Plymouth Cycle & Speed
By Gareth Charlton - 26 Nov 14
Had filming not already wrapped on next years Mad Max: Fury Road then the production team may well have rethought the titular character's vehicle of choice had they seen stills of this fearsome looking Yamaha XS1100 "Rust & Redemption" from the team at Plymouth Cycle & Speed. The bike was sponsored and co-created with U.S. based motorcycle apparel company Speed & Strength. All bare metal, knobbly rubber, spiky bits and skulls this is a bike that looks poised to tear into a post apocalyptic world. But as the second part of the Rust & Redemption moniker suggests, this machine opts to tell a different story, a story not of destruction, but of rebirth; of rising from ashes, not leaving a trail of them in its wake. The bike was named Rust & Redemption after one of Speed & Strength's product lines, and it was built by Evan Edwards from Plymouth Cycle & Speed. In Evan's words; "Detroit - a city that is rusted out and broken down. A city that is slowly beginning to rebuild and re-invent itself into something new and different. After years of decline Detroit is working hard to redeem it’s troubled past." Once the hotbed of the American Automotive industry the city has in recent times been subjected to much decay, high crime rates and a dwindling population. But it is fighting back and that is the inspiration of this machine. Evan came across a forgotten '79 Yamaha XS1100, it was a poor imitation of its former self, perfect for the build concept. "We wanted the bike to have a modest bare metal feel with an industrial cafe/city street fighter look. We wanted to show the mechanics of the bike. Stripped down. Exposed. Something with attitude. All characteristics of Detroit." They tore the bike back to its bare bones, reviewing each parts necessity and deeming whether it enhanced either the function or form of the bike before either binning or reworking it and putting it back in a better place. The aim was to utilise what they had instead of turning to new bolt on parts. Items such as the foot pegs and bars were massaged and modified into a superior form until they met Evan's scrutiny. "If I don't like something, I hate it. I will redo it until I like it or someone tells me it is fine." The tank is the stock item with the badges removed and new panels welded and smoothed in, like most of the bike it was sanded back to bare metal, the fabric of the city. The lean tail piece was hand formed, the ubiquitous loop rejected in favour of a sharp apex jutting aggressively skyward, mirroring the triangular light upfront. We have seen this shape of headlight before in the 'Shed, but never inverted like this. Never much liked it before, love it with this execution. "The paint is as minimal as possible. We didn’t want to busy the bike with a bunch of cosmetic paint work. We wanted the metal to be displayed so as to get the true form of the machine showing through. It needed to not only show it’s war wounds but also have an appearance so that there didn’t need to be a concern over potential scuffs or scratches as it rides through the streets of Detroit." The Rust & Redemption Skull logo was painted onto the tank and then fatigued to match both the bike and the city. The Speed and Strength emblem adorns the tail. R&R is a full range of bike gear and casual clothing with the same themes and graphics, this machine now supports the line as an attention grabbing billboard for their design work. Evan loves what he does, it allows him to travel, build and ride cool motorcycles and to fix them when they break, but it is clear no matter how far he roams, that his heart lies in the city of Detroit. If even a small portion of its inhabitants share his passion and drive then the city is in safe hands on its path to redemption. Caps off to you sir.