Think motorcycles- no, wait. Let’s make this slightly more difficult. Think custom motorcycles and what are the first few countries or region that pop into your head. Ready? Go! Bet China never once came into your mind, did it?
It’s okay, we don’t blame you. For most of us who are exposed to the general side of motorcycles and the custom lifestyle, China isn’t high on the list of countries that we expect to produce jaw-dropping builds. Well, that is exactly what the guys at Beijing-based Mandrill Garage are hoping to change in the near future.
For 2018, the team, along with its leader, Luo Hao, has decided to start it off with a bang by introducing its latest build based off a 2017 BMW R nineT Neo-Racer called the ‘Dark Fighter’. The outfit has been around for six years now and has been consistently churning out custom projects that continue to impress to this day.
However, the team at Mandrill Garage has opted for a different approach for their first build of 2018. “The idea was to create something anti-retro, to remove the headlight and instead use a mask like medieval armour, I wanted to build it like a street fighter,” said Luo Hao. With a brand new donor unit delivered by the client, the work can finally begin.
The first component to go was the stock seat. “The part I don’t like most on the BMW is the seat,” recalled Luo Hao. With that said, out went the seat and the entire rear subframe. Its replacement was a smaller, leather-wrapped piece that was designed and made in-house. What followed next was the fuel tank.
Said unit was completely smoothed out with the stock BMW badges removed and replaced with machined logos of the company, recessed further into the bodywork for more visual impact. Next up, the frame was coated in a deep shade of gloss black with the front forks receiving the same shade via anodizing.
Of course, the team would eventually find themselves at the front of the motorcycle. For the most defining feature of the build, the front stock headlight housing was removed and replaced with a front mask for that unmistakable medieval look. Within the mask sits a single LED light while the real headlights have migrated to the side.
Other changes include carbon fibre front and rear fenders, the removal of the airbox and the inclusion of a K&N pod filters and a handmade stainless steel exhaust system with a GP-style slash-cut muffler. The factory forks and Brembo brakes were retained but the rear shock was replaced with a fully-adjustable unit from Gears Racing. Also, Brembo RCS radial master cylinders for both the brake and clutch replace the stock items.
Finally, the rear end receives a custom taillight with three red LED strips with bar end turn signals rounding off the list of notable add-ons. “When you look at the bike from the front, it looks like a Robot or Ironman – maybe even a medieval knight,” Luo Hao concluded. If this is just the beginning for Mandrill Garage in 2018, then the team has certainly set its standards pretty high.