It’s the Fourth of July and we’re marking the occasion by taking a look at some very patriotic motorcycles. But we didn’t just pick from a bunch of motorcycles with flashy star-spangled paint jobs like Patriot Edition 1290 Super Duke R (pictured in the image above) KTM revealed earlier this week.
Red, white and blue remains a prominent theme in this list but we looked beyond the colors and selected five bike that represent America while also holding significance in the world of motorcycles.
Enjoy this list while you celebrate America’s independence.
#5 – Colin Edwards’ 2008 Yamaha M1 at Laguna Seca
Colin Edwards has been representing the Red, White and Blue in MotoGP since 2003, and before that, he won two World Superbike Championships, adding his own place in the legacy of American WSBK Champions alongside Fred Merkel, Doug Polen, Scott Russell, John Kocinski and, more recently, Ben Spies.
Edwards proudly sported the Stars and Stripes on his Yamaha M1 for the 2008 U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Edwards unfortunately finished 14th in that race, but American racing fans are none-the-less proud of the Texas Tornado.
#4 – Nicky Hayden’s Desmosedici in his Debut with Ducati
Nicky Hayden wrote his name into the history books by winning the 2006 MotoGP title with Honda, becoming the first American to win the World Championship since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000.
Two years later, Hayden joined the Ducati factory team, making his debut at the 2008 post-season test at Valencia on the Desmosedici, Ducati welcomed the Kentucky Kid with a special American flag paint job for his Desmosedici GP9.
Hayden is still with Ducati Corse today and plays an important part in Ducati’s marketing, especially with the U.S. becoming Ducati’s most important market.
#3 – Erik Buell Racing 1190RS
If the American motorcycle industry has a modern icon, his name would be Erik Buell. An innovative engineer and AMA Hall of Famer, Buell founded his own motorcycle company and championed concepts such as mass centralization, low unsprung weight and using the frame itself to house fuel.
The Buell Motorcycle Company became a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson in 2003, giving the Motor Company a sportbike-focused sub-brand to go alongside its cruisers and tourers. Unfortunately, Harley-Davidson pulled the plug on Buell in 2009.
But Erik Buell would not be held down. He started another new company, Erik Buell Racing, and introduced a new line of race bikes. Pictured here is the EBR 1190RS in a one-off American Flag paint scheme that was displayed at the Infineon Raceway round of the AMA Superbike Championship. Perhaps the red, white and blue paint proved to be lucky as Danny Eslick earned the 1190RS its first AMA Pro Racing podium in Race 1 that weekend.
#2 – “Easy Rider” Captain American Chopper
Perhaps the most beloved motorcycle movie in American cinema is the 1969 classic “Easy Rider“. A modern-day Western, “Easy Rider” dipped into the American counterculture of the ’60s and the themes of freedom and rebellion. The film was written and starred film icons Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda but it also provided the first big break for actor Jack Nicholson.
Fonda’s character Wyatt “Captain America” rode a custom chopper with a panhead engine in a hardtail frame built by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy. With its ape-hanger handlebars, upswept exhausts, peanut gas tank and 42-degree rake, the Captain America motorcycle is the epitome of the chopper esthetic.
#1 – USMC Hayes Diesel Kawasaki M1030M1
You were probably expecting another red, white and blue motorcycle for the top spot on this list. We’re throwing a curveball here and instead selected a real American patriot clad in military green: the diesel-powered Hayes-DT M1030M1.
Based on a Kawasaki KLR650, the M1030M1 is retrofitted to run on diesel or JP-8 jet fuel, the same fuel used to power tanks.
In 2005, the United States Marine Corps adopted the M1030M1, taking advantage of its agility, ability to handle difficult terrain, excellent fuel economy and the versatility of being able to use different kinds of fuel.