Side by side, it’s fairly obvious to tell just how different a custom motorcycle is from a mechanical watch. Look a little closer, and when you start to dissect each, they’re very obviously kindred spirits – if not nearly identical. Both need precision-built components and engineered synchronicity to run as intended. Both have complex machines at their hearts that require a constant replenishing of energy. And, in this day in age, both are just as superficial as they are purposeful; subsequently, the attention to detail involved in both are almost unparalleled. Recently, Royal Enfield approached Bandit 9 to commissioned two motorcycles, and it’s easy to see why well-made timepieces were the main inspiration.
For the “Arthur,” Bandit 9 started with a Royal Enfield Continental GT and took a year to build and complete the final product. The frame itself is reworked and has no hard corners to interrupt the flow of its design — there is one continuous line wrapping around the bike with no obvious end. The 535cc air-cooled single-cylinder engine is the only part of the original Continental GT to go relatively untouched. From the frame and suspension to the intake and exhaust, plus everything in between, all was reimagined and polished to a mirror finish.
For the “Merlin,” Bandit 9 took an RE Bullet and turned up the timepiece influence ten-fold. “As with luxury timepieces, God is in the details. The saddle was inspired by balance springs seen in exhibition backs of high-end watches.” And for the speedometer, “the housing is made from a polished aluminum capped with a bronze bezel. The dial was made from stainless steel and reflects sunlight like a centrifuge over the radially brushed surface. Bandit9 engraved Roman numerals in place of conventional Arabic numbers.”
Like an elegant, finely-tuned well-crafted watch, nothing on the Bandit 9 Arthur or Merlin projects is over the top, out of place or unnecessary. Even the mirror finished aluminum and steel is well suited to the minimalist style of the bikes. Take a minute to pore over these images a few times — on every pass you’ll probably find a new favorite detail or one you hadn’t caught before.
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