• The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe

  • The dark theme is all over the build
  • Goes from retro to as futuristic as hell would get
  • Medieval face with LEDs' with aux lights
  • The aluminium tank was reshaped and slimmed
  • LED strips for the rear
  • Bespoke stainless steel slash-cut mufflers with mesh and logod'
  • Fully adjustable Gears Racing unit
  • Tank flanges feature Olde English style “m”
  • Mandrill badge
  • Digital instrumentation
  • Custom designed black leather tuck-n-roll bobber-style saddle

It is a gothic masterpiece. And it’s got a menacing face.

Take a moment and look around you. You would be surprised to learn that 70% of the stuff in your room or office comes all the way from the People’s Republic of China, a country having over a billion people and thousands of years of invention and innovation. Although people vouch for their poor quality of products, let me remind you that Apple makes all of theirs’ right there.

Amongst such giants lies a bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts who have vowed to create machines that exuberate caliber on par with the best custom builders in the business. One such is the Beijing’s Mandrill Garage and Café that has been a hotspot for motorcycle enthusiast for well over six years.

Run by a chap called Luo Hao, Mandrill has been custom building motorcycle that expresses highest level of visual elation and euphoria, and his latest creation is the “Dark Fighter”, aptly named to give an anti-retro take on the dark nemesis of the BMW R nineT.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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The dark theme is all over the build

Success was not a problem with BMW, especially for their R NineT. It has absolutely been a hit story for the German ever since it launched the R Nine T in 2013. It soon became the darling for custom builders worldwide for its simple construction acting as a plain canvas for etching out any inspirations; be is a scrambler, a café racer or a roadster.

But when it fell into the hands of the folks at Mandrill, no one predicted such wizardry to go down. One cannot fathom how Luo created this demonic art, especially when the bike flaunted such retro flair unlike any other in the business. They opened up its darker side to completely rub off its retro image and make it as futuristic as hell would get.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Goes from retro to as futuristic as hell would get

They started the construction by de-constructing the R nineT to its bare bones. With just its frame, front suspensions and the engine intact, they first decided to give the rear subframe a swap with an in-house designed unit and gave it a black powder coating, finally making it sit lower than stock.

This allowed Luo to change the stock seat, the one he hated the most on the original bike, to a custom designed black leather tuck-n-roll bobber-style saddle that drastically reduced the visual length of the bike. It has a fairly large kick-up design at the rear to keep the rider from sliding off the seat when the powered surged in with the throttle.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Tank flanges feature Olde English style “m”
The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Digital instrumentation
The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
- image 770915
Custom designed black leather tuck-n-roll bobber-style saddle
The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
- image 770917
Mandrill badge

All of these altercations showed up the ugly places of the tank, but luckily Luo wasn’t the one to let it slip by. The tank then receives many minute changes that only a pernickety one could enjoy those subtleties. The aluminum tank was reshaped and slimmed with the rear of the tank completely smoothened. The claw-like wedged grooves that did nothing functionally adds a vexed flair to the bike, thanks to the brilliant coat of gloss black.

CNC-milled Mandrill badges replaced the traditional BMW ones, and a couple of mounting brackets below that held onto Mandrill’s own addition of number plates on the sides. They feature Olde English style “m” of the Mandrill logo and the number 90 in white and grey. Everything else on the bike gets the dark polished black look.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Medieval face with LEDs’
with aux lights

The fenders on this Fighters are designed from carbon fiber yumm that together gives out a menacing take on the evilness of the bike, especially with the rear unit having a sword-tail finish and ribbed arches. The rear shock is also swapped with fully adjustable Gears Racing unit dialed to meet the customer’s proportions. Also goes without saying, gets blacked out.

Talking of which, the front stock suspension too loses its golds to a blacked out look to portray the vile running inside. The stock master cylinders on both the brake and the clutch levers get swapped with Brembo RCS radial master cylinders for precise control and tuning on the fly. With so much dark energy pouring out of this machine, Luo needed the face to match the synergies of a medieval knight.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Fully adjustable Gears Racing unit

Hence the round retro headlamp gave way to a medieval armor that had bright LED eyes showcasing all the negativity. Auxiliary lights, which also acts like the real headlights, gets mounted off to the side, tucked in behind the number boards. The taillights have three red LED strips, while bar end turn signals finish out the job.

With so much going on the outside, Luo and his team decided to pimp out the engine with K&N pod filters and have the exhaust swapped with the bespoke stainless steel exhaust system. Highlighting it was the GP style slash cut mufflers that were finished off with the mesh and the ‘m’ logo which. Looks absolutely stunning, to be honest. The bark out of this will scare the daylights out of anybody coming close.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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Bespoke stainless steel slash-cut mufflers
with mesh and logod’

No doubt, the BMW R nineT is simply a stunning piece of machinery which the Gods have made it taking all the time. But it takes an act of ballsy stature to take that and turn it into the ‘Dark Fighter’. Literally, throws the rulebook out of the window to create the anti-retro.

By far, this build is one of the best one I’ve seen coming out from the eastern hemisphere, and surprisingly, from China. The “Dark Fighter” is a gothic masterpiece. And it’s got a menacing face. Your brain might still not be developed enough to handle the dripping lust. But give it some time, and you’ll thank me later for the hankering lust.

The "Dark Fighter" by Mandrill Garage & Cafe Exterior
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The aluminium tank was reshaped and slimmed

No word from Luo about the build time or pricing, but looking at the level of work, we assume such craftsmanship does not come for the price of two lollipops. This build is for a customer who gave Luo a zero reading rpm motorcycle brought straight from the showroom floors.

What a lucky man he must be.

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