Class of 2010
Co-Founder, Interstellar Motors
Rich Odlum is co-founder and designer at Interstellar Motors, which formed in 2014 and offers uniquely tailored motorcycles and parts with a graceful and timeless aesthetic. Providing a bespoke service to the client via good communication, attentive design solutions, and fine craftsmanship have been the tenets that have seen the shop gain a reputation for quality. Rich takes pleasure in the handcraft involved in designing and fabricating his bikes and revels in the physicality of working with the great variety of materials, tools and processes involved in building a complex machine like a motorcycle. He is experienced in a number of applicable skills including welding, machining, painting, sheet metal fabrication, CNC programming and electrical work.
Running a small business has also afforded Rich the ability to handle other tasks, both creative and not, such as photography, social media, web design, graphic design, financial administration and client service. Most importantly, it’s honed his time management skills to a fine point.
Rich arrived at RIT as a Mechanical Engineering student before making the switch to the Industrial Design program. He cut his teeth in the tradeshow industry, learning to manage multiple design and engineering projects simultaneously in the fast-paced environment of exhibit design. The custom nature of the high-end exhibits world provided Rich with a wealth of critical skills in value-engineering high quality products within tight timeframes and budgets. These skills have been an enormous boon in the custom motorcycle trade. He has been riding motorcycles since he was a teenager and began building bikes as a hobby the summer after graduating from RIT.
Honda CL 350
The re-design for this 1970 Honda CL350 was initially informed upon disassembly of the bike and discovering that hiding under body panels and behind flanges was a distinctive organic and asymmetric frame of stamped sheetmetal and tubing. In particular, once the flanges were ground flush and seam-welded, the backbone of the frame was reminiscent of a plant's stem, narrowing in the middle and growing larger near the joints. Soon after Hector Guimard's Paris Metro stations, classic examples of French Art-Nouveau, became a heavy inspiration point for this bike's form and colors. Copper and brass accents were chosen to contrast the green of the frame, similar to the metro station's glass lamps.
The motorcycle is finished in such a way as to celebrate the wear and tear of an old machine that has been kept in good repair. There is beauty in the character and imperfections an object gains over time, and these imperfections speak to the object's history, allowing us to more fully appreciate the object and the world it lives in. Old objects and materials were used where appropriate, like the 50's era Marchal driving lamp, or the enamel paint used on the frame, or the copper used on the tank, which spent a decade in the elements before being hammered into shape.