As a greater man once wrote..."form follows function." What Mitchell does is take his bikes to the basics of motorcycling in a way that TVR, Morgan, Austin Healey and MG did sports cars to driving. His designs are simple and therefor harder to do because they demand more discipline to create them.
If I'm going to spend 30-40 thousand dollars for a bike, the damn thing better look *****in!! Mitchell's bikes are definitely unique, but where's his sense of adventure? His plain paper bag approach to motorcycle building leaves me flacid.
Mitchell build motorcycles that are of a "timeless" design. Viewing his motorcycles conjures memories of the first Triumph choppers... he's a modern day minimalist who has a breath and depth of design understanding you rarely see today.
I have to say I really like the approach, the unclutteredness is refreshing. Very 'clean' indeed.
I do have my doubts on the functionality of the rear brake though... It looks great, but the rearsprocket is about the dirtiest/greasiest place on the entire bike, and considering you would have to buy a new brake disc/sprocket combo whenever the sprocket or chain is worn, it does not seem to be a very practical solution.
Actually, I think the best thing about Harleys is the belt drive, now that's functional.
And that front tire! It's amazing the thing can turn at all. Of course, the side stand is no longer needed ;-)
In Britain (maybe in the US too) there's a class of bikes called 'survival bikes'. They are all about functionality, and chopping off all unnecessary bits. The exile bike reminds me of those, although in general the starting point of a survival bike is an old bike instead of a brand new one...
A few years ago, brainstorming in the garage with beers and bud's, after beating ourselves sensless all day on our dirtbikes, we thought up the same idea of combining the sproket and brake rotor. Came to the same conclusion, that the grease and general grime would kill the brake.
Otherwise it might work on a limited use motorcycle, or with a belt drive setup.
I'm refering to the first picture in the Exile article. The two little lights remind me of the eyes of the cartoon movie robot in "The Iron Giant". I love that movie. Actually the front tire makes the bike look like it should be a float in the Macy's Day Parade. As for the gimmick brake ***** sprocket, apparently you are never to oil the chain. When I was a Marine down at Camp Lejeune back in the middle to late seventies I owned a 77' cb900F. I had a bottle to heavy weight gear oil bungied to a back turn signal that I used to oil the chain with practically daily. I still have that bike stored in a garage and it has over 30,000 miles on it and the chain never stretched over a quarter of an inch. I attributed the chain life to keeping it heavily lubed. It was the stock chain without o-rings and I'd take it to the car wash and blasted the crud out of the links and then lube it with the trusty quart bottle of gear lube. Anyways, o-ring chain or not, the Excile gimmick brake/sprocket is not a very good long haul solution. Tell me if I have this all wrong.
Ok, so here's another 45 degree V-Twin custom cruiser designed to pick the pockets of the Yuppie wannabes. Excuse me, but so friggin' what? I just got back from doing some work for Uncle Sam in Germany, and there's lots more custom work being done over there that we just don't get to see over here. Why are we Americans so hung up on this concept? Do people really pay for this stuff?