Isn't the Internet cool? You can go online and do all kinds of things in total privacy: Play games, chat, or even get in a little reproduction practice at a porn site (at least, that's what I've heard...). The point being, modern communication has not only shrunk the world, but made it so you can do business without ever meeting who you're dealing with; it's just how the cell phone/Internet era works.
That's what happened with Ed Hinkle from North Carolina and Russell Mitchell at Exile Cycles in North Hollywood, California. He'd commissioned half a dozen hot custom bikes from Exile over the years and never met Russell in person. He didn't even know how cool his chopped trike was until it arrived in his home town.
He could've made an educated guess, though. There are certain things Russell just doesn't offer on the menu, like chrome and big flashy paint jobs. Bling just ain't his thing. That was fine with Ed, who liked Exile's Biker Build-Off trike and wanted one of his own with a chopper feel to it, and that suited Mitchell just fine.
"Basically, we started doing trikes because they're big in Europe. A lot of people build them to get around helmet laws. If your vehicle had a seatbelt, you aren't required to wear a helmet, so riders would make three-wheelers with belts to get around the law. A lot of cool and tough trikes are made over there. Out here, trikes tend to be these outrageous things with houses on them. So we decided to give it a go for the Build-Off since we wanted to push the envelope of our aesthetic. We were super proud of the results," Russell informed us. "We wanted to show an American bike with European styling."
In the months that followed that experiment, trikes have gained popularity. "It's sort of taken off. Yaffe and other builders came out with their trikes about the same time we did. The custom world is always pushing the limits of front ends, fat tires, and so forth, but there's only so far you can go. The trike genre was ripe for picking. It'll always be a fringe thing, but it's bigger now than it was," he continued. Russell also told us Exile sells about three trikes a year and makes kits for the home builder.
Hinkle's chopped three-wheeler was one of those sold in '06. All of Exile's three-wheeled creations have a lot of parts in common: the rear wheel and driveline setup (of course) and other signature parts the shop is known for, like the brake calipers and oil tank. What separates this one is its homage to classic chops from back in the day.
To begin with, there's the bare minimum for skin. No fenders, just gas and oil tanks, with the latter done up Sportster-style like you'd see on a lot of old choppers. The motor's a shovel-style TP Engineering 121-incher, which gives the trike a touch of the classic but in modern form. Also, it's mated to a set of wrapped pipes that don't exactly detract from the machine's mean image.
All of this is centered in and around a trike frame Exile manufactures in conjunction with Daytec. It's a rigid chassis raked 45 degrees with an 8-over fork set that really sets the stage for chopper style.
It isn't all chop, though. Three-wheelers run car wheels and tires out back, and this one's no exception, with VW brakes and Goodyear 25.5x14-16 tires set in Boyd's solid wheels. Obviously, this configuration has an, ahem, slight effect on the handling characteristics. According to Russell: "When you go into a corner, it's all about steering, not banking. There's a lot more arm work than with a bike. I was apprehensive when I first rode a trike. It took a couple of days, but after that I could throw it through a corner left, right, and center."
Ed got to feel that firsthand once he got his paws on this machine. Not only that, but several months later he flew out to Los Angeles and put faces to the names of the folks he'd bought so many bikes from. It was a whirlwind trip with two major highlights: a thorough arm sleeving at the hands of Russell Mitchell's tat artist, and a tour of the shop that ended with Hinkle ordering up two more bikes before making his way back home. As cool as the Internet is, there are just some things that are better done in person.
|SHOP PHONE:||(818) 255-3330|
|BUILD TIME:||3 WEEKS!|
|YEAR/SIZE:||'06/TP ENGINEERING 121 CU. IN.|
|ROCKER BOXES:||TP ENGINEERING|
|CARBURETOR:||S&S; SUPER G|
|YEAR/TYPE:||'06/EXILE TRIKE FRAME (MFG. IN CONJUNCTION WITH DAYTEC)|
|YEAR/TYPE:||`06/SJP TECH-LINE 250|
|MODIFICATIONS:||8 INCHES OVER|
|TRIPLE TREES:||SJP 8 DEGREES|
|WHEELS, TIRES, & BRAKES|
|SIZE/TYPE:||21X3.5-INCH/EXILE SPOOL MONSTER WHEEL|
|SIZE/TYPE:||16X14/BOYD'S SOLID WHEELS|
|GRAPHICS:||PINSTRIPING BY TONY MARKUS|
|GAS TANK(S)||EXILE 'TRIKE' TANK WITH FLUSH|
|AND CAP(S):||MOUNTS AND POP-UP CAP|
|HANDLEBARS:||EXILE DRAGBARS WITH CUSTOM RISERS|
|HAND CONTROLS:||EXILE INTERNAL THROTTLE|
|FOOT CONTROLS:||EXILE FORWARD CONTROLS AND FOOT CLUTCH|
|LICENSE MOUNT:||EXILE DIFFERENTIAL HOUSING!|