The "Fast & Furious" Motorcycles: Few and Far Between

Transformer bike in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) 52 photos
Photo: Universal Pictures
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It's been several months since the tenth installment of the Fast and Furious saga hit theaters and I must admit, the movie did not disappoint: it was just as bad as I expected, if not worse in some respects. Even so, it's the fifth-highest-grossing flick of the year, with over $714 million under its belt.
Still under the influence of Fast X's bad story, bad acting, and Jason Momoa's unexpectedly funny performance, I thought it would be best to have a look at what the series had to offer in terms of motorcycle treats over the years. I know that may seem a bit strange, given how Fast and Furious is all about cars and insane driving stunts, but here we are, nonetheless.

Before getting into it, though, a quick reminder of how this entire universe started. Back in 1998, a magazine called VIBE ran a story titled Racer X. Written by Kenneth Li, it told the tale of what it meant to be a quasi-legal street racer aboard Japanese-made cars in New York.

It inspired Gary Scott Thompson and Erik Bergquist to write the script for the first movie; from there, it's all ancient history, and we're still enjoying the idea's fruits.

Back to our story, I told you we're going to have a look at the two-wheeled machines that made it into the Fast and Furious movies. Given the nature of all the ten flicks so far (11, if you count the Hobbs and Shaw spinoff, and we do), it's not that big of a list, but it does pack a few surprises. So hang on to your seat and let's dive in.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Honda CR in The Fast and the Furious
Photo: Honda
It was back in 2001 when the world got to meet for the first time Dominic Toretto, Brian O'Conner, Letty, and the rest of the crew. For many of us, it was the first time we got to see on the big screen how supposedly self-taught drivers handled incredible cars like the Dodge Charger, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Toyota Supra. But, most importantly, it was a story about the birth of a family.

The idea was simple. An undercover cop had to infiltrate a group of street racers who doubled as robbers. Cop becomes infatuated with the gang he was supposed to bring down, and an important choice has to be made. The end.

Not a very alluring story, but one that for some reason stuck and was made real by both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. And it was made exciting by the cars the two, their friends, and their antagonists drove.

From the get-go, this universe established itself as one that will see a lot of cars, but not nearly enough motorcycles. Yet one bike model did make it into the fisrt movie, and it had quite the role.

I'm talking about the 1996 Honda CR that became a sort of shoot-and-run-slash-getaway-vehicle for the goons of our heroes' main antagonist, a nasty individual going by the name Johnny Tran. It's unclear what kind of bike we're talking about, with some claiming it was a CR250 and others a CR125. The people behind the movie didn't care about clearing that up, so here we are left with our little mystery.

Just to remind you, the CR is a line of motorcycles meant for off-road use and produced by the Japanese company for a long time, from 1973 to 2007. It's one of the most respected bikes in motorcross, with countless wins in the 125, 250, and 500 classes.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

In 2003 the world's favorite car movie came back as the 2 Fast 2 Furious. It featured roughly the same crew, only this time engaged in far less street racing as we understand the phenomenon and more keen on fighting crime. We did get what is likely one of the largest car scrambles we've ever seen on film, and that was something everybody liked.

The story of this second movie has Brian O'Conner infiltrating the operations of a Miami drug lord. This time, there was no Toretto in sight, as the man playing him refused to return and went on to shoot The Chronicles of Riddick instead.

Still, the flick did introduce two characters that were to become crucial for the following movies: Tyrese Gibson's Roman Pearce and Ludacris' Tej.

As usual, the flick was an incredible display of vehicular mayhem, with nameplates like the Toyota Supra, Nissan GT-R, or Honda S2000 taking center stage. Sadly for bike lovers, and our story here, there were no motorcycles featured in a way that matters in this flick.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Honda CBR125R \(2006\-2007\)
Photo: Honda
Three years after the second movie we got something that is more or less akin to a spinoff or, in hindsight, a sort of radically changed sequel that didn't really pan out as expected. None of the original team from the first two movies is this one, and the country where events unfold is very far away from U.S. shores. But the cars and soundtrack are simply to die for.

The idea behind the movie was to show a glimpse of the Japanese car culture as seen through the eyes of American Sean Boswell. And not only a glimpse into the local car culture, but also a taste of something the Japanese do incredibly well: drifting.

Although technically it is possible to do that on a bike, such maneuvers are best performed in a car, and that's why they take center stage here as well. But since the Japanese are motorcycle lovers as well, Tokyo Drift does come with its share of two-wheeled wonders, even if their role in the story is marginal at best, and are used mostly as décor. Even some Honda CBRs.

Perhaps the most important bike in the entire flick is the random custom chopper seen briefly sitting in a garage, packing two huge NOS bottles high on the frame. The details available on it are almost non-existent, except for a mention of it dating back to four years ago claiming its current location is North Alabama.

Fast & Furious (2009)

Travertson V\-Rex
The original Fast and Furious crew returned in full to the big screen in 2009 for the fourth installment of the series. Sadly, from this point on the story about a gang of street racers doing crime fighting at a street level disappeared, and we started getting the senseless exaggerations that eventually led to fighting spy rings and cyber-terrorists.

The idea of this one centered around the Toretto-O'Connor duo infiltrating the gang of a heroin importer to bring his operation down. The flick stood out thanks to an incredibly delicious chase inside a tunnel. A very far-fetched one, granted, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The cars featured in Fast & Furious were as usual many and amazing, and included Dodges, Mazdas, Nissans, Hondas, and many, many others. Motorcycles get, once more, non-existent roles in the flick.

There is however a scene where we get to see a number of bikes parked in a garage somewhere. The camera moves over them too fast for them to make a lasting impression, but one does stand out in the crowd: a Travertson V-Rex.

Travertson is a Florida-based maker of motorcycles that should have been a lot more present in our lives than it actually is. It currently list three bikes in its portfolio: the V-Rex, V-Rex 2, and Striker.

The V-Rex is an aggressively styled two-wheeler packing a Harley-Davidson Revolution engine in the frame. It's a sort of chopper-meets-V-Rod-meets-bike-of-the-future affair, and we're pretty certain it would have deserved a much bigger role in the flick.

Fast Five (2011)

Ducati Streetfighter
Photo: Ducati
The gang of driving do-gooders we were used to until 2011 expanded that year to include Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs and Gal Gadot's Gisele for the fifth movie in the series. This one was all about the Toretto unofficial family taking on a Brazilian drug lord and stealing an entire safe of his money by tying it to a couple of Dodge Chargers and dragging it through the streets of an imagined Rio de Janeiro (filming was actually done in Puerto Rico).

The new blood Johnson and Gisele brought also manifested itself to a slightly increased role for motorcycles. The Israeli actress is responsible for this, riding her way into the movie on the back of a Ducati Streetfighter. It's not a very big role for the ride, as Gisele switches to cars soon enough, but it does show a main character of the Fast universe properly riding a bike for the first time.

The Ducati Streetfighter is a bike the Italian powerhouse offers in our time in no less than five variants, including the mighty V4 Lamborghini version.

Another motorcycle model got a more active role in the flick though, namely the Yamaha WR450F. Two of them are seen during the vault heist being ridden by dirty cops as they try to stop the racing Chargers.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

2011 Harley\-Davidson XR1200X
Photo: Harley-Davidson
Come 2013 the Fast people truly entered the realm of bad screenplay. It was the film that brought back Letty, who we all knew to be dead ever since all the way back in 2009's Fast & Furious. It is also the part that introduces the Shaw family, with which we are stuck to this day.

Cars again take center stage, and we were kind of expecting that already. We get to see vehicles like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang join the usual suspects.

Gal Gadot is once again seen riding a Ducati motorcycle, this time a Monster, but the highlight when it comes to two-wheelers is the Harley-Davidson XR1200, in slightly customized form, that was ridden by Han during the highway chase.

The XR1200 is a version of Sportster that was in production from 2008 to 2013, hence all the rage back when Fast & Furious 6 was filmed. Sadly, the on-screen motorcycle didn't last long, as it was used as a launch platform for him to jump onto a Land Rover.

Furious 7 (2015)

The seventh movie in the series came in 2015 and it was supposed to be the coronation of years of on-screen racing. Instead, the flick had to be transformed into a goodbye to Paul Walker, who died in a single-vehicle collision in California in 2013.

The idea of Furious 7 was to take our crew in a fight for survival against Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw, a guy on a quest to avenge his brother, comatose after the events of the previous movie.

The no-nonsense Statham brought with him a lot of cool fight scene and even some memorable lines, but sadly for us and our purpose of being here, no motorcycle that mattered in any way for the story.

For all intents and purposes, Furious 7 is the only other movie in the series, together with 2 Fast 2 Furious, not to have a worth-discussing motorcycle presence. We did get however a Lykan HyperSport jumping between the buildings of the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Photo: BMW
By the time The Fate of the Furious hit cinema screens in 2017 it had become obvious the outlandish direction the story was beginning to take. Just remember this movie is the one where a cyber-terrorist (never thought it'd call Charlize Theron that) threatens the world order, takes control of a bunch (a very large bunch, really) of cars, and then throws a submarine at our heroes. Yes, a submarine.

The usual complement of American muscle cars gets for The Fate of the Furious some very exciting sidekicks, including Jaguars and Lamborghinis. And this time we've got motorcycles as well, and quite a number of them. Even if, again, none of them actually plays an important role in the story.

At various points in the movie, we see two-wheelers like the BMW R1200RT, the Honda V65, or the Honda CB350. Why, we even get a glimpse at a customized Harley-Davidson, but sadly all the info on the bike featured in The Fate of the Furious is non-existent.

F9: The Fast Saga (2021)

2016 Yamaha YZ450F
Photo: Yamaha
Yep, this is the one where a Pontiac Fiero gets rocket engine implants and flies into space. In the movie, we have Tokyo Drift's Lukas Black to thank for that, and in reality the screenwriters, of course. After all, you need a rocket space car to take on a terrorist who turns out to be brother to the main character.

Unlike in the previous installments of the series, screenwriters though it would be good idea to include bikes in a more prominent function. Not too prominent, but enough to make the ride noticeable. A bike is used by one of the main characters for a real action scene, not just as a means to come in front of the camera.

It's Letty Ortiz who was tasked with bringing a bike to the Fast big boys table, and the motor of choice for that was a Yamaha YZ450F. In fact, it seems the people behind the movie tended to give the ride a larger role than it actually had, as it was even featured on one of the official posters.

She uses it to try and escape John Cena's Jakob until she crashes it and has to get inside the same car with Dom. A car that would later pull a very hard to digest rope swing stunt.

The YZ450F is a motocross bike powered by a 450cc liquid-cooled engine and controlled by means of a 5-speed transmission. You can have one in the U.S. for as little as $9,899.

In a very short scene at the end of the movie, the same Letty is seen on the back of a Harley-Davidson Iron 883.

Fast X (2023)

Harley\-Davidson Pan America and Jason Momoa
Photo: Universal Pictures
It took the Fast and Furious series a total of 22 years and ten separate movies to give us a proper chase scene with motorcycles ridden by some of the main protagonists. It involved Letty, Jason Momoa's Dante Reyes, and a huge bomb ball running amok on the streets of Rome.

The bomb eventually explodes with a massive boom that seems to obliterate half the city, but strangely enough, it doesn't kill anyone. But not before Letty and Reyes chase each other on the backs of insane two-wheelers.

The bike Letty is riding is an unknown modified Honda model, made in such a way as to appear retro. It does the job of appearing vintage cool, together with its female rider, but it doesn't even come close to the impact the Harley ridden by Jason Momoa had on the viewers.

You all know Momoa has been in bed with Harley for a while now. He's not only partnering with the bike maker to sell clothes, but he also owns and modifies Milwaukee machines on his own accord.

The Harley he rides in Fast X is one unlike any other in the world, and it's based on a Pan America. As per Momoa's own admission, the way it ended up looking in the movie is the result of the bike maker and movie producers letting him "build it for my character."

And he did, so we all can now see how much he enjoyed riding it – yes, Momoa rode the bike himself for the shooting.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Triumph Speed Triple RS Hobbs and Shaw
Photo: Universal Pictures
In the years that went by between The Fate of the Furious and F9: The Fast Saga the world got the one and only true spinoff of this universe, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. It starred the Rock, Statham, and an Idris Elba with superhuman powers.

Way before the main movies gave motorcycles a chance in Fast X, Hobbs & Shaw brought to the screen for the first time a number of motorcycles that played a relatively important role in one of the many chase scenes of the flick.

In this case we were treated to modified Triumph Speed Triple RS bikes that not only could travel fast, but also transformed, for reasons that had to do with avoiding slamming the rider's head against a semi.

There is at least one other Fast movie coming our way, so it's likely this list will get a few more motorcycle entries soon. Stay tuned.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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