The first country people think of when they hear the word “Vespa” is Italy. But imaginative Vespa lovers in Indonesia are laying new claim to the iconic scooter.
Filmmakers Marc Ressang and Daniel Agha-Rafei’s recently released documentary, Rebel Riders, takes viewers inside the island country’s custom scooter scene, where DIY enthusiasts have turned the Italian moped into a symbol of freedom and self-expression. These creations, which look like they belong in the wastelands of Mad Max rather than real life, are known as “extreme Vespas.”
Considering the extent of the modifications, it may seem dubious to even call these bikes Vespas. But an annual festival celebrating the customized scooters in Kediri, Indonesia—now entering its fourth year—has a clear-cut definition of “extreme Vespa”: the vehicle just has to be powered by a Vespa engine. It doesn’t matter how outlandish the design is. In fact, many riders make a point of being as over the top as possible.
“It’s about being different from others,” says one of the riders interviewed in the video. “No one wants to be outdone. If there’s someone with a big bike, we’ll want to go bigger. If there’s a long bike, we’ll want to make something longer. If there’s one with a lot of wheels, we’ll want one with even more wheels.”
有些作品的改装程度之大，已经让人几乎认不出那是 Vespas 车。但在印尼凯迪里一年一度庆祝改装摩托车的节日（目前已经进入第四个年头）中，对可以定义为“极限 Vespas”的摩托车要求很明确：有 Vespa 发动机就行。不论最终的造型看上去多么奇怪，都没有关系。实际上，越是浮夸的设计就越受欢迎。
This competitive spirit means that riders are constantly pushing their creativity to the limit. In the film, one of the most astonishing feats of engineering is a scooter made from a tree—not a vehicle built with wooden parts—an actual tree on wheels. The scooter body is a tree trunk, while the handlebars are branches that have been mounted like antlers.
This unique manifestation DIY culture was eye-opening for Ressang, but what truly made his time in Indonesia such an enjoyable experience were the people he met. “A lot of these guys can look pretty intimidating, with their face tattoos, piercings, and their copious drinking and smoking, but once we made our intentions clear, they were extremely hospitable and enthused about showing off their creations,” he recalls with a laughs. “I’d like to go back to make a feature-length film around one of the crews and their life on the road.”
这些独特的创意和 DIY 文化确实让 Marc 大开眼界，但对他来说，沿途遇到的人才是这部纪录片最特别之处。Marc 笑着说：“这些家伙中很多人看起来都很凶，脸上有纹身、穿洞，也喝酒抽烟，但是一旦我们说明来意，他们就会变得非常热情好客，急切地想要向我们炫耀他们的作品。我希望以后有机会回去印尼，围绕车队和他们在路上的生活拍摄一部专题影片。”
Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li