Hooniverse Asks – What's the Most Legendary Motorcycle in Hollywood?

The Oscars®  took place this past Sunday night, and if you watched the telecast, you probably no longer need those sleeping pills any more. The King’s Speech took home the biggest awards, but nowhere in the night was any mention made of accolades for Hollywood’s two-wheeled actors, so it’s up to us to rectify this slight and offer up nominations for Tinsel Town’s most legendary motorcycle.
Bikes in film go way back, and whether The Wild One, or Easy Rider, they have become integral to the story lines of many great films and TV shows. That being said, with the exception of The World’s Fastest Indian, I can’t think of a film or boob-tube show centered around a bike. But then, I lead a sheltered life.
On TV, there once was a show called Then Came Bronson – on which legendary stuntman Bud Ekins worked. Bronson was played by Michael Parks, and rode a ’69 Harley XLH Sportster. Even though the show lasted only a season, it seemed to have a big influence on viewers, having gained cult status. Just a few short years after that show left prime time, another iconic TV motorcycle made its debut as a hood with a heart of gold rode a Triumph TR6 into both our hearts and the Arnold’s parking lot on the show Happy Days.
Sure, motorcycles haven’t had the same kind of influence in film and TV as say, Cocaine, but they’re more socially acceptable, and look like less trouble. So which one do you think is the most legendary?
Image source: [MotART]

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44 responses to “Hooniverse Asks – What's the Most Legendary Motorcycle in Hollywood?”

  1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/photogallerys/Easy-Rider-Captain-America.jpg&quot; width="500">
    As a kid knowing nothing about motorcycles, growing up with a group of family and friends that was 100% gearhead-free, I thought this was universally accepted as the pinnacle of motorcycle design. That says a lot right there.

  2. engineerd Avatar

    I'm more of a 4-wheel guy, but the Easy Rider bike is probably the most recognizable, and famous, of the Hollywood bikes. That does not necessarily equate to "best". I mean, Roseann Barr is one of the more recognizable people in Hollywood. So, take it as you may.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pwIjwWCAQ78/TFLy6rz-PCI/AAAAAAAAJNA/TzkOosPiz2Y/s1600/Turbocycles.jpg&quot; width="500">
    What? You mean it's not the Turbocycles from Galactica 1980?

    1. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      An excellent example of how to get beat up at the biker rally.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Nah. When the baddies gang up on you, you just FLY AWAY!

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Is that the Knight Rider rip-off?

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        The very same. Bike was supposed to be able to do 300mph. I loved it.
        I was 5.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      If memory serves, it was a modified Honda XL500?

    1. jjd241 Avatar

      [youtube -3ODe9mqoDE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3ODe9mqoDE youtube]

  4. OA5599 Avatar

    [youtube Ild4QNer1w8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ild4QNer1w8 youtube]

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      My parents never bought me one of these, but I did get to play with several of them at friends' houses.
      [youtube OIdGDcWBsoc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIdGDcWBsoc youtube]

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        Oh man, those were some of my favorites back in the day! (And kinda still are…)

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    In case you like your TV motorcycle shows to be scripted…
    [youtube G9wtMQNyGSo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9wtMQNyGSo youtube]

  6. Maxichamp Avatar

    Sean Connery's bike in Never Say Never Again. Fatima Blush's red R5 Turbo was its perfect foil.

  7. $kaycog Avatar

    This is certainly not the most legendary movie motorcycle, but there were some lady motorcycle riders in the movies also. This is Ann Margret atop a Triumph Tiger T100 in "The Swinger".
    <img src="http://www.skylighters.org/amanoutoftime2/bikerchicksam1.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      …and the jacket matches the gas tank!
      Thank you, $kaycog!

    2. Eddie Haskel Avatar
      Eddie Haskel

      I forget how damn hot AM was in her prime. That right there is the shape of the bottle horny comes in.

    3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Note the addition of an electric starter so that Ann didn't have to kick the beast to life on the set.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Good idea, although with her dancer's legs, she probably could have done it quite easily.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          Actually, yes, she could do it quite easily. She is (unlike that scaredy-cat Henry Winkler) a genuine lifelong motorcyclist.
          <img src="http://www.rippin-kitten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/am_easy.jpg&quot; height="480">
          From her interview on the Larry King Show in 2001:
          LK: And do you still ride motorcycles?
          AM: I have a beautiful, brand-new one waiting for me.
          LK: Harley.
          AM: Hand-painted, lavender, with gorgeous, gorgeous daises.
          LK: Let’s just — there are so many things to talk about. But why do you ride motorcycles?
          AM: Why do you do this show?
          LK: Well, it ain’t going to send me off the cliff.
          AM: No, but don’t you love it?
          LK: Yes, I love it. But why do you love motorcycles?
          AM: It is everything. It is — I loved it since my uncle…
          LK: Did Presley get you started with this?
          AM: No, my uncle Carl from Sweden got me started.
          LK: Oh, so you go way back with motorcycles.
          AM: Yes. Yes. And then, of course, I saw “The Wild One.”
          LK: Marlon.
          AM: And I have always loved speed. I mean, the bikes, not the…
          LK: You don’t drive fast when you drive a car?
          AM: Not really.
          LK: Not really.
          AM: No, not really. You know the feeling that you have in a convertible, with the elements and everything, the little bit of danger, the speed…
          LK: So you…
          AM: Freedom, independence.
          LK: Exhilaration.
          AM: Exhilaration, yes.
          LK: And so accidents are something you accept from it, right?
          AM: There are two types of motorcycle riders: ones who have had an accident and ones who will.

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            I like her closing line about the two types of motorcycle riders. She's a real class act. This is more than likely the lavender Harley she mentioned in that interview.
            <img src="http://www.tremainedance.com/images/2011EOTY-ANNMARGRET/Ann-Margretharley500w.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    4. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      I hate myself for thinking it, but all this pic needs is a macrame top, some chocolate syrup, and some baked beans to be perfect.

  8. Tim Avatar

    Dont forget CHiPs
    [youtube VYKdayl7BHM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYKdayl7BHM youtube]

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      I prefer my Yvonne Craig's green
      <img src="http://www.threeriversonline.com/2122148786_688a3babcb.jpg"&gt;

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      Of course, Luciana Paluzzi looked good with any 2 wheeled conveyance
      <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_sU7XPiqn5dI/SevXfuTayxI/AAAAAAAABBM/7tW476ZJqN4/s400/PaluzziVespa.jpg"&gt;

  9. tonyola Avatar

    The Then Came Bronson theme song "Long Lonesome Highway" was a minor radio hit, reaching #20 on Billboard in 1970.[youtube PYKQ3fwNb0c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYKQ3fwNb0c youtube]

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I remember watching that show. The song played over the closing credits. The music for the opening credits was some theme music written for the show and played by an orchestra. Also, I seem to remember seeing a plastic model kit of the Bronson Sportster in the hobby shop I frequented back then.

  10. Maymar Avatar

    Heat Vision, of "Heat Vision and Jack" – in spite of being foiled by door knobs and being pushed over, he was still a more capable fighter than most famous motorcycles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWXe4CKKf9o

  11. Dave Avatar

    I would have to say Brando's bike in "The Wild One" or James Dean's in "Rebel Without a Cause"

  12. tonyola Avatar

    Does this count?
    <img src="http://www.digital-polyphony.com/SWSpeederBike.gif&quot; width=400>

  13. kah Avatar

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e1/Peeweebigadventure.jpg”&gt;
    Pee Wee’s bike none of the rest of these posers are honorary members of Satan's Helpers

  14. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Burt Munro with his record breaking Indian, also represented by Anthony Hopkins. (highly recommend to see this film)
    <img src="http://media.mightyape.net.nz/images/products/3169088/The-Worlds-Fastest-Indian-Burt-Munro-in-His-Own-Words-with-Bonus-DVD-3485038-5.jpeg"&gt;

  15. tonyola Avatar

    Limp-wristed it might have been, but the ad campaign was also hugely successful not only for Honda but also in re-vitalizing the entire American motorcycle market. There was even a song about these Hondas.
    [youtube WqKi_9p1zks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqKi_9p1zks youtube]

    1. BrianTheHoon Avatar

      Oh you're absolutely right and my point was not to denigrate Honda or the bike they were advertising (my first non-mini bike motorcycle was a Honda Trail 90!). Rather, the impact those in the day had on motorcycle culture when they went overboard on the whole outlaw biker thing. It all started with the infamous piece (in Life I think?) on Hollister and just went downhill from there.

  16. guest001 Avatar

    I remember the episode on the Andy Griffith show where Barney Fife picked up an old US Army WW II motorcycle with a sidecart from an auction and terrorized Mayberry with it

  17. Black Steelies Avatar

    <img src="http://www.moviemobsters.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/terminator222.jpg&quot; width="600">
    "I need your clothes, boots and your motorcycle."
    "You forgot to say please"

  18. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    By no means legendary… but the Triumph and Indian from Benjamin Button really made me want to get my motorcycle license.

  19. jhnharvy773 Avatar

    The Harley Davidson is a household name even in places where there are no serious bikers. Even an absolute layman who does not know the head or tail and motorcycle foot pegs of a bike will be able to instantly identify a Harley Davidson bike. This heavy weight cruiser has a distinctive look that renders it immediately distinguishable from the rest of the bikes milling around.