The most ardent bike enthusiasts all over the world can shell out fortunes to own a machine of their dreams. As the global bike industry gets more advanced, we get to see some really jaw-dropping new motorcycle models. However, this write-up is not about the latest motorcycle marvels, but is dedicated to the most amazing bikes from the past. Here is a look at some superb motorcycles featured in the classic movies.
1950 Harley-Davidson Chopper featured in Easy Rider (1969)
The classic movie Easy Rider’s "Captain America" Harley-Davidson Chopper simply scores the most in the list of the most amazing classic movie motorcycles. The featured bike model in this classic flick is surely one of the most iconic. The Harley-Davidson with thorough chopper modifications is a symbol of rebellion befitting the theme of the movie. According to some, the real star of the film is actually the bike. Nevertheless, this motorcycle cannot be considered alone without considering the "Billy" motorcycle featured in the movie. Similar to the characters of the movie who ride these super bikes, the two models are partners that always go together.
In real life, these iconic motorcycles were used police Harley Davidson Hydra Glide models that were auctioned for around $500 and were bought for the movie. These were later modified by two Los Angeles based chopper builders who used all their artistic freedom on the bikes. There were total 4 used Harley Davidson bikes, while 2 were used for actual shooting, the other two identical bikes were kept as backups.
The Captain America bike was the more drastically modified because its movie rider, Peter Fonda was better and experienced rider than Dennis Hopper who handled the bike easier to handle Billy bike. The Captain America motorbike had longer forks, increased rake, missing front brake, and a teardrop gas tank. These modifications made the motorcycle rather painful to ride, and the cross country trip centric movie featuring this totally uncomfortable bike is purely cinematic and completely impractical.
The real Captain America motorcycle was destroyed in the final scene of the movie, while the other three models got stolen from the set even before the completion of the movie. The destroyed bike was later rebuilt and is still preserved at the National Motorcycle Museum.
1961 Triumph TR6 featured in The Great Escape (1963)
Steve McQueen and his hijacked Triumph bike in The Great Escape got icon status because of the thrilling escape scene in the movie.
In reality the bike was a BMW R75 model that was one of the most brilliants bikes of its time. These bikes features heavy, sturdy bodies and could not be manipulated as the movie scene demanded. Thus, McQueen and his body double both opted to use a Triumph bike as a motorcycle body double to shoot the scene. Triumph bikes are renowned as superb racing bikes; and the Triumph Trophy TR6 dark painted endowed with military accessories served the purpose and was made to look like the Nazi BMW bike.
McQueen was an experienced biking enthusiast and showed his skills for the movie, but for the racy, chasing scene, the filmmakers played it safe with his body double.
1950 Triumph Thunderbird featured in The Wild One (1953)
The Wild One featuring Marlon Brando and the Triumph shot in the movie both gained iconic fame. Brando was actually a pro rider and the more interesting fact is that the Triumph Thunderbird model that was featured in the film was the actor’s personal possession.
The model was a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, powered by a 650cc twin-cylinder motor which was enlarged by 150cc displacement for the American bike market. The Wild One was the first movie where the bike’s logos were not removed and camouflaged. The funny part is, while in today’s time the bike companies will sponsor movies featuring their bikes, back then Triumph strongly objected for using the motorcycle in the movie, as it involved biker gangs.
However, this was also not an irrational thing, as the movie was banned in the UK until 1968, but the film only worked in favor of the popularity of the Triumph bikes around the world.
1977 Kawasaki KZ1000P featured in Mad Max (1979)
The famous Mad Max is a film about a chaotic future world tormented with fanatical biker gangs creating massive mayhem. The only hope of law & order remained in the hands of the few people like the overwhelming police officer Max and his motorcycle rider friend "Goose."
The biker gangs are shown to overlook authorities and getting away with it easily, excepting Goose, who goes hunting for the lawbreakers on a powerful, Kawasaki KZ1000. Goose and his café-racer styled 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 are certainly the highlights of the movie in the adrenalin pumping chasing scenes of the movie.
However, the filming was not so back in the 1970s. Some of the great facts of the movie are that it was a low-budget flick and were shot in first person and shot by daring motorbike mounted cameramen, as high budget technology was missing for the movie. Moreover, the chaos creating biker gang in the movie was a real life outlaw biker gang.
1920 Indian Scout featured in The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)
While The World's fastest Indian is much newer and is not an actual a classic film. However, the featured bike in the movie is a 1920 model, and the story of the film is from the 1960s. Thus, this bike along with the movie makes it in this list.
The movie is about a local New Zealand hero’s biography and is based on a true story. This film about willpower and the pure passion and chasing one’s dream is certainly a great one and also appeal to the global two wheeler lovers. The movie’s highlight is certainly the veteran Hollywood actor Anthony Hopkins who plays the daredevil and young at heart Burt Munro. However, another star of the movie is surely the red torpedo shaped Indian that the actor races.
In real life, Burt started out with an 1920 Indian Scout powered by a 600cc mill, but was later modified by him for the superb record breaking 950cc machine that was featured in the movie.