A motorcycle so dark and sinister-looking, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Darth Vader reserved one of these bad-boys. Bandit9’s Daryl Villanueva tells the story behind the “hand-and-eye” building of this bike, what it means to have an emotional connection with a machine, and his total belief that China is on the rise when it comes to creating quality products.
What you were trying to achieve with the Limited Edition Nero Mark II?
With the Nero Mark II, we wanted to create a bike that’s hard to categorize. Is it a café racer? A bobber? A chopper? I have no idea. We just set out to create something fun to ride that will really turn heads. We wanted to create a blend of vintage machinery with contemporary design, and the Nero Mark II does just that.
The only thing that hasn’t been redesigned on the Nero Mark II is its original 750cc Chang Jiang engine, although it has been rebuilt. There’s a lot of character and history behind the Chinese engine. Everything else, we pretty much threw out the door. The Nero Mark II is everything I wanted the original Nero to be.
The frame was completely reshaped so that we could create a bike with an elongated body and a low, athletic stance. The original hexagon tank and fender were carried over from the original design but we’ve made some modifications, including tapering the overall shape, making it slimmer than the original. We refashioned the gas cap to make the bike’s silhouette truly flat. There’s a gentle curve on the rear fender and this time, it’s directly welded to the frame. The brake light is also embedded inside the fender giving it that futuristic look. And, the seat was engineered to make the rider look like he’s sitting on air.
All the hand and foot controls are made from stainless steel and were re-engineered to make the ergonomics far superior to the original. We also revisited the inverted levers to give that vintage touch to the machine.
As for the front end, we’ve given the Nero Mark II Harley Davidson headlights, which are brighter, clearer and more durable than the original. We’ve left the front suspensions exposed, which gives the bike a lot of character since it gives you a glimpse of the mechanics. As for the steering, we’ve welded the handlebars directly to the fork. It’s something that we did on the original Nero as well. It feels far more responsive and gives the bike a cleaner look, which is better than the alternative – a mess of nuts and bolts just to hold a bar in place.
And of course, we’ve kept the Nero’s signature stealthy matte black.
“The difficult thing about launching a motorcycle company in China is that you don’t have access to a lot of parts and accessories, as well as the tools and machines that you’d normally use to do the most basic of tasks. So everything about the Nero Mark II had to be done by hand-and-eye.”
– daryl villanueva
Read the entire interview with Bandit9′s Daryl Villanueva after the jump below…