As Good Charlotte once famously stated, “Girls don’t like guys, girls like cars and money.” The Times of India recently did an op-ed called: “Why do women always fall for the bad boy?” Jim Stark, James Dean’s character in Rebel Without a Cause and the master narrative of the bad-boy trope, rode a sweet metal steed and beat away Betties with his Pomade slicked comb. In short, girls like expensive motorcycles.
Marshall McLuhan famously argued that technology is an extension of human faculties. A telephone is not just a device for making and receiving phone calls but is permuted, intellectually, into a bionic ear that lets its owner hear over the throbbing American heartland and the vast Atlantic. A raincoat is a superior skin one can remove from the closet and slip over his shoulders. To ride a motorcycle is to outpace the cheetah and rule the natural world with speed and force. Here are the 16 most expensive motorcycles in the world.
16 TRON Light Cycle – $77,000
Andrews Collection, a unique car dealership in California, recently sold a replica of the light cycle from the famous 1982 Jeff Bridges movie Tron. If you watched the film enviously, you had a brief chance of enacting your fantasy back in May of this year. The cycle had an electric motor, hydraulic brakes, and an on-board computer that controlled the bike. Unfortunately, the same way that a person cannot have a personal soundtrack without the full-time assistance of a team of musicians, there was no trail of light behind this replica (by far the coolest thing about the bikes in Tron.)
15 Confederate B120 Wraith - $92,500
At $92,500, the Confederate B120 Wraith is one expensive bike. To give you an idea, the true price of a BMW 5 series is around $45,000, so twice the cylinders and half the price of the Wraith. Its engine is actually surprisingly dinky. It has only two cylinders providing 125 hp. But the bike excels in design: it is made out of aircraft grade billet aluminium and carbon fiber that blend futuristic design with retro motorcycle aesthetic for the style of the past with today’s performance. If you’re more of a style than a speed man, this bike is for you.
14 Vyrus 987 C3 4V - $103,800
This bike is powered by a 1200 cc Ducati engine that gives it 211 horsepower and still manages to weigh in at a lithe 350 pounds (compared to a Harley Davidson Fat Boy that weights 700 pounds.) The designer of this bike, Italian company Vyrus, specializes in designing ultra-cool bikes powered by Ducati engines. The gaps between the chassis and the seat and handles give the bike a sporty, almost motocross aesthetic (especially with the thin tires) that serves as visual confirmation of the bike’s nimble mechanics.
13 MV Agusta F4CC - $120,000
The MV Agusta clocks in at 200 horsepower. It advertises, apparently, the best parts on the market, for instance engine valves designed in collaboration with car giant Ferrari. It is essentially a hand-built custom bike with 90% tailor-made components. The aggressive riding posture it demands from its owner clearly indicates it was designed for warp speed. The bike was patterned off of CEO Claude Castiglioni’s pet project and appealed to people with exclusivity. There are only 100 copies of it in the world. When the recession hit, people balked at the six-figure entry price, and now they mostly serve as breath-takers in showrooms.
12 NCR MH TT (Mike Hailwood) - $130,000
Another exclusive motorcycle, there are only twelve copies of the NCR MH TT in the world. They were built to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Mike Hailwood’s victory at the Isle of Man, the world’s most prestigious bike race. The MH TT has 130 horsepower, so nothing amazingly powerful, but its titanium frame weighs only 11 pounds (5 kg), and the bike itself weighs just 300 pounds (136kg.) The retro silhouette and color scheme again marry style and performance at a hilariously unaffordable price. This bike is for avid collectors almost exclusively.
11 NCR Leggera 1200 Titanium Special - $145,000
Based off of the Ducati Hypermotard, this is NCR’s first street legal bike; the company typically makes professional racing bikes. The NCR Leggera weighs a meager 328 pounds – a lightness possibly attributable to the company’s history of having to make zippy racing bikes – but it has top-notch components, including suspension developed with the help of Öhlins, brakes made by Brembo, carbon fiber BST wheels, and a 10.6 pound titanium frame. Its intense suspension and aerodynamic, hawk-like frame don’t allow an onlooker to forget this bike’s competitive ancestry.
10 Icon Sheene - $172,000
The Icon Sheene pays homage to renown World Champion Barry Sheene of Britain. As with several of the other bikes on this, the Sheene was limited edition, there being only 52 copies of it. To mark each bike’s individuality, there is a discrete playing card hand painted on it, the bikes together forming an entire deck. The bike produces 250 horsepower with the help of a Garrett turbocharger, but the engine itself is capable of 1,400 cc. When the bike was first produced, it was sold for $172,000 and was dubbed the most powerful motorcycle in the world.
9 MTT Turbine Streetfighter - $175,000
In 2000, MTT released their Y2K Turbine Superbike, made by Rolls Royce. With its Allison Model 250-C18 turboshaft engine, it could reach over 200 mph. In 2008, the company revealed it was going to release a reuptaken version called the Streetfighter that was capable of 420 horsepower. With a Rolls Royce-Allison turbine, the bike gets 320 hp into its Pirelli Diablo tire. If you really want to get your heart pounding, you can flip a switch that packs 100 more hp into the engine and achieves 500 pounds-foot of torque.
8 NCR Macchia Nera - $225,000
Once again, this bike was limited edition, which is possibly why it’s so expensive. Granted, it was designed by the visionary Aldo Drudi, who showed his sense of humor by naming it “Macchia Nera,” or “Black Spot” in Italian, referring to the charred pavement you leave behind when riding it. The price certainly doesn’t come from the bike’s performance: its hp is 185 and has four valves per cylinder with a six speed transmission. But the whole bike weighs an anorexic two hundred and ninety seven pounds, making it the lightest bike on this list so far, and gearheads are sometimes obsessed with their collectibles being lighter and lighter.
7 Dodge Tomahawk V10 Superbike - $550,000
Of course, the first bike to exceed the half-million dollar mark is American. The Dodge Tomahawk was first debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2003. The price was listed at $550,000. The Superbike is a concept automobile: it weighs a ridiculous 1,500 pounds and can get from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. If given the right amount of room, the Tomahawk can reach up to 300 miles per hour, meaning it can outpace a nuclear blast. Unfortunately it isn’t legal to ride on the street (duh…), but if you were ever the survivor of the apocalypse, this steed would be the one for you.
6 Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship – $1.5 million
This is the only American motorcycle manufacturer with a model exceeding one million dollars. The Cosmic Starship, a Harley Davidson creation, was hand painted by Jack Armstrong, whose paintings usually go between $300,000 and $3 million. This motorcycle is a roving work of art and, sitting roughly at Armstrong’s average sale price, it could actually be considered a bargain. This bike doesn’t appear to have the same mechanical credentials as the other bikes on this list, but its price contributes to its uniqueness. Jack Armstrong comes from the tradition of Jackson Pollock, and a Harley is an all-American beast. This ride is total Americana through and through.
5 The Yamaha BMS – $3 million
The Yamaha BMS has 1,700cc V-twin engine. Powerful, but nothing far out of the ordinary. As with most of the bikes in this price level, the cost is the result of peculiar designs. This bike’s seat is upholstered in red velvet and most of the rest of the bike is coated in 24 karat gold with an audacious print. As of 2013, this bike is the only gold-plated chopper on the road. As with most similar things (who could forget Flo-Rida’s gold Bugatti Veyron?), this bike is a status symbol and an ostentatious way of literally riding your money around town.
4 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller – $3.5 million
This bike was only manufactured between 1894 and 1897. It was the first motorcycle ever produced. It’s neither very fast (28 miles an hour top speed) nor very heavy. Back then, motorcycles were not machines as powerful as automobiles, but, as their name promises, bicycles with a rinky-dink put-put motor in them to help a panting man sail uphill. Most of the existing copies of this bike are in museums in, to name a few, Germany, London, Detroit, Maine, or Indonesia.
3 Ecosse Spirit – $3.6 million
In order to ride this bike, you must first take a two-week class at the Ecosse headquarters to make sure you are competent. This bike is the product of collaboration between three American and British engineers using the design behind high-speed Formula 1 cars. Only 10 of these models were made in the Titanium Series, once again speaking to a trend towards intense exclusivity on this list. Each one of those ten models is listed for at least $3.6 million. It reaches 230 miles per hour, meaning you’d pay roughly fifteen grand per mile of maximum speed.
2 1949 E90 AJS Porcupine - $7 Million
Only four versions of this motorcycle were ever produced. The company, along with Les Graham, won one World Championship back in 1949 with this bike. The design for the AJS bike changed a few years later, so the world championship edition of this bike remains one of the rarest motorcycles now, which obviously gives it a lot of cache. Some say that the Porcupine is one of the most innovative and beautiful motorcycles ever designed. At 7 million dollars, it had better be, because that is an almost absurdly exorbitant price tag for a two-wheeler.
1 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Fighter – $11 million
Most people know Neiman Marcus as a department store. It is typically synonymous with machinery of the highest-echelon. The motorcycle started off at $110,000 – not peanuts, but certainly not worth its later price of 100 times that amount. It would eventually be purchased at an auction for $11 million, possibly because there were only 45 copies of it and was very limited edition. Its credentials aren’t very good: it can only reach 190 miles per hour. But its design was beautiful, with some people saying it resembled clockwork and the company marketing it as “the evolution of machine.” Despite the price, it’s totally street legal.