Motorcycles are cool, we all know that, and the ultimate barometer for cool is, in many people’s eyes, Hollywood.
The home of cinema is the epitome of glamour, and its residents have long had an association with motorcycles. From Marlon Brando rebelling against everything in The Wild One and Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, through to modern movies like The Matrix and the James Bond series, motorcycles have played a starring role in a number of blockbusters.
But away from the screen, which stars retain a love of two wheels. We found 10 celebrity bikers from the silver screen, who like nothing more than a day out with their riding buddies…
Golden Globe winner Jeremy Irons was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1990s, starring in a number blockbusters including Die Hard With A Vengeance, The Lion King and The Man With The Iron Mask.
At the height of his fame, the modest and publicity shy star used a BMW R100RT as his daily transport, loving the anonymity riding around in a helmet brought him. He also convinced his producers to have his character ride an R1100RT in the 2001 movie, The Fourth Angel.
Jeremy remains a fan of big BMW boxers and still rides one today. He’s also a member of the exclusive Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, along with other actors and movie industry executives.
Ewan and his mate Charley Boorman probably did more than anyone else to popularise the mighty BMW GS when they rode R1150GSs around the world, from London to New York, for their 2004 TV series Long Way Round.
They were on the road again, in 2007, when they rode from Scotland to South Africa for Long Way Down. Far from jumping on the bandwagon, the Perth, Scotland, born star has been into bikes since he was a kid. Prior to becoming an adventurer, he sponsored a motorcycle racing team with the late great TT star David Jefferies, and rumour has it that there will be a third instalment in the ‘Long Way…’ series to be filmed in the not too distant future.
Moto Guzzi recently reinstalled the Trainspotting actor as their face of the brand. Quite a coup, considering he’s probably the world’s most famous celebrity biker…
Or is he? While McGregor’s hardcore adventuring has made him well known as an actor that rides, Matrix star Keanu Reeves went one stage further – and set up his own motorcycle company!
It’s fair to say that the Bill and Ted actor is nuts about bikes. He grew up loving Nortons and his fame has allowed him to blag a ride on a pukka MotoGP bike and buy some cool hardware over the years, including a 1955 Vincent Black Shadow and a Brough Superior
In 2007 the Canadian superstar met celebrity custom bike builder Gard Hollinger and the duo hit it off immediately. As a result, they set up their own motorcycle company, Arch, building bespoke high end bikes powered by big bore S&S V-twin motors. Every Arch is a work of art but, with a £90k price tag, it’s definitely a bike for the elite.
Back in 1986, a young Tom Cruise cemented his place as Hollywood’s hottest young actor with his starring role in Top Gun.
The film, which told the story of Cruise’s character Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell and some of the most iconic scenes involved Maverick and his Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja, the hottest superbike of the period.
But it wasn’t just in the movies that Cruise rode. The diminutive A-lister is a bona fide biker and needs little excuse to share the spotlight with a superbike in his movies. Since Top Gun, he’s ridden Triumphs in the early Mission Impossible films (and BMWs in the later ones) while his personal collection includes Ducatis, Hondas and rare models from Confederate and Vyrus.
He’s back on the big screen and back on a bike next year too. Cruise has finished filming for Top Gun 2 and it’s no surprise that Maverick’s still a Kawasaki man, with promo pictures showing the leading man riding the mighty supercharged Ninja H2R.
Coffee drinking heartthrob George Clooney is another keen biker, although he’s currently out of action after a high speed crash in Italy last year.
The Ocean’s Eleven star only suffered minor injuries, despite the 70mph scooter crash splitting his crash helmet in two. Prior to his smash, Clooney had been riding for some 40 years on a wide variety of bikes. He’s been snapped riding everything from humble Yamaha scooters and mid-range Kawasakis, although he’s been known to have a penchant for Harley-Davidsons and Triumphs.
Clooney recently sold off one of his Harleys after announcing he’s finished with two wheels, but with four decades of experience, we’re sure there’s a good chance he might come out of his self-imposed retirement.
Challenging Clooney in the ‘Hottest Male’ category, the Fight Club star is another celebrity motorcyclist with a huge range of bikes in his collection.
Over the years, biker Brad has had an eclectic style of bikes in his garage, from the rare Ducati Desmosedici RR to the ubiquitous BMW R1150GS Adventure.
More often than not he’s been seen on a modern day Triumph Bonneville (his lead character even rode a Meriden Triumph in the 2008 movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and most recently he’s been scooting around LA on a heavily modified BMW boxer custom bike.
The former Mrs. Brad Pitt shares her ex-husband’s love of bikes and regularly rides for fun and in her movies.
Her character rode in the Lara Croft series of films, while in the movie Salt, she insisted on her lead riding a Triumph Street Triple R, which does suggest she has great taste in bike.
Ange has also been seen on Harleys, Indians and BMWs over the years, proving she’s a real biker babe off-screen as well as on it.
Avengers star Bradley Cooper is one of Hollywood’s most influential actors, and one of its most prolific motorcyclists.
Brad’s been papped on a wide range of bikes. After running a KTM RC8 for a while, he’s been seen running around on a Triumph Thruxton, BMW S1000RR and various Ducatis, including a Diavel, Panigale and a Multistrada. He’s even been spotted on an automatic Aprilia Mana. With taste like that, who knows what his next set of wheels will be.
British actor Tom Hardy only passed his direct access motorcycle test two years ago, but the Mad Max star is one of the big names on the London motorcycle scene.
He hit the headlines in 2017 when he chased after some bike thieves in London, detaining one of them until the police arrived, and he’s a frequent customer down at Shoreditch’s trendy Bike Shed Motorcycle Club.
These days he’s graduated from the Mutt 125 be was frequently spotted on around London (complete with L-plates, as he’d only done his CBT) and Triumph has hooked him up with a Thruxton R, which suits him down to the ground.
House star Hugh has ridden bikes for decades. Over the years he’s ridden everything from big BMWs to Honda Fireblades, but when it comes down to it, Hugh’s a Bonneville man who can’t seem to get enough of Triumph’s retro roadster.
In recent years, Laurie has been loyal to the Hinckley twins, being spied on a variety of Bonnevilles and Scramblers. A man of impeccable taste, is this most English of actors.