You remember ‘Mad Max’, don’t you? Of course, you do, or it’s very likely you wouldn’t have paused to read this article. But some of you may be unfamiliar with the futuristic action movies that began with ‘Mad Max’ in 1979 and starred a young Mel Gibson in the starring role. For those who don’t have a clue, here’s a quick run-down:
In a future world a cop gets killed by a crazy biker. To make a long story short, the guy escapes custody, and Max ( a police officer) is assigned to track him down, which he does, but the culminating chase scene leading to capture ends in the death of the wanted man. Now the biker’s gang is angry and they have a vendetta against Max, but we won’t give away the main details and blow it for you. Instead, we’ll just let you know that there is a lot of motorcycle action in the films, which make the action scenes even more fun than they would be without. If curiosity is getting the best of you, stream the movie.
Now, back to the topic: The bikes. So, there are a total of five movies in the franchise (one is due to be released in 2022) and there are many bikes to choose from when compiling a list of the best. Now, you may have noticed in the movies that you aren’t really sure what they’re riding, especially if you don’t know your motorcycles…but never fear! That’s where we come in. We’ve decided to help by giving you five of the best bikes from this franchise, thereby fulfilling both your need to know and the need to do some healthy reminiscing, which we encourage. But first, here are the five ‘Mad Max’ movies in the franchise:
• Mad Max (1979)
• Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
• Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
• Mad Max: Fury Road (Max played by Tom Hardy) (2015)
• Furiosa (due for release in 2022)
Anyone who is a fan of action has seen as many of these films as possible to date, but it’s likely they have no idea about the bikes, so let’s get into it. The following list is compiled from the first four movies only, for obvious reasons, and they are numbered down from number five to number one. Read on the discover the five best motorcycles from the Mad Max movies:
5. The Yamaha YZ (and other customized dirt bikes rode by the Rock Rider gang)
In the film the Rock Riders are a gang of bad guys, just to keep it simple. Anyway, they all road bikes, but the bikes they rode were pretty much nothing more than dirt bikes with a lot of makeup on, so to speak. With that being said, they were very cool, especially to the younger set of Mad Max fans…they were zippy maneuverable, and they had eye-catching designs. We chose these as number five because of those two things, plus the fact that anyone who saw ‘Mad Max’ would remember them well.
4. The Kawasaki 900 or 1000 (Rode by ‘Wez’ in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)
Two bikes were used for the character Wez, who was a member of the gang Lord Humungus’ Marauders, to ride on in the movie…the 900 and 1000 by Kawasaki, but they were dressed up to look the same. It was equipped with a Craig Vetter fairing, and the bike’s general design was inspired by Suzuki Katana, which happened to be a very new release at that time. The bike was more distinctive than the actual character who rode it, which made that character distinguishable to viewers.
3. The Black Z1000 (Rode by the character Toecutter in ‘Mad Max’)
The character ‘Toecutter’ was the leader of the outlaw biker gang in the original Mad Max movie, and he also managed to land a different role in ‘Fury Road’, but that’s beside the point. As Toecutter, actor Hugh Keays-Byrne rode the black Z1000 that fans can easily remember. This particular bike featured a La Parisienne fairing, setting it apart from the bike rode by Goose (discussed soon). There were a total of 13 bikes used just for this one character, all of which had to be modified with that particular fairing, brining good business to La Parisienne.
2. 2007-2008 Yamaha R1 (rode by Max in ‘Fury Road’)
The fact is (for those who don’t know), Max didn’t ride a motorcycle in the first three films. He actually drove a Ford Falcon ‘cop car’. But in ‘Fury Road’ actor Tom Hardy had the pleasure that Mel Gibson didn’t get. Truth be told, the bike’s model is actually speculated. Action scenes with this particular bike were considered some of the best of the franchise.
1. The Kawasaki Z1000 (rode by the character ‘Goose’ in ‘Mad Max’
The character Goose was best friend to Max and an officer in the ‘Main Force Patrol’; he rode the number one bike on our list….an iconic Z1000. The bike was actually 1977 model Z1000, and it too had La Parisienne fairings. Goose wound up being attacked by Toecutter’s gang at a brutal level, but until then he rode that bike. It’s great futuristic design reminds us future people of our superbikes of today, and it was enough to catch the eye of every testosterone-filled male in the theater. This is why Goose’s bike, the Z1000, makes number one on our list.
Hopefully this list brought back some memories, but most of all we wanted to just take a moment to recognize the bikes they used and who rode them. For the times, they were some pretty cool two-wheelers, but today most wouldn’t say much about them. If you’re in the latter group, you should definitely make an effort to see the movies. Hopefully you’ll get the vibe all of us got when we watched. Maybe you’ll even be able to overlook the passage of time and simply love the bikes. But most everyone agrees, either way, they are worth checking out.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith