Best-selling bikes | Top 10 Movie Star Motorcycles
We all love a bike chase or motorcycle action sequence from a blockbuster movie, right?
And with cinemas reopening and the recent release of the (highly) anticipated sequel to Top Gun: Maverick – where Kawasaki returns to a starring role 36 years after his scene stealing performances in the original Top Gun – there’s no better time to ask: what was the best?
If we go straight back to the original 1953 hooligan biker film, “The Wild One” by Marlon Brando, there are more than a few to choose from, of course we have the hallowed Bond motorcycles and the many Mission motorcycles : Impossible movies that often ended up in a pile of smoke (RIP).
Let’s face it, motorcycles in movies look cool, so even though we can’t do our stunt the same way, logic dictates that we look as cool as Tom Cruise, Scarlett Johansson and Marlon Brando. . In theory anyway…
Can we get an autograph please?
Kawasaki H2 – Top Gun: Maverick 
While we may not have thought we “needed” a sequel to Top Gun some 36 years after the first, the much-hyped “Maverick” turned out to be arguably one of the best films ever. of a generation that holds up more than the iconic original…even down to the sweaty homoerotic beach scenes. Hmm.
A film that does more than just pay homage to the original with plenty of flashbacks, recreated scenes and a suggestion that filming only ever took place at dusk, you’re only seconds away of Maverick before the stage-stealing Kawasaki GPz900 makes another appearance. Strangely, neither he nor Cruise seem to have aged a day…
However, while Cruise’s face seems to defy time and gravity, he’s at least moved on with the times by investing in the GPz900’s spiritual successor, the Kawasaki H2, which makes enough appearances across the film to leave his marketing team foaming with joy.
Its predecessor aside, we can think of no other motorcycle on sale today that better represents a fighter jet on two wheels…
Triumph Scrambler 1200 – No time to die 
Apparently there’s no time to die, but we needed plenty of time to bring this latest, much-delayed offering from the James Bond series to the screen.
Still, the wait was certainly worth it because (no spoilers) 007 saves the world once again in a heart-pounding thriller of action sequences, horticultural terrorism and boundary-pushing stunts…especially on two wheels as he (well, his stunt doubles) traverse Matera’s twisting, walled lanes in a variety of gravity-defying ways aboard a Triumph Scrambler 1200, a limited edition of which has also been released.
Itives down to the “shaken, not stirred” character with lots of 007 references, some clever embroidery and lots of brushed aluminum…plus of course the classic look of the original and its ability to go anywhere.
The Triumph Tiger 900 Rally also makes an appearance as a “bad guy’s bike”, making light work of the gnarly terrain…even if it won’t beat a ball.
CCM Spitfire – Black Widow 
Black Widow is Marvel Studios’ latest installment in its wildly successful Avengers superhero series, providing a primary vehicle for Natasha Romanoff – aka Scarlett Johansson – as the eponymous Black Widow to take center stage.
When she’s not fighting bad guys and girls, jumping off all sorts of objects, or joking around with her witty sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), it turns out she’s piloting something just as alive, a CCM Spitfires.
The specialist British brand – based in Bolton – has earned a reputation for retro-infused models, dripping with chrome and attitude, making it the perfect fit for Black Widow.
To coincide with the launch of the film, the Spitfire Blackout has been launched as a tribute to its leading lady and is on sale for £8,995.
Harley-Davidson LiveWire – Avengers: Age of Ultron 
With more spin-offs than a tennis tournament, motorcycles make numerous appearances in the Avengers universe, but only Harley-Davidson landed an appearance in the big multi-character Age of Ultron.
While HD is well represented historically through the Captain America series set in the WWII era, the modern(ish) era of Ultron demanded a new generation of Harleys for what would become the one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
Enter stage right into the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. While the electric roadster has become familiar to us perhaps more for what it stands for than seeing it on the road, so imagine the notion of Harley’s electric prototype appearing on the big screen over three years earlier.
It really was a seemingly unfathomable future at the time…although the future is now and the LiveWire hasn’t quite rode the bike into a new era of saving the planet the way the Avengers did.
Ducati 998 – Matrix Reloaded 
The Matrix returned to screens in 2004 with a bigger budget and even bigger special effects, which featured one of Hollywood’s most impressive and action-packed freeway chase scenes at the time. she had actually built from scratch just for this scene.
Bullets fly and cars roll through the air…despite this, the traffic continues, which is convenient for Trinity as she takes the opportunity to jump off a flyover and land on a transporter truck full of Ducatis. What luck?!
With a pack of awesome Ducati 998 sportbikes around us, we’d be tempted to throw a leg over them too, but frankly, we’d never look as cool or as slick as Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity as she presses the accelerator and weaves her way through the traffic. Ducati will then launch a special edition Matrix in black-green colors.
Kawasaki ZZR 250 – Kill Bill Vol.1 
Before a cat-suited Trinity looked home on a Ducati, Uma Thurman was unmistakable in a yellow all-in-one in Quentin Tarantino’s epic Kill Bill movie triology.
Each scene is meticulously detailed for heightened effect and for the scenes set in Japan, you can’t take your eyes off the neon lights and Gran Turismo-esque backdrop. In one scene, Thurman rides a Kawasaki ZZR 250 that matches his all-around “leathers,” turning bad heads on Yamaha Fazers in the process.
It’s not a long scene but it’s one that looks glorious.
Triumph Speed Triple/955 – M:I II Mission Impossible 2 
Few major movie franchises have featured (and destroyed) more motorcycles in the past 20 or so years than Mission: Impossible – which probably has more than a little to do with the fact that after the original in 1996, the series was also produced by star Tom Cruise… who just happens to be a bike freak.
Unsurprisingly, there have been major bike streaks in every M:I since, most recently using BMW S1000RRs (one raced by BSB racer Jenny Tinmouth) in 2015’s ‘Rogue Nation’ and both a Triumph 800 Tiger (again ridden by Tinmouth) and a BM RnineT in “Fallout” in 2018.
There are also more motorbikes promised in next year’s final episode with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage appearing to show filming and some wild stunts, including one involving a Honda MX, cliff edge, ramp and dive.
Of them all though, arguably the greatest (and dumbest) two-wheeled co-star show is the Triumph Speed Triple and Daytona duel starring in 2000s M:I II with a then-aged Cruise 38 years old exercising his usual composure behind the handlebars.
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Featuring what many consider to be the most famous and spectacular motorcycle action sequences of all, Terminator 2 is one of the few sequels considered a better movie than the first.
If you don’t know the plot, here’s a very brief synopsis, the cyborg Terminator (but this time a good one) played by Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives naked from the future in contemporary LA, quickly grabs a biker’s clobber and wheels and drives off to save a teenager John Conner – you know the story by now.
Even better, while being chased by the (evil) Terminator T-1000, Arnie quickly jumps his Fat Boy into a dry Los Angeles canal and attempts to flee the pursuit truck.
Stunts and cables added artistic license to Fat Boy’s agility as Big Arn goes from bad to good, but it’s an impressive sight nonetheless.
Kawasaki GPz900R – Top Gun (1986)
Tom Cruise is back here for arguably his most iconic movie role yet as he plays “Maverick”, a fighter pilot who turns the volleyball bravado, tension and competitiveness up to 11.
Naturally, he has the wheels to go with his “pet jet” with a handsome Kawasaki GPz900R chosen as an accompaniment to terribly cool motorbikes against the backdrop of windswept beaches and scorched sunsets.
It provided invaluable publicity to Kawasaki, not least because it would not have been the result of a product placement deal, but was simply picked and bought as is.
A sequel that no one expected to see in the pipeline some 35 years later – to be called Top Gun: Maverick – will see Tom Cruise get acquainted with Kawasaki machines once again, this time the supercharged Ninja H2.
Yamaha XT250 – Rambo First Blood 
Another film brimming with machismo to ensure the inclusion of a motorbike to match the image, Sylvester Stallone rides a Yamaha XT 250 in Rambo First Blood.
We won’t spoil the plot, but suffice it to say the anti-hero Stallone is wringing his neck, although the filmmakers have somewhat oddly chosen to give the on-screen XT 250 four-stroke the soundtrack. of the DT 250 two-stroke. So why not just use a Yamaha DT instead…?
Additional reporting by Ollie Barstow