And the award goes to... | Top 10 Movie Star Motorcycles

Cool looking, perfect getaway machines and stunt stars (Tom Cruise will testify). Forget the headliners, check out these superstar Movie Star Motorcycles

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We all love a bike chase or motorcycle action sequence in a blockbuster movie, don’t we? 

And with the re-opening of cinemas and the recent release of (very) long awaited Top Gun: Maverick sequel - where Kawasaki reprises a starring role 36 years on from its scene stealing performance in the original Top Gun - there’s no better time to ask: which was the best?

If we go right back to the original hooligan biker movie, Marlon Brando’s 1953 ‘The Wild One’, there’s more than a few to choose from, them of course we have the hallowed Bond bikes and the many motorcycles in Mission: Impossible flicks that often ended up in a smokey heap (RIP).

Let’s face it, motorcycles in movies look cool, so while we may not be able to get our stunt on in quite the same manner, logic dictates we’d 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 [2022]

While we may not have thought we 'needed' a sequel to Top Gun some 36 years after the first, the much-hyped 'Maverick' has turned out to be arguably one of the finest action films of a generation that more than stands up to the iconic original... even down to sweaty homoerotic beach scenes. Ahem.

A film that pays more than just a homage to the original with numerous throwbacks, recreated scenes and a suggestion that fiming only ever took place around dusk, you're just seconds into Maverick before the scene-stealing Kawasaki GPz900 makes another appearance. Eerily, neither it nor Cruise appear to have aged a day...

However, while Cruise's face seems to defy time and gravity, he's at least moved with the eras by investing in the GPz900's spiritual successor, the Kawasaki H2, which makes enough appearances through the film to leave its marketing team frothing with glee.

Its predecessor aside, we can't think of any other motorcycle on sale today that better represents a fighter jet on two wheels... 

Triumph Scrambler 1200 - No Time to Die [2021]

Apparently there is No Time to Die but we needed plenty of time for this much delayed latest offering from the James Bond series to hit the screen.

Nevertheless, the wait was certainly worth it as (no spoilers) 007 saves the world once more in a pulsating thriller of action-sequences, horticultural terrorism and limit-pushing stunts... not least on two wheels as he (well, his stunt doubles) traverse the winding walled lanes of Matera in various gravity-defying ways aboard a Triumph Scrambler 1200, a limited edition of which was released too.

Itives up to the ‘shaken, not stirred’ character with plenty of 007 references, some smart embroidering and plenty of brushed aluminium… plus of course the original’s classic looks and go-anywhere ability.

The Triumph Tiger 900 Rally also makes an appearance as the 'baddies bike', making light work of the gnarly terrain... even if it won't quite beat a bullet.

CCM Spitfire - Black Widow [2021]

Black Widow is Marvel Studios’ latest instalment in its hugely successful Avengers superhero series, providing a lead vehicle for Natasha Romanoff - aka Scarlett Johansson - as the eponymous Black Widow to take centre stage.

When she is not fighting bad guys and girls, leaping off all manner of items or quipping with her wit-aplenty sister Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), it transpires she is riding something equally lively, a CCM Spitfire.

The specialist British marque - based in Bolton - has carved a reputation for retro-infused models, dripping in chrome and attitude, making it the perfect fit for Black Widow. 

To coincide with the launch of the film, the Spitfire Blackout was launched as a tribute to its leading lady, and is on sale at £8,995

Harley-Davidson LiveWire - Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015]

With more spin-offs than a tennis tournament, motorcycles make numerous appearances across the The Avengers universe, but it is only Harley-Davidson that landed a cameo in the big multi-character Age of Ultron.

While H-D is well represented historically through the Captain America series set in WWII times, the modern day (ish) Age of Ultron demanded a new generation of Harley for what would become one of the highest grossing movies of all time.

Enter stage right the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. While the electric roadster has become familiar to us perhaps more for what it represents more than seeing them on the road, so imagine the notion of the electric Harley prototype popping up on the big screen more than three years earlier.

It really was a seemingly unfathomable future at the time… though the future is now and the LiveWire hasn’t quite led motorcycling into a new era of saving the planet Avengers-style.

Ducati 998 - Matrix Reloaded [2004]

The Matrix returned to screens in 2004 with a bigger budget and even bigger special effects, which at the time featured one of Hollywood's most impressive and action-packed chase scenes across an highway it actually constructed from scratch just for this scene.

Bullets fly and cars are barrel-rolled through the air... despite this, the traffic keeps on moving, which is handy for Trinity as she uses the opportunity to leap off a flyover and land on a transporter truck filled with Ducatis. What luck?!

With a pack of gorgeous Ducati 998 sportsbikes surrounding us, we'd be tempted to throw a leg over one too but frankly we'd never look as cool or as slick as Carrie-Ann Moss' Trinity as she pins the throttle and weaves her was through the traffic. Ducati would go on to launch a Matrix special edition in the black-green colours.

Kawasaki ZZR 250 - Kill Bill Vol.1 [2003]

Before a catsuited Trinity looked at home on  Ducati, Uma Thurman was unmistakable in a yellow all-in-one in Quentin Tarantino's epic Kill Bill triology of films.

Every scene is meticulously detailed to heightened effect and for the scenes spent in Japan you can't take your eyes away from the neon lights and Gran Turismo-esque backdrop. In one scene Thurman cruises up on a Kawasaki ZZR 250 that matches his multi-purpose 'leathers', turning the wrong 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 [2000]

Few major movie franchises have featured (and destroyed) more motorbikes over the last 20 years or so than Mission: Impossible – which probably has more than a little to do with the fact that, after the original in 1996, the series has also been produced by star Tom Cruise… who happens to be a bike nut. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly there have been major bike sequences in every M:I since, most recently using BMW S1000RRs (one ridden 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 2018’s ‘Fallout’. 

There are more motorcycles promised in next year’s latest instalment too with plenty of behind the scenes footage appearing to show filming and some wild stunts, including one involving a Honda MX, a cliff-edge, a ramp and a plunge. 

Of them all though, arguably the greatest (and daftest) two-wheel co-star spectacle is the duelling Triumph Speed Triple and Daytona featuring in 2000’s M:I II with a then mere 38-year old Cruise exerting his usual brooding cool behind the handlebars.

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy - Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Featuring what many consider possibly the most famous and spectacular movie motorcycle action sequences of all, Terminator 2 is one of the few sequels considered a better film than the first.

If you don’t know the plot, here’s a very brief summary, cyborg Terminator (but this time a good one) played by Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives naked from the future in contemporary LA, promptly pinches a biker’s clobber and wheels and sets off to save an adolescent John Conner – you know the story by now. 

Best of all, while being chased down by the (bad) Terminator T-1000, Arnie promptly hops his Fat Boy into a dry LA canal and attempts to flee the chasing truck. 

Stunts and cables added some artistic licence to the Fat Boy’s agility as Big Arn goes from baddie to goodie, but it’s an impressive spectacle nonetheless 

Kawasaki GPz900R - Top Gun (1986)

Tom Cruise is back here for arguably his most iconic movie role to date where he plays ‘Maverick’, fighter pilot that ramps the bravado, tension and volleyball competitiveness up to 11.

Naturally, he has the wheels to go with his ‘company jet’ with a beautiful Kawasaki GPz900R chosen as the achingly cool motorcycles accompaniment set to the background of windswept beaches and burnt sunsets. 

It provided some priceless publicity for Kawasaki, not least because it was reportedly not the result of a product placement deal, but was simply chosen and purchased as is.

A sequel nobody expected to be in the pipeline some 35 years later - to be named Top Gun: Maverick - will see Tom Cruise reacquaint himself with Kawasaki machinery again, this time the supercharged Ninja H2.

Yamaha XT250 - Rambo First Blood [1982]

Another movie oozing with machismo so as to ensure the inclusion of a motorcycle to fit the image, Sylvester Stallone climbs aboard a Yamaha XT 250 in Rambo First Blood.

We won’t spoil the plot but suffice to say anti-hero Stallone wrings its neck, though somewhat bizarrely film-makers chose to give the four-stroke XT 250 on screen the soundtrack from the two-stroke DT 250. So why not just use a Yamaha DT instead…?

Additional reporting by Ollie Barstow