Russell Mitchell and his Exile crew first met the Rockstar Energy Drink guys during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, back in 2005. They immediately hit it off, and enjoyed a combined weeklong reign of terror in the notoriously raucous, Full Throttle Saloon. (A.K.A, The World’s Largest Biker Bar). Russell renamed Rockstar’s main protagonists Craig and Jordan, as ‘’Bill and Ted.’’
Names that, if you ever get to meet them, you will instantly understand! Russell also became friends with another of Rockstar’s key-players; Kelso, a man who was to later kindly facilitate Exile’s involvement in some very exclusive Hollywood parties at the Rockstar mansion, and also supplied them with a hospitality box, at the aptly named, extreme action sports, ‘X’ games. It soon became clear that Exile and Rockstar had very similar company sensibilities, and it seemed only logical for Rockstar to get behind Exile with a sponsorship deal. A deal was hatched that entailed Exile developing the definitive “Rockstar Bike.’’ That is how this beautiful satin black beast came to be created.
The first step of the project was for Russell to put together an artists rendition that encapsulated his idea of the ultimate Rockstar machine. Once this was complete, he sent the artwork to Rockstar’s Corporate Management for their input. Now, as I’m sure you can imagine, Corporate Management types take their own sweet time making up their minds. Months and months passed causing Russell untold anxiety and stress. As the suits, really were taking forever, Russell just went ahead and built the bike the way he wanted it to look. The reality of the situation is that, Rockstar have been given a unique custom bike that is pretty much exactly what Russell told them to have. That seems to be a recurring theme from Exile!
The Rockstar bike has been given a long and low stance to make it look like it’s doing 100mph standing still. A wise choice I think, after all, it will be spending a lot of time on static displays during major American bike events. Russell took his ‘it must-be-painted black’ mantra to the extreme, with extensive use of satin black powder coating throughout. He even had a revolutionary high-tech black coating applied to the fork tubes, just so that he could black them out also!
Only the stainless steel hardware that holds the motorcycle together was spared a coat of the dark stuff. Of course, Russell gave his chosen painter, Buck Wild Design, enough artistic freedom to work in the satin gold racing stripe, and the repeating, but oh so subtle, Rockstar logo that graces the bike. The finished package ensured that Rockstar’s new promotional tool had perfect lines and proportions, coupled with complete simplicity. Russell has employed all of the tricks that have become synonymous with Exile over the past decade to keep clutter to a sanitary bare minimum.
For example, the bike features Exile’s sprocket brake, to keep the rear wheel clean, and uses Exile’s internal throttle, twist clutch kit and integrated brakes so that the bars are left clutter free and understated. Pure class. It is touches like this that show Russell’s relentless passion for motorcycles in general, and clinically clean choppers in particular.
Matching the bike’s striking presence with performance was easy; Russell elected to use the incredible power that comes from a JIMS 131” Twin-Cam style V-twin motor. This engine comes with Evolution style lower mounts, and has been mated to a super smooth shifting JIMS 6-speed transmission.
The 130bhp out-of-the-box lump boasts 135 ft/lbs of torque and comes with a full one-year warranty. As the trannie was built with large capacity engines in mind, there are no worries there either. JIMS recently celebrated their 40th anniversary of making performance-enhancing parts for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It is rumoured that even the ‘Factory’ themselves have called upon JIMS for technical assistance and R&D work.
Check out the word ROCKSTAR that has been machined into the heads, and the logos inserted in the ignition and clutch covers, and you will start to understand the level of thought, effort and work that this promo bike entailed. The 5-spoke billet wheels are a bit of a departure from Exile’s usual ‘Monster’ spoke offerings, so they were well outside Russell’s comfort zone, however, he was more than happy with the way they looked once they had received the prescribed coating of black powder.
Other features, like the three-inch open primary, the ‘Monster’ shotgun pipes and the large round, dome ended oil-tank all help to give this bike the signature toughness that you have come to expect from Exile Cycles. Bill Wall Leather out did themselves, producing the star emblazoned saddle that crowned off the finished chopper. Rockstar are of course ecstatic with the finished result, just as Russell told them they would be! Oh, to have the ego of a Rockstar!!!
Steve Kelly Photography
Written August 2008 (This bike has since been repainted for Rockstar)