Top 10 things movies get wrong about motorcycles

Visordown picks out the most annoying mistakes films make about bikes

1. Low-siding is not a quick way to stop

Remember that bit in the motorcycle test where the examiner raised his hand and you had to throw the bike sideways, low-side and fall off? No? That’s because it never happened. If it had, we dare say it would have constituted an instant fail. It’s not part of the test because it doesn’t work. Begging the question: where did Dirty Harry learn to fling his bike on its side in the closing moments of Magnum Force?

Watch Magnum Force clip

2. Road tyres do not transmorph into knobblies

Just as well really. Think of the inconvenience. Countless touring holidays ruined by the spontaneous acquisition of motocross rubber. Not to mention the impact on the industry. It’s struggling enough without putting tyre fitters out of business. Didn’t think of that, did you, Tom Cruise, with your implausible antics and ludicrous storylines in Mission: Impossible II? 

Watch Mission: Impossible II clip 

3. Dirt bikes are not four-cylinder

Nor do they sound like multi-cylinder four-strokes, except when ridden my Michael Douglas in Black Rain. Douglas chases a gangster through a farmer’s field (a bit anti-social). Both are riding what look like Suzuki TS250Xs. They would be single-cylinder two-strokes, then. There’s obviously another chase going on nearby, just out of shot, because we can distinctly hear GSX-R1000s.

Watch Black Rain clip

4. Jumps require ramps

Evel Knievel wasn’t known for fastidious jump preparations but he at least always made sure he had a ramp. Caesars Palace with no ramp would have been an entirely different show, if equally spectacular and injurious. What we’d really like to see, though, is Vanilla Ice attempting to jump those fountains without a ramp. He manages it over a fence in Cool as Ice, after all. Go on, Vanilla. Give us a laugh.

Watch Cool as Ice clip

5. Motorcycles don't make tyre-squeal in corners

Well, they might, but only as an immediate precursor to a devastating crash, with traction lost and wheels locked. Hope as we might (and believe us we do), Pierce Brosnan does not suffer a devastating crash in Tomorrow Never Dies. The tyres of his BMW R1200C can clearly be heard to squeal as he takes a corner. He doesn’t die at all. It should be called Pierce Brosnan Never Dies.  

Watch Tomorrow Never dies clip

6. Parking isn't just a matter of getting off and walking away

There are procedures to follow. Steering locks to engage. Keys to be removed from ignitions. Disc locks or security chains to be put on. Sometimes tank bags and soggy waterproofs to be removed. Not for Garrett Hedlund in Tron: Legacy. After losing the police, he pulls up, hits a button to kill the engine, removes his helmet - without undoing a strap - and walks away, leaving his Ducati Sport Classic 1000 as a gift to thieves. He’s the reason insurance is so expensive.

Watch Tron: Legacy clip

7. Ratchet straps don't undo themselves

Trinity jumps onto a lorry carrying Ducati 996s and asks her accomplice in the Matrix for a “download to hotwire a motorcycle”. She must also get a download to make ratchet straps evaporate. There was clearly a set holding the Ducati in place, yet she starts it and wheelspins away. No good at all. We’d like to see five minutes of knuckle chafing with fiddly ratchet mechanisms, please.

Watch Matrix Reloaded clip

8. If you get hit by a lorry, you fall off

Few things a more guaranteed to knock you off a motorcycle than getting hit by a lorry. Being struck by a wrecking ball would possibly come close. We can’t think of anything else. Yet a juvenile John Connor stays on his dirt bike despite being smashed more than once from behind by a lorry in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Why didn’t the T-1000 just get a gun and shoot the little twonk? 

Watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day clip

9. You can't do a 50ft jump two-up

Not unless you want to untie a tangle of broken limbs and suspension parts afterward. Motorcycle jumps place huge stresses on body and machinery. You don’t simply look at some stairs and say to your pillion “Hold on”. "Goodbye" would be more fitting. Unless you’re Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day, who land their Ducati Hypermotard with no more than an “oomph”.

Watch Knight and Day clip

10. Motorcycles do not have 20 gears

The relevant clip may have been removed from Youtube for copyright infringement, or possibly to save the makers further embarrassment. It cannot be erased from our memories. Laurence Fishburne and some other bloke are having a drag race, strangely on a dirt track, in Biker Boyz. They open their throttles. They open them again. And again. And again. And…

Watch Biker Boyz clip

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