If you are reading this, there is a better-than-average chance that you not only know who Wolverine is, but you are likely to be something of a fan, as well. If not, you are likely a fan of motorcycles, and Wolverine’s motorcycle is exactly what this piece is all about. But some of you may have stopped to read for the motorcycle lure but have no idea who, or what, Wolverine is. So, before we dive into his bike, let’s take a quick look at the character known as Wolverine.
‘Wolverine’, also known as James Howlett, is a comic book character from Marvel Comics. He was created by Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, and Len Wein, the series writer. Also known by the names ‘Weapon X’ and ‘Logan’, Wolverine was a member of the team of mutants known as the ‘X-Men’, and was, according to Wikipedia, in possession of ‘animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, a powerful regenerative ability known as the ‘healing factor’, and three retractable claws in each hand’; the latter attribute is one of his main trademarks, along with his sharp-lined haircut.
But even though Wolverine has all of these cool, mutation-based strengths, he couldn’t fly. In the movies he typically had another mode of transportation. Let’s take a closer look at them, shall we?
The Bike from the Movie “Wolverine”
Wolverine rode a bike in the movie based on his character, ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, which is not the main motorcycle of focus here. Regardless, we felt it was necessary to fill you in just a tad on this particular bike, thereby making it easier for you to differentiate between the two. After all, they are two vastly different motorcycles indeed.
In the movie about this character, actor Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine, rode a Ducati Diavel Cromo superbike. Now, a superbike is usually a high-speed, aerodynamic racer that can easily be identified by both its sleek build and shuddering pace. The Diavel Cromo was first unveiled to the public in this film, which came out in 2009.
Obviously, Ducati saw a great marketing opportunity, as did film executives, and both sides took advantage of such. As most know, Ducati is a high-end designer of motorcycles, and their rides are coveted the world over for their speed, sexiness, and high price tag, believe it or not. The ploy worked, and Ducati managed to get some good publicity from Wolverine’s personal ownership of one of their bikes in the film.
But, as we said before, this was NOT the bike Wolverine rode in the movie “X-Men”.
Ducati is Cool, But to Many, Harley is Better
You may have already guessed it: In the film “X-Men”, Wolverine rode a different bike. A bulkier bike…a tougher bike. When playing his part in the movie Hugh Jackman had the pleasure of riding a Harley-Davidson, which, by the way, we feel is a bit more fitting to the character himself. Now, “X-Men” was released in 2000, but even though ‘Wolverine came out nine years later it was still set earlier in time. So, technically speaking, he rode the Ducati first. Let’s take a look at the Harley and see if we can figure out why Wolverine would forsake a superbike for an American-made scooter.
The 1963 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide FLH
To kick things off, there are a few interesting facts about Wolverine’s 1963 HD DuoGlide FLH. First, according to Film School Rejects, this bike almost didn’t make the cut. In fact, Wolverine was originally going to ride a 1948 panhead chopper (another Harley product, probably customized), which the character mentions during a dinner table scene in the movie.
But the people in the film’s production department decided that the bike didn’t have adequate suspension, which led them to opt for a 1964 model of the same bike when doing stunts. The bike still had to be modified and customized for the actual film so that the suspension, which was better since it was a newer model, could be even more effective. In a nutshell, the bike Wolverine talks about and the bike you see are supposed to be the same, creatively speaking, but a much newer bike was used for the sake of safety and good visual aesthetic.
As far as the Harley goes, here are some of the specs for the actual bike used:
- Classified as a Touring bike
- V2, four-stroke, panhead V-twin engine
- Four-speed gearbox with chain-driven transmission
- Carbureted, with overhead valves
- Top speed of 99.4mph
- Kick started
- Dry weight of 304lbs
- (Specs for 1963 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide FLH courtesy of Bikez.com)
If you are at all familiar with motorcycles, you easily know the differences between any superbike and a touring motorcycle. One is built for speed, the other for cruising, and while you see many street-legal ‘superbikes’, they were made to get up and go, and can be handled much differently that a Touring bike in a variety of adverse situations and elements. The top speed of the Harley alone is enough to let you know what we are talking about…the Ducati had the capacity to go 150mph.
Just food for thought.
The Bottom Line
Wolverine is cool, but he’s a downhome, American-guy kind of cool. Why they decided to deviate from the Ducati to the Harley (speaking timewise, anyway) we may never really know. After all, the Ducati, from what we can gather, was supposed to be a Harley, too. But suffice it to say, it was not; but in ‘X-Men’, it absolutely was.
And in our opinion, it not only fit Wolverine (Logan) as far as character was concerned, it also seemed to fit the kind of superhero the mutant really was. All in all, we think it was the best choice all the way around, and hopefully any future movies featuring Logan, or Wolverine, or whatever you want to call him, have him riding the Harley he seems to love enough to mention at dinner. After all, we all have to be true to ourselves…even comic book superheroes like Wolverine.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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