Admittedly, the latter may be light-heartedly so.
At the time of writing this article, a week of television stars promoting their upcoming shows at the world famous Comic Con in San Diego has recently wrapped up leaving an air of expectation and excitement.
Two of the more highly anticipated shows are ‘The Walking Dead’ and its spin-off, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, both leaving fans of anything related to zombies buzzing with great trailers promising a season full of walking dead over the different series.
Zombies are certainly hip and source material over numerous moviesas well as acting as the plot device for at least three upcoming television series. For some, the undead are even a possible real life event that should be planned for.
As regular readers know, we like to take our conversations to their ultimate two-wheeled end and in the case of this article, it was about two of our favorite things. Zombies and motorcycles.
How would we ride during the zombie apocalypse?
Starting off at the extremes of our conversation, we worked out how to ‘Zombiefy’ our motorcycle. That is only a word for the sake of our article, using it will get you laughed out of the scrabble club or lose terribly at ‘Words with Friends’.
We zombiefied our ride by starting off with Harley-Davidson’s latest motorcycle, its 750 Street. After all, one should fight the undead with some degree of style and street cred. Along with the smaller engine, not only will it turn rotting heads, the motorcycle is good for lower end performance and great on gas mileage. Ideal for getting in and out of zombie swarms as well keeping your distance when needed.
Our extreme start to this topic has us part movie action star, another part MacGyver and final part supreme zombie killer. Our art department rendered what we would pull together after a quick trip to the nearest Harley dealership, Home Depot and the local welder.
We promise the check left on the abandoned counter for the motorcycle is good, in a few years at the very least.
First things first, even with 50 miles to the gallon Harley-Davidson’s street 750 promises, one never knows when the opportunity to fill up will present itself in the apocalypse. We’ve duct-taped and gerrymandered fuel containers on our ride, but if you have an opportunity to attach aftermarket additional fuel tanks it’s a much safer option and certainly more long term. However, you do lose that ‘Mad Max’ vibe and nothing screams the end of the world more than duct tape.
As with many matter in motorcycle customization, it’s a personal preference.
Defensive or offensive?
No zombie fighter is complete without some type of rifle. There’s a reason the cowboys of past preferred to house their more powerful weapon in a holster attached to the horse rather than wearing it over the shoulder. Bearing in mind our motorcycles are a modern version of the old west’s steed, who are we to re-invent a solution created by those who rode before us? We’ve strapped our rifle’s holster to our forks. Perfectly angled to allow easy access while you’re riding. Again, this is inspired by Mad Max and we’re sure riding and shooting is easier to imagine than it is to do.
The next few parts of our Zombie-proof ride require welding skills. Just as the knights of old protected their steeds with well-placed armor, we follow this idea by armoring our front wheel as well as our legs with some homemade metal-plating. The subject of adding some end-of-the-world spikes did come up, but bear in mind the motorcycle choice for transportation weighs heavily on the chance to get in and out of zombie packs. The argument was made that spikes would only drag the living dead along and make any kind of riding near impossible.
That conversation did lead to something to help cut your way through being swarmed and so the guillotine-type blade was placed on the front of our zombiefied ride. Be advised though, this will also makes the ride captain a little nervous if you tailgate.
Other ideas that didn’t make it to customization table; chainsaws on either side which in a cyber-punk fashion would remain folded back and off when not needed and pop out to the on position when faced with a mob of undead.
For those with an extreme hate of zombies, some form of Gatling guns facing forward for some massive fire power resulting in the deadliest of interactions. We have seen this mocked up on a real motorcycle!
Looking to what has quickly become the standard of a would-be zombie world, the popular character of Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead’ started riding a Triumph chopper featuring a classic rake, ape hanger handlebars and small but useful saddlebags. Ironically, the ride isn’t even his. In season 2, Daryl states to Dale that the motorcycle was his brother’s, Merle, by saying "Keep your dirty, oily rags off my brother's motorcycle".
Reportedly customized from a 1971 Triumph Bonneville 650 with a ’69 motor, Daryl only rode the bike until the mid-season finale of Season 4 when he lost the motorcycle escaping bad guys as well as zombies.
But what is a biker with a ride? The producers of 'Walking Dead' quickly put Daryl back in the saddle in the next season with a newly built 1992 Honda CB750 Nighthawk that uses Kenda tires, a Yamaha YZF-RG front end and wheel, Progressive Suspension shocks, and stock Honda parts. The rack above the rear fender is a custom mount for Daryl’s crossbow.
Below is a video of the making of the latest motorcycle to ride through this fictitious zombie wasteland.
With all the above zombie motorcycle discussion, the biggest question must be, what would yours look like? Email us with your ideal apocalypse ride and maybe we can carry on this conversation.