While we were choosing the most badass motorcycles from sci-fi movies, the suggestions came faster than a 74-Z speeder and with more authority than a Lawmaster. In the end, what we originally intended to be a “top 10” list quickly grew to a “top 14.” If we included television shows — looking at you, Battlestar Galactica — the list could have easily grown longer. Either way, sit back and check out some of the more memorable motorcycles from science fiction (clips included)
Stolen 1990 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the 1991 sequel to 1984’s original Terminator, both directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In T2, Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character must protect a 10-year-old boy, John Connor (Edward Furlong). After landing in a parking lot on Earth, Schwarzenegger finds clothing and transportation in the form of 1990 Harley-Davidson Fatboy at a nearby biker bar.
Directed by Pete Travis, 2012’s Dredd starred Karl Urban as a police officer with the power to make judgments as he saw fit in the pursuit of criminals. The Lawmaster, Dredd’s motorcycle, was built on a Suzuki GSX 750 with an extended chassis. The Lawmaster in the Stallone-starring Judge Dredd, was too overbuilt to steer so the later film constructed a bike the actor could actually pilot, according to the Lawmaster Wiki.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
It turns out the affectionately known “speeder bikes” have an in-canon designation! Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) rode and were chased by Stormtroopers through the forests of Endor’s moon on these iconic speeders in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The Dark Knight (2008)
In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Christian Bale’s Batman drove the BatPod while in pursuit of the Joker (Heath Ledger). The BatPod is armed with front-mounted cannons, machine guns, and grappling hooks.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
Tron: Legacy (2010)
Two motorcycles star in Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy. The film starts off with Sam Flynn cruising the real world on his Ducati Sport 100. As cool as it is, in the virtual world, the Light Cycle racer is the real star. On their apparent 5th-generation, these vehicles bear a much closer resemblance to real motorcycles.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10
Katsuhiro Ôtomo directed 1988’s Akira. In the animated film Shotaro Kaneda, the hero fights a psychotic villain threatening Neo-Tokyo. Kaneda’s bike was not real, although some have suggested the Honda NM4 was inspired by the manga moto.
Tom Cruise’s custom Honda Folding Dirt Bike
Tom Cruise famously does his own stunts, including motorcycle riding, in his films. In 2013’s Oblivion, directed by Joseph Kosinski, Cruise, playing the part of Jack, unfolds a dual sport bike. According to Motorcycle-usa.com, the folding dirt bike was based on a Honda CRF450X.
Vampire-hunting Jet Bike
If you’re going to hunt vampires, what better ride than a jet-bike built for the task? In Priest, directed in 2011 by Scott Stewart, Paul Bettany plays the title role, hunting vampires to rescue his niece even though the church told him not to. Priest rides a jet-powered bike with drag race tires on each end, according to Motorcycle News. The bike, which wasn’t really jet-powered, was based on a Suzuki Gladius 650.
Gun Leg on a chopped Harley-Davidson
Planet Terror (2007)
Cherry Darling, played by Rose McGowan in Director Robert Rodriquez’s 2007 Grindhouse film Planet Terror, lost a leg in a terrible accident. Her choice of a machine gun for a prosthesis, hence her nickname “Gun Leg,” defines her character and the zombie film. Darling’s ex-boyfriend Wray, played by Freddy Rodriquez, rides a slightly chopped Harley-Davidson with Gun Leg riding backward on the passenger seat so she can keep shooting.