A sinister-looking cycle that would suit any Lord of the Sith, Bandit9’s aptly named Dark Side demands attention, as the aesthetic force is strong with this one. After all, the Vietnam-based bike builder’s latest wild ride—debuted in September—resembles a supine Darth Vader.
“Most of our work spawns from sci-fi films and comics, explains Bandit9’s founder Daryl Villanueva. “We’d rather design bikes that fit in at Comic-Con than any motorcycle expo.”
That’s not to suggest the bike is more show than go—far from it. The Dark Side is derived from a Harley Davidson Street 750 and has the U.S. brand’s RevX engine—created in collaboration with Porsche—for its powder-coated black heart. The 57.6 hp, liquid-cooled V-twin generates up to 43 ft lbs of torque and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
Protecting the power train is aircraft-influenced bodywork handcrafted from one piece of stainless steel, a process that proved to be one of the greatest challenges during production. “The unibody seamlessly unifies what would normally be separate parts, including the tank, seat, and rear cowl,” says Villanueva. “It’s bulbous in the front and rectangular in the back—talk about fitting a round peg in a square hole. We did it over and over until we found a way to make it right.”
Also a winning combination are the components, which include an instrumentation display presented under a smoked-glass shield, a 2 into 1 Vance & Hines Competition Series exhaust, a hand-built radiator cover, Marzocchi 50mm inverted front forks, disc brakes (with 2-piston floated front and rear calipers), and 16-inch spoked rims dressed in Dunlop tires. The Dark Side contradicts its name, however, with LED turn signals and brake lights, as well as an LED headlight (150-percent more powerful than normal halogen) to illuminate the night.
“I wanted the Dark Side to have a particular emotional quality—the operative word was ‘operatic,’” says Villanueva. “I’m incredibly proud of my team. The Dark Side’s scale is dominating, the sound is intimidating, and its shape and finish are out of this world.”
Only nine examples of the motorcycle will be built, each priced at $32,000—a cost that includes importation and customs clearance, along with door-to-door delivery anywhere in the world.