The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s superlative trilogy of the caped crusader, hits theaters today.
And going by the hype and the anticipation of fans who have waited for the movie with bated breath, it promises to be surefire blockbuster. Like its predecessor, the movie also has plenty to offer for us bikers, as the famous Batpod will again make an appearance, albeit with Anne Hathaway (as Catwoman/Selina Kyle) piloting it instead of Batman himself.
The origins of the Batpod has all been accredited to Christopher Nolan, and rightly so, but it actually came to life in the hands of production designer, Nathan Crowley, who was also the designer for the Tumbler. Well since we are clearly interested in two wheels, let’s get on to some technical specifications of the Batpod. The bike has 20 inch front and rear tyres (which is also the Tumbler’s left tyres) and is powered by a high-performance, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, which has been geared low for faster acceleration. And oh, it has no exhaust pipes whatsoever. Weirder even, the Batpod is steered by the shoulders instead of hands, and the rider’s arms are protected by shields. The two foot pegs are set 3½ feet apart on either side of the tank, which the rider lies upon, belly down. And as befitting its crime-busting task, the bike is also armed with grappling hooks, cannons, and machine guns galore.
In anticipation of some inevitable crashes during filming, six models of the Batpod were constructed in all. It would have been easier if they had just retooled some existing bad-ass bike like the Yamaha V-Max or the Ducati Diavel, but hey, would those be as exciting to watch as this sinister machine designed from the ground-up to strike fear into the minds of criminals? Besides, we know Mr. Nolan is a perfectionist who abhors newfangled VFX for old-school, and, ultimately, more realistic, film-making, so more power to his ilk. Now, if only we could take it out for a ‘road test.’