comming back as the way to go. i like the T. M. coustom seat with the leafespring on this biuld. good job. you have done it agin. over the top out side the boxs. Bad Co.

  34. 34 78lowrider Jun 9th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Check out what Doug Keim can do with a Crossbones.
    Cosmic Racer and Americana………….

  35. 35 Blowrider Sep 29th, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Sorry, but I do not find that this bike is better looking than the factory one!
    I have the 09 model and all it really needed was new pipes etc. All the rest is great as is!

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Cyril Huze