Let’s be honest. Riding a motorbike is cool. There’s something about motorbikes that turn heads wherever you go. They combine the youthful rebellion of the 1950s with the spirit of freedom made famous by Che Guevara’s The Motorcycle Diaries. Whatever your reasons for taking to two wheels, there’s a definite sense of empowerment that you get from it. However, no matter how cool you think you are, these guys will always give you something to aspire towards. These are the biker gods.
Before his public outbursts of insanity, Charlie Sheen cut an imposing ‘bad buy’ image in the 90s. Beyond the Law has Sheen as an undercover cop looking to infiltrate a biker gang, and shows the levels he has to go to maintain his disguise and gain the bikers’ trust. The movie takes a good look at American biker gang culture, and Sheen plays the cop/criminal balance well. His ride is a Harley Davidson Softail Custom.
You can tell that you’re in for a treat when your first scene shows Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper riding along the highways of America to the tune of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”. If you wanted the freedom of motorcycle culture summed up in a single scene, this is it. Fonda and Hopper are on the wrong side of the law and attempt to make a drop off of contraband, but the movie is very much about the journey and not the destination. Both Fonda and Hopper are riding Harley Davidson Panheads.
Marlon Brando – The Wild One
If you think that James Dean is the epitome of rebelliousness, think again. James Dean idolised Marlon Brando, and when you watch The Wild One you can see where he got the inspiration for his ‘rebel without a cause’ image. Brando plays the leader of a motorcycle gang called the Black Rebels who cause all kinds of trouble in a small town in California. Marlon Brando used his own Triumph 6T Thunderbird in the film, and he was an avid motorcycle fan throughout his career.
Steve McQueen – The Great Escape
Even people who haven’t seen The Great Escape know about that famous scene where Steve McQueen jumps the fence on his bike. It’s an iconic and triumphant scene showing the freedom and independence that a motorcycle offers. Aside from the fact that McQueen wasn’t allowed to perform the famous jump scene himself due to insurance concerns, he did all other stunts himself and was heavily involved in all the biking scenes in the film. McQueen’s ride of choice in this was a Triumph TR6 650 Trophy.
Evel Knievel – Viva Knievel!
One of the greatest and most well-known motorcycling icons, Evel Knievel represents the pure adrenaline rush of riding a motorcycle. Knievel plays himself (of course, why would he want to be anyone else?) as he travels to a show in Mexico, all the while being followed by a sinister rival who wants to destroy Knievel. As a professional stuntman, almost all the stunts in Viva Knievel! were performed by Evel himself on his own motorcycle. Like McQueen, the producers were worried about the insurance issues if Knievel injured himself on set, so the most death-defying stunts were performed by a double, although the idea of a stuntman having a stunt double seems kind of ludicrous.
This guest post was written by Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for motorcycle insurance comparison site, Confused.com. As well as all things on two and four wheels, he is an avid movie fan and will frequently point out trivial bits of information, even when no one is listening.
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