What a Concept! Here’s a vehicle to drive your sci-fi fantasies—just for the “L” of it. By Timothy Kelley
t’s been called a masterpiece of art, but this is art that goes “Vroom!” And the inspiration for its design is said to come from U.S.S. Enterprise of Star Trek fame, but that interstellar voyager wasn’t piloted with handlebars. Fact is, Bandit9’s L-Concept is a motorcycle, and a sleekly minimalist one at that. It features steel unibody construction, two 21-inch spoked wheels, a front headlight unit with a cluster of LED lights, a teardrop-shaped seat of Italian calf leather, and levers and grips sculpted from solid aluminum. Motive power comes from a compact, air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder 125cc engine with a four-speed transmission suspended sexily in a pod under the frame. The L-Concept is seven-and-a-half feet long, weighs 297 pounds and reaches a top speed of 68 mph. If you get your hands on one (the official asking price is just under $11,000), feel lucky, but not too cocky. Your ’cycle isn’t unique—there are eight others on Earth. That’s right. Bandit9 is really in the archetype business, and these
painstakingly handcrafted Ls run (and they do run) more to set our hearts afire than to get us to the grocery store. The “9” in the company’s name stands for the number of vehicles of each model it actually produces, and this particular nine seems almost as full of exciting possibility as a mom-to-be’s calendar or a baseball team taking the field in springtime. Company founder and design chief Daryl Villanueva is a former L.A. advertising art director, and his studio is in a foreign burg you’ve probably heard of called Hanoi. “There was a lot of testing,” Villanueva has said of his firm’s design process for the L. “There was a lot of failing. We needed to figure out how to place the foot pegs, kickstand and carburetor elegantly.” If this “fully functional mechanical sculpture” isn’t the ultimate in clean-lined motorcycling, it will do handsomely until that perfection arrives. Ride long and prosper.
| M PENNER
Futuristic? Yes, but the Bandit9 L-Concept motorcycle’s elegant design evokes a future glimpsed decades ago in comic books, movies and TV shows. Its turbine-style powertrain cover is said to have been inspired by the reactor on Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise. Custom foot controls connect smoothly to that engine case, and the square taillight comprises 45 tiny LEDs. If any motorbike could transport you to the final frontier, this would be it.
3/18/19 4:41 PM