The Story Behind The Bandito


Hey, guys! It’s David from the Helmet Center. Today, I want to share something special and close to my heart – the legendary Bandido. If you’ve been part of our frozen turkey rides, track days, drag races, or other events over the past 18 years, chances are you’ve come across my bike.

The Purchase

I acquired the Bandido in the year 2000 for a mere $1,500 from a seller on eBay. This was during the era of eBay transactions without physically seeing the item. The bike, originally in Texas, made its way to California with its owner. However, work took the owner back to Texas, leaving the bike at a friend’s place for about a year. After the friend decided it was time for the bike to go, it ended up on eBay, catching my attention.

The Journey Begins

I offered $1,500, with an additional $300 if I made it back to Phoenix. I bought a one-way ticket to San Jose and arrived at the seller’s place in the dead of the night. Surprisingly, the motorcycle was sitting in the driveway with the key in it – a smooth start. Little did I know, challenges awaited.

Unforeseen Challenges

After a quick start, I realized my boot was soaking wet with motor oil. A visit to a Suzuki dealer in San Bernardino revealed a loose valve cover gasket, a fixable issue. However, the challenges didn’t end there. Gas leaks and a nerve-wracking ride through Death Valley in scorching July added to the tale.

The Bandido’s Adventures

Over the years, the Bandido has been through a lot. From crashes to track days and drag races, it has been my companion. I even met my wife on this bike. Clocking in at about 58,000 miles on the original engine, this motorcycle has been to various states and has a unique history.

The First of Its Kind

What makes the Bandido even more special is its origin. It happens to be the first one off the assembly line in 1998, with a VIN ending in 00001. When I first registered it, the motor vehicle department was surprised by such a low VIN, making it the genuine first 1998 Bandit 1200.


So, not only is the Bandido my faithful companion through thick and thin, but it also carries the honor of being the first of its kind. How many of you can say your bike is the original – the one that started it all? For me and the Bandido, every ride is a journey filled with memories and a testament to the unique bond between a rider and their bike. Ride on!

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