Motorcycles are art forms for many people, riders or otherwise. Owners and designers either start from stock models or build from scratch to create the look, feel, and impact they desire. Typical custom bike budgets can begin at $25,000 and will climb quickly. When star designers build one-offs for special exhibits or events, the investments can easily hit six figures. Custom Harley-Davidsons are the most common two-wheeled canvas in the U.S.
Bandit9 Motorcycle Design, a small shop in Vietnam takes a different approach. Bandit9 creates strictly limited editions of nine bikes with distinctive looks and most price tags under $12,000, including shipping worldwide.
Bandit9 currently has three available models powered by brand-new Honda Supersport 125cc engines: Eve Liquid Black, Eden, and Eve Alchemist. The exception to the engine and price range is Dark Side, built on a Harley-Davison Street HD V-Twin 750cc motor. Dark Side is also limited to nine units.
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Eve Liquid Black
There are two Eve models in Bandit9's currently available bikes: Eve Liquid Black and Eve Alchemist. Liquid black has a handcrafted steel unibody with a black beacon cowl and reflective black chrome. Other structural and mechanical components include a sand cast swingarm, dual shock rear suspension, inverted front shocks, and a handcrafted low exhaust. Last bits include a black denim seat, custom brake light, and a speedometer and you're ready to roll, though it might be more comfortable just looking at it. This Eve model goes for $10,350.
Like the other Bandit9 bikes, Eden's production is limited to just nine units. Because the company doesn't build bikes until they receive orders, you can choose between gold or chrome finishes (chrome is $1,550 less than gold). Eden looks more like a conventional dual-purpose or dual-sport bike than the bullet-shaped Eve, so adding street legal parts would be less likely to spoil the look.
Eden has a handcrafted steel unibody champagne gold plating. The bike has a titan headlight with golden trim, sculptured high exhaust, an arc swingarm, and dual shock rear suspension. The finishing touches include custom bar end signals, a cognac brown leather seat, and a black marble gas cap. Prices include $11,900 for the bike with a gold finish, and $10,350 for chrome.
Its champagne gold-plated, handcrafted steel unibody with plated bullet shell cowl set Eve Alchemist off as art more than the other current Bandit9 models. The bullet-shaped bike has inverted front shocks, a dual rear shock suspension, a sand cast swingarm, and a handcrafted low stubby exhaust.
Eve Alchemist makes a bid for street acceptability with a custom brake light, bar end signals, and speedometer. Even with the distressed tan leather seat, however, it's hard to imagine anyone riding Eve Alchemist very far. For motorcycle and art collectors, however, it's easy to see this model as a focal display element. The Eve Alchemist model goes for $11,900.
Bandit9 Dark Side
Lord Vader, your bike is here. A giant step up from the Eden and Eve models, Bandit9's Dark Side is a force to be noticed and ridden with its 750cc V-Twin. Because of its greater bulk, it appears Dark Side might be easier to make street legal for use on U.S. roads than the smaller models.
There are two sets of foot pegs. The second set will likely be used for an alternate riding position because the thin short seat doesn't seem possible to seat two, at least not while the bike is in motion.
Starting with a handcrafted steel unibody with small bits of reflective chrome, Bandit9 adds a black bullet cowl, inverted front shocks, stainless steel fenders, a custom two-into-one exhaust and 16-inch front and rear tires. The finishing touches include a calf leather seat and a black marble gas cap. At $26,000, Dark Side is the flagship model from the Vietnamese manufacturer.
Are you wondering about U.S. street legal niceties such as turn signal indicators, mirrors, and license plate holders? In the Bandit9 FAQ the company answers the question: "Every city, province, state and country has their own set of road regulations. Therefore, it is impossible for us to guarantee that they will be road legal wherever you are. It would be best for you to check the road rules in your country. We will do our best to accommodate your needs."