Back from the ‘Dead,’ bike builder chases TV appearance with bourbon

Chris Ryland shows off the bike at Monday's event. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

John Ryland shows off the bike at Monday’s event. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

Fresh off its close-up on a hit TV series, a local motorcycle maker is getting its next shot of exposure.

Richmond-based Classified Moto, which recently saw its custom bike creations featured on the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” was recruited by St. Louis-based Rebel Yell Bourbon to build a custom motorcycle as part of its “Rebels Uncaged” summer promotion.

Classified Moto was one of four builders across the country selected to participate in the promotion, along with shops in Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. The bikes will be driven from St. Louis to South Dakota in August for this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and they will then be up for grabs as part of a nationwide contest later this year.

Classified Moto’s creation, a custom-made Kawasaki KZ1000, was unveiled Monday evening at a Rebel Yell-sponsored event held, fittingly, at McCormack’s Big Whiskey Grill at Regency Square Mall.

The bike will soon be headed to Sturgiss.

The bike will soon be headed to Sturgis.

John Ryland, who launched Classified Moto with his wife and co-founder Betsy Ryland in 2011, said he wasn’t sure how Rebel Yell became aware of their shop, but he suspected its exposure on “The Walking Dead” played a part.

He got a call from a rep with alcohol supplier Luxco, which distributes Rebel Yell and commissioned his shop to create a custom bike that captured, as described in a release, “the independent, rebellious spirit of its builder and of Rebel Yell.”

Ryland described the model as a classic 1970s muscle bike that was featured prominently in the original “Mad Max” movies. Smiling, he said: “All the villains rode it.”

He put the retail value of the bike at $20,000 or higher. He said 30 hours were spent on the handlebars alone.

Other distinctive features include modern bike forks on the front wheel and shocks on the rear, a clear-coated finish to give it a rust look over time and, as Ryland put it, “a lot of exposed metal.”

“As bikes go, this is one of the more comfortable ones we’ve done,” he said, noting he kept the long ride from St. Louis to Sturgis in mind.

Ryland started Classified Moto after getting laid off from his job at The Martin Agency, where he was a copywriter and art director. He said his background in marketing has helped in spreading the word about his shop on social media, where Classified Moto has attracted 114,000 followers on Instagram.

“Having worked in marketing before, I kind of knew what to do and the importance of advertising the brand,” he said.

Those efforts paid off in 2014, when Ryland got an email from Norman Reedus, the actor who portrays the popular character Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead.” Reedus ordered a bike for his personal use, and that led to another bike that was featured on the show.

Other clients have included “Battlestar Galactica” actress Katee Sackhoff, and Ryland said orders from overseas amount to about half of the shop’s output, which currently totals between 12 and 15 bikes a year. Ryland said orders have come in from Dubai, London and Brazil, and he’s currently supplying a request from Hawaii.

Classified Moto specializes in blending old and discarded motorcycle parts with modern components in the bikes that it makes. After starting in Ryland’s garage, the company set up shop three years ago in a downtown-area space, the location of which it keeps a secret.

And a fun fact about Rebel Yell: the 167-year-old bourbon brand inspired the Billy Idol song of the same name, said Luxco representative Ashley Stanko. She said the Richmond unveiling was the only such event the company planned for the promotion, which coincides with the release of two new flavors: ginger whiskey and root beer whiskey.

“This bike was built here, so we need to show Richmond this bike,” Stanko said of the event. “We didn’t want to just pick it up and leave.

“We wanted to partner with Classified Moto because they have incredible artistry, and it’s something that fits Rebel Yell’s brand,” she said. “Plus, they make really sick bikes.”

Chris Ryland shows off the bike at Monday's event. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

John Ryland shows off the bike at Monday’s event. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

Fresh off its close-up on a hit TV series, a local motorcycle maker is getting its next shot of exposure.

Richmond-based Classified Moto, which recently saw its custom bike creations featured on the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” was recruited by St. Louis-based Rebel Yell Bourbon to build a custom motorcycle as part of its “Rebels Uncaged” summer promotion.

Classified Moto was one of four builders across the country selected to participate in the promotion, along with shops in Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. The bikes will be driven from St. Louis to South Dakota in August for this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and they will then be up for grabs as part of a nationwide contest later this year.

Classified Moto’s creation, a custom-made Kawasaki KZ1000, was unveiled Monday evening at a Rebel Yell-sponsored event held, fittingly, at McCormack’s Big Whiskey Grill at Regency Square Mall.

The bike will soon be headed to Sturgiss.

The bike will soon be headed to Sturgis.

John Ryland, who launched Classified Moto with his wife and co-founder Betsy Ryland in 2011, said he wasn’t sure how Rebel Yell became aware of their shop, but he suspected its exposure on “The Walking Dead” played a part.

He got a call from a rep with alcohol supplier Luxco, which distributes Rebel Yell and commissioned his shop to create a custom bike that captured, as described in a release, “the independent, rebellious spirit of its builder and of Rebel Yell.”

Ryland described the model as a classic 1970s muscle bike that was featured prominently in the original “Mad Max” movies. Smiling, he said: “All the villains rode it.”

He put the retail value of the bike at $20,000 or higher. He said 30 hours were spent on the handlebars alone.

Other distinctive features include modern bike forks on the front wheel and shocks on the rear, a clear-coated finish to give it a rust look over time and, as Ryland put it, “a lot of exposed metal.”

“As bikes go, this is one of the more comfortable ones we’ve done,” he said, noting he kept the long ride from St. Louis to Sturgis in mind.

Ryland started Classified Moto after getting laid off from his job at The Martin Agency, where he was a copywriter and art director. He said his background in marketing has helped in spreading the word about his shop on social media, where Classified Moto has attracted 114,000 followers on Instagram.

“Having worked in marketing before, I kind of knew what to do and the importance of advertising the brand,” he said.

Those efforts paid off in 2014, when Ryland got an email from Norman Reedus, the actor who portrays the popular character Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead.” Reedus ordered a bike for his personal use, and that led to another bike that was featured on the show.

Other clients have included “Battlestar Galactica” actress Katee Sackhoff, and Ryland said orders from overseas amount to about half of the shop’s output, which currently totals between 12 and 15 bikes a year. Ryland said orders have come in from Dubai, London and Brazil, and he’s currently supplying a request from Hawaii.

Classified Moto specializes in blending old and discarded motorcycle parts with modern components in the bikes that it makes. After starting in Ryland’s garage, the company set up shop three years ago in a downtown-area space, the location of which it keeps a secret.

And a fun fact about Rebel Yell: the 167-year-old bourbon brand inspired the Billy Idol song of the same name, said Luxco representative Ashley Stanko. She said the Richmond unveiling was the only such event the company planned for the promotion, which coincides with the release of two new flavors: ginger whiskey and root beer whiskey.

“This bike was built here, so we need to show Richmond this bike,” Stanko said of the event. “We didn’t want to just pick it up and leave.

“We wanted to partner with Classified Moto because they have incredible artistry, and it’s something that fits Rebel Yell’s brand,” she said. “Plus, they make really sick bikes.”

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments