Summer’s almost here, and that means it’s time to throw on your shorts, fire up the barbecue and hang out poolside. And most importantly, time for those summer blockbusters to start hitting the theaters.
That means action: cops and robbers, chases and flips, fights and crashes. And there’s nothing like watching a motorcycle kick butt and take names, so here are five of the coolest bikes throughout big- and small-screen history.
‘The Great Escape:’ Triumph TT Special 650
You can’t talk about motorcycles without mentioning Steve McQueen, aficionado of all things fast and a one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1960s. “The Great Escape” gives McQueen ample opportunity to explore the limits of the 1962 Triumph TT Special 650. Since escaping from a band of German Nazis necessitates a fast bike, and since no escape movie would be complete without a jump scene, this one does not disappoint. Check it out and see just what you can do when a hundred Nazis are after you.
‘Mad Max:’ Kawasaki KZ-1000
No movie puts motorcycles in the spotlight quite the way Mad Max does. The movie, set in post-apocalyptic Australia, has inspired a cult following with its leathery costumes, killer chase scenes and awesome bikes. Toecutter, leader of an evil biker gang, rides one of the coolest bikes around, a Kawasaki KZ-1000. Today’s version will cost you close to $11,000. His enemy for life, Goose, also rides a Kawasaki KZ-1000 “Kwaka,” and you can see him burn some serious rubber in the movie.
‘Terminator 2:’ Harley-Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy
Only a hog will do for the best ever bad-robot-turned-good. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the second ”Terminator” installment a kinder, gentler robot. However, although the T-800 has been reprogrammed to mend its killer ways, it still has a hankering for sweet technology. This time it gets its kicks (and protects John Connor) on the Fat Boy, recalling that famous “hardtail” look of the ’60s and ’70s. Today it will run you about $17,000, but it might be worth it.
‘Dark Angel:’ Kawasaki Ninja 450 R
Possibly the hottest thing ever to mount a motorcyle, Jessica Alba from ”Dark Angel” manages to make riding look easy. Of course, genetically modified supersolider Max Guevara would know how to operate a piece of machinery like this beast, with 59 hp @ 9500 r.p.m. Its close cousin, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, will today run you between $4,000 and $4,500. The high speeds never seem to mess up her hair, either, but maybe that’s also a product of genetic manipulation.
‘Ghost Rider:’ Yamaha VMAX
Johnny Blaze might have given up his soul to the Devil, but he got a sweet bike in return. With a 1679 cc liquid-cooled DOHC V-4 and 197hp @ 9000 r.p.m., the Yamaha VMAX almost seems like it was made to carry a man of the devil. Of course, no one in the movies ever bothers with a helmet. After all, can you imagine Ghost Rider shopping for motorcycle helmets at BikeBandit.com? Perhaps having fire instead of hair removes the necessity for safety, or perhaps he just can’t ever find something as cool (hot?) as his own head.
Bottom line: Whether your preference is a WWII hero, a post-apocalypitc madman or a dude whose head sometimes bursts into flame, you’ve got to admit they’re all sporting envy-inducing bikes.