There have been more motorcycles in movies than we can count. But only a handful of the scenes have been so epic that we can’t ever forget them.
Some are from old Hollywood classics while others are from modern day blockbusters. There are the ones most memorable for breakneck action sequences. And then there are the ones that are just plain funny.
Curious which motorcycle scenes made the list? Read on for our top 11!
1. Pulp Fiction
“Zed’s dead baby!” Bruce Willis has just escaped a dungeon of sadists, a killer crime boss, and is now trying to hurry his wife into leaving. But she’s busy asking about the chopper he’s on, as it clearly wasn’t his.
The 1986 Harley Davidson Super Glide was christened with the name “Grace” across the tank. There were actually two different versions of the chopper used in the film. Each has a custom tank and dual air intake covers.
2. The Great Escape
Steve McQueen will always be the ultimate rider when it comes to rebel motorcycle riders pushing the limit. In the 1963 film the Great Escape, he plays a prisoner of war in WWII.
He eventually makes an escape attempt where he rides a motorcycle to freedom. He starts by speeding through town attracting the wrong kind of attention.
This leads to an all-out chase across the countryside. He eventually realizes that he must make an epic jump over the wood and barbed wire fence.
Unfortunately, he didn’t escape as he and the motorcycle slid into a second barbed wire fence. Ultimately, he must accept defeat and surrender once again to his captors.
3. Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade
The last crusade is a favorite in the Indiana Jones franchise. Not just with fans, but also the director Steven Spielberg and the lead Harrison Ford.
The scene where Harrison Ford and Sean Connery escape the Nazis wasn’t even supposed to be in the movie. Thankfully Spielberg thought the film needed more action.
Which means viewers are now treated to a motorcycle chase with Ford astride the motorcycle and Connery in a sidecar.
Shout out to another Indiana Jones movie, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While not as loved, it too features an epic motorcycle chase scene. In this one, a Springer Softail has been customized to look old and used.
Shia LaBeouf rescues Harrison Ford and proceeds to race across the campus of Marshall College. He then braves the wrath of the librarians by riding the bike through the library.
4. Jurassic World
Chris Pratt, motorcycles, and dinosaurs, what isn’t to like about this movie?! The Triumph Scrambler isn’t the coolest of bikes, but it tried hard to keep up with Pratt’s rugged manliness.
It also wasn’t realistic in the role of a bike that an island theme park would buy for daily use. There are plenty of other crossover bikes that would have performed the job much better.
At one point the raptors get released and Pratt is on the chase through the forest. He eventually catches up to them, bobbing and weaving obstacles as he goes.
Don’t hope to buy a movie scrambler though. Triumph custom built the one from the movie. So you’ll only be able to get hold of their standard stock version.
5. Terminator 2 Judgment Day
When it comes to one of the ultimate movie bad asses, only the most bad ass bike will do. When the movie was first released, that bike was a Harley Davidson Fat Boy. Apparently only a Harley could handle a killer cyborg from the future.
Be sure to not miss the scene where he jumps canals while using his 12 gauge shotgun to fire at a semi truck. That canal jump was almost real, thanks to cables. A real Harley Davidson Fat Boy is far too heavy and doesn’t have the suspension to make that jump.
So movie makers suspended the bike by cables. This helped remove about two-thirds of the weight. This let them film the bike actually making the jump while not destroying the bike.
6. Ghost Rider
There isn’t anything more epic than a movie where the main character is a motorcycle stuntman. In Ghost Rider, Nicholas Cage plays Johnny Cage.
When he was younger, he made a deal with the devil and sold his soul. Thanks to that deal he became a famous motorcycle stuntman. But now he must fight for the life of a loved one.
Then the end of the film culminated in an epic ride across the desert with wheels ablaze. Obviously, a bulk of the Panhead Chopper is CG, but does that really matter?
Rumor has it the skull tricked out chopper was a remake inspiration of Peter Fonda’s bike from Easy Rider.
7. Wild Hogs
Okay, so all of the other scenes on this list show expert riders successfully maneuvering their bike at high rates of speed. Well, not this movie.
The most epic scene from this movie is when William H. Macy loses control of his motorcycle. He looks right while the Harley Davidson XL1200C Sportster goes left.
He bobs and weaves on the grass center median of the road and thinks he’s safe. Then mid-celebration a sign gets the better of him and he’s on the ground.
8. James Bond Skyfall
Daniel Craig doesn’t disappoint as Bond in Skyfall with an epic race through the city on a Honda CRF250R. This motocrosser makes sense as it traverses the city rooftops, streets, and buildings.
There were actually two bikes used in the movie. There was Craig’s street merchant bike, and a “police bike”.
Honda later donated the Bond motorcycle from the movie to BBC’s annual fundraiser to raise money for children in need.
9. Mad Max Fury Road
One of the newer movies on this list, Mad Max delivers non stop action wrapped up in a sci-fi film. Fury Road is about a woman who rebels against the post-apocalyptic ruler in Australia.
Max gets involved and things get interesting. All of the bikes look like they have seen better days, but isn’t that to be expected?
This is the first movie in the franchise where Max gets aboard a motorcycle. About time right? Sure it was fleeting but it was totally worth it to see Max race through the desert on the Yamaha R1.
Viewers shouldn’t feel bad if they didn’t recognize it though. It was covered in carpet.
The entire movie played true to life with bikes from all walks of life. Viewers will see Honda, Yamaha, and BMW. Though most people probably won’t recognize most of them.
With their post-apocalyptic makeover, you may not want to mod your bike in this style, but there are plenty of other mods that you can get inspired to do.
Most people think of that iconic “motorcycle” with the hollow wheels. But that isn’t a motorcycle, and those scenes don’t compare to the epic Ducati Sport Classic 100 scenes.
These scenes are some of the most beautiful motorcycles cinematography produced. The imagery is of a Ducati being used to evade a motorcycle cop. But it’s a hypnotic experience as viewers become entranced into the serene cinematography.
Too bad Ducati totally botched the marketing opportunity of it all. The scene was one of the best commercials for Ducati out there.
Yet by the time the movie came out, Ducati had stopped production on the Sport Classic 1000. So moviegoers weren’t able to buy the machinery that inspired them.
11. Matrix Reloaded
Picture this, a Ducati is on a transport truck, just riding down the highway. Then to the beat of throbbing techno music, Trinity hops onto the truck and starts it up.
Soon she’s flying over the front of the truck and the wild ride starts. She evades police while weaving through traffic heading in the wrong direction.
Ducati was smart with this film, releasing a limited production special edition motorcycle to coincide with the movie. The bike featured a dark green paint to match the movie version of the bike.
To make the scene, a crew had to build 1.5 miles of fake freeway. They chose a decommissioned Naval Air Station for its old runways.
These movies are all about fantasy, so of course, they have epic heart stopping motorcycle scenes. Some scenes are epic for their speed, others for their unbelievable jumps. While others just make us go “ouch!”
While it’s fun to watch these scenes, don’t try them at home. Most of them were accomplished through the help of a little motorcycle movie magic.