December 19, 2013 - San Diego, CA
The 7 Most Awesome (Modern) TV & Movie Motorcycles
We know you've seen 'em - and when you did, you were left with your heart pounding, seriously thinking about trading in your bike for something like the machines ripping up the screen. We picked out the baddest two-wheeled machines to grace the big or small screen in the last twenty-some years and dug up the info on them for you. Sure, there have been a lot of motorcycles featured in modern movies and TV - but these are the 7 most awesome!
1) The Walking Dead - Daryl Dixon’s Chopper
Loud, old, and with a gas tank about the size of a canteen, it's probably the most poorly suited form of transportation imaginable in a zombie apocalypse; nevertheless, Daryl's chopper in “The Walking Dead” is a pretty badass bike. There is actually a lot to investigate behind this heavily modified classic chopper, and it has been the subject of many an internet debate. The bike is actually a British Triumph (an odd choice for having formerly belonged to a Southern biker), most likely a '71 TR6C frame with a '69 motor. The front forks are modified and may be from an older Honda CB750.
While a motorcycle would be a great transportation choice in a post-apocalypse world, this particular one probably wouldn't; the lack of parts for the rare bike, low ground clearance, and tiny gas tank would create some serious problems, and that’s assuming the thunderous engine didn’t constantly attract killer zombies. We hope Daryl’s silent weapon of choice, a crossbow, will offset the noisiness of the bike.
Fun Fact: Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, used to work at a Harley dealership in his pre-acting days.
2) Terminator 2 - Terminator’s 1990 Harley-Davidson "Fat Boy"
“I need your clothes, your boots, and your moda-cycle.” This quote, from one of the most memorable scenes of the movie, puts Arnold Schwarzenegger atop a 1990 Harley Davidson FLSTF that he uses for most of the film. Anyone who has seen the movie remembers this bike, especially the exciting chase sequence through an LA water canal. The actual bike from the movie now resides in the Hollywood Star Cars museum.
Also featured in the film is a Kawasaki KZ1000P police bike, used by T1000 in his relentless pursuit of John Connor. The bike was used in several exciting scenes, including a memorable stunt launching the villain from the upper level of an office building onto a police helicopter.
Fun Fact: The bike used in the stunt where T1000 rides up a flight of stairs isn't a KZ1000P, but rather a Honda XR500 dirt bike modified with police bike fairings to look the part. It is now on display at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
3) Skyfall - James Bond's Honda CRF250R Dirt Bike
One of the most memorable and exciting chase motorcycle chase sequences in film history comes from – not surprisingly – a James Bond movie. The opening scene in Skyfall begins with Bond pursuing a villain across rooftops and through landmarks in Istanbul, Turkey. The motorcycles, heavily modified and made to look like typical third world bikes, were actually brand new Honda CRF250Rs, part of a fleet of twenty used to make the film!
A large number of the Honda dirt bikes were used because many were modified to be used as filming platforms, as the only vehicles capable of keeping up with the actors to gather street-level HD action footage.
Fun Fact: Daniel Craig’s stunt double for the challenging rooftop scene is actually famous Australian FMX stunt rider, Robbie Maddison, in disguise.
4) The Matrix: Reloaded - 2001 Ducati 996
The exciting chase in the Matrix sequel involves this powerful superbike, a dark green 2001 Ducati 996. The scene begins with Trinity launching the brand new Ducati from an auto-hauler, kicking off a freeway chase scene both with and against the flow of traffic, and with a passenger to boot. Whether its the flurry of automatic weapon fire, the Italian superbike ripping up the roads, or Carrie Ann Moss in a skin-tight black bodysuit, the sexiness and excitement in this scene makes one of the most memorable movie motorcycle chases ever caught on film.
Fun Fact: Playing upon the buzz this scene created, Ducati released a “Matrix Edition” limited production run of 150 units in 2004; only trouble is, the 996 was discontinued by the time of the release, and the special edition models are actually 998s!
5) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 1960s-era Honda CL350
True to rebellious nature, Rooney Mara's dark character gets around on a rough vintage café racer in this 2011 film. The script called for high speed riding and off-road action on ice and snow, but the producers insisted that the motorcycle used in the film be very accurate to what Lisbeth Salander would probably ride in real life. While it would be challenge, they opted to use an actual vintage café racer for filming.
Glory Motor Works in Los Angeles, California was tasked with building three vintage bikes that could hold up to the abuse and long days of filming. All were entirely torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, with all metal parts being stripped and cleaned, and then painted, powder coated, polished or plated. Motors and carbs were entirely rebuilt, and every single fastener was replaced. The bikes were also given bigger batteries and beefier starters, with all new wiring, clutches and brakes.
Fun Fact: Even given the demands of this role, actress Rooney Mara was most intimidated by the motorcycle in this role. She says, “The motorcycle was the thing I really didn't want to do. You know, you're going to be raped, be naked...but as soon as he was like, 'You're going to have to ride a motorcycle,' I was like, 'oh...really?'
6) Tron: Legacy – 2012 Ducati Sport Classic 1000
Ducatis were placed very prominently throughout the long-awaited Tron sequel, with both Kevin Flynn’s 2012 Sport Classic 1000 and a vintage model (either a 750 or 900 SS) belonging to his father getting plenty of screen time. The most memorable scene is of Flynn flying through the nighttime urban city-scape, evading a motor cop in the process. The movie version is very similar to the production model, with the turn signals removed, several parts blacked out, and the addition of a very noticeable futuristic LED taillight.
Fun Fact: The Matrix Edition 998 wasn’t the biggest of Ducati’s product placement fumbles; oddly, the Ducati Sport Classic 1000 used in the film was actually discontinued by the time the film was released!
7) Sons of Anarchy - Jax’s 2003 Harley FXDX
While a number of motorcycles are prominently shown throughout the series, Jax's bike represents the Harley-Davidson Dyna model line ridden by most of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club in the show. Jax's bike is actually a 2003 Dyna Super Glide Sport, a sportier variety of the Harley big twins with dual front disc brakes. It is modified with a small but distinctive Arlen Ness front fairing, and has a Thunderheader exhaust.
Fun Fact: Ron Perlman, who plays the hardcore biker and former president of the Sons of Anarchy MC Clay Morrow, actually knew nothing about motorcycles before this role, and has admitted being very intimidated by them in real life.