When life handed me a crazy man’s custom bike, I made my own lemonade. You already know about my search for the perfect Bandit, there was a stop along that road which gave me a chance to ride the scariest machine I’ve ever been on.
It was a warm day in October, I had come across a Craigslist ad for a gloss black custom Bandit and decided to run and see it with a buddy. We drove out to his house after work and met “Phil”, a large young man with an even larger beard who was willing to tell us all too much about himself. He was a bouncer in the city, and had just recently lost his license, claiming that somebody stole his identity and proceeded to commit a shitload of B&E’s posed as him...needless to say there were red flags sticking out of this guy’s forehead. Once I heard more about him I realized there was no way I was buying this bike, but what the hell we were there, lets start it up and give it a romp.
First a bit about the bike, it was completely rebuilt from the ground up. He had taken a 1200cc motor that produces around 100hp, big bored it to 1280, added a stage 3 dyno kit, modified the sprockets for speed and upgraded the can giving the bike 150+ hp.
I had my friend Mike (who has way more moto knowledge than i do) ride it first to try and assess any issues. He took off and rode around for a few minutes, came back, flipped the kick stand down and told me two things.
- “dude watch out”
- “that was the most insane thing i’ve ever ridden”
Mike, a 26 year old dude talked to me with more concern than I’ve ever seen or heard from my own mother. It was my turn and I was essentially terrified which is exactly the opposite emotion you should be feeling before riding a motorcycle, regardless I slapped on my helmet and threw a leg over it...
I took it down the driveway and pulled onto the street, everything seemed normal as I accelerated very slowly through first gear, when suddenly the bike exploded to life. Revving up to 2k rpms was normal, everything after that was pure butt-pucker, it felt as if the needle jumped to redline instantaneously. The power band on this bike was the most harsh and abrupt of any bike or any vehicle for that matter that i’ve ever been on. It was all types of exhilarating and horrifying at the same time. I’ve never had to show such restraint when accelerating, you simply couldn’t apply throttle quickly around 2k rpms, you would lift the front wheel in first and second gear 100% of the time. Third gear was flat out awesome, you could go from 40 to 140 if you wanted to and I felt the bike would be better off a moped, just keep it in third!
I came back in one piece, parked and had a serious case of the shakes. We looked at the bike to save some face and found more red flags. The frame underneath the seat was not painted black, it was the original forest green which means there was some laziness in the build or he was in a rush to get the bike looking different from its original owner (wink wink). It was also leaking small amounts of oil from one of the engine covers potentially from a bad seal, or a warped cover.
No surprise I ended up walking away from the bike, I was glad to ride it and my friend and I couldn’t stop talking about the bike or the seller all week. There was something about the “Frankenstein build” that left an impression on me. It wasn’t practical nor was it fun to ride, but the thought of some crazy asshole pumping as much power into a bike as humanly possible left me appreciative in a weird way. The experience changed my course for the better and had me looking for more stock examples, there will be no “big bore kit” in my future.