The following story is an extract from Tank Moto issue 4
“My very first motorcycle was a 50cc Honda Cub. It was more of a scooter but it didn’t matter. My first ride on the Cub was like achieving nirvana. I used to go out for these midnight rides with my girlfriend – the streets were empty, nothing but stars above you, a quiet lake on one side and a jungle on the other. It was completely quiet except for the buzzing of the 50cc engine. There was something really poetic about the experience. Something clicked inside me, I fell in love with motorcycles,” Daryl Villanueva of Bandit9 recalls.
“I started working on the Cub – nothing major, in fact just a simple paint job and upholstery but over the years, I progressed onto larger machines with more complex work. My taste in bikes also started changing, I started experimenting a lot more and this experimentation is rooted deep in Bandit9’s DNA. I envisioned Bandit9 to create bikes that are hard to categorize. I didn’t want to adhere to the “rules” of motorcycle design so I kept pushing and pushing the limits, never playing safe. Some people really hate our stuff, and that’s okay, at least our creations evoke an emotion. That’s what I’m really looking to do – design machines that spark emotion.”
Daryl moved to China in 2011 for his day job. Three years on, and on the cusp of releasing his latest bike, “EVE” to the world, and having just opened his new Saigon workshop, Daryl’s creativity is still very much evolving and producing amazing results. To date, Bandit9 have six unique bikes in their fleet, with EVE making seven. Whilst all the bikes look very different to one another, their design philosophy unites them under the Bandit9 banner. “The design is probably what takes the longest amount of time. I get bored quite easily so I have to distance myself from the design, as innot look at it for weeks. If I love it, then great. If I don’t, then I start again. What usually stands the test of time is the simplicity of the design and I think the EVE is proof of that. I’m not even sure it can get any simpler than the EVE and I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to top that design. Our approach to the EVE was a little different. It’s the first time I actually put a design down on paper and released it to the public. Since we were starting up shop in Saigon, I wanted to validate the idea and the design before marching on ahead with production. But the EVE exploded online and after the first week of its release, we had our pre-order phase completely full. It gave us the confidence to push through our plans for Saigon and go straight into production. We were lucky.”
“Eve has a chrome unibody built by hand and if anyone’s pounded steel before, you can imagine how difficult it was. It looks like a weapon from the future; it’s like Captain Kirk’s stun gun. The real inspiration came from a fine-tuned brass instrument like a silver trumpet. We tried to keep the flow of the lines, and of course, the reflective finish of the chrome and brass accents. Besides the engine and the frame, almost every piece that sums up the EVE is built from scratch. The exposed suspensions, custom handlebars, the cattle skin leather seat, and exhaust are all fabricated from steel and designed with precision. The details come together into a deceptively simple machine. You can really feel the marriage of artistry and engineering in the EVE. The result is an incredibly precise road instrument and it’s guaranteed to draw as much attention as any high-end luxury vehicle.”