The debate over who is the greatest superhero has been going on since what seems like forever. Some people are diehard Superman fans, and others prefer that friendly neighborhood web slinger Spiderman. Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Black Panther, even Deadpool – they all are someone’s favorite. Me? I’m a Batman guy. Some people say he’s not a “real” super hero because he doesn’t have any special powers. He can’t fly, he can’t shoot web, he doesn’t have incredible strength, and he doesn’t come from some far-away mutant planet. While Bruce Wayne may just be your standard out-for-justice billionaire who was orphaned at a young age, his gadgets are unrivaled. The Keaton Batmobile? The Bat from the Dark Knight? The ’66 Batboat? Yeah, Batman’s got them rides. While the cars, boats, and planes in Batman’s arsenal are iconic, his two-wheeled crime fighters are pretty rad in their own right. Let’s take a look at three of Batman’s Batcycles that span multiple generations of the caped crusader’s arsenal.
1978: the Corgi Jr. Batcycle
Corgi was a British diecast powerhouse in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and was on the forefront of Hollywood diecast licensing. From Batman to Starsky and Hutch, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to James Bond’s cars, Corgi had a solid line-up of star car diecast. Corgi’s Green Hornet’s Black Beauty and 007’s DB5 are literal icons of the era, and mint versions of each command the big bucks. Corgi made a few of Batman’s many rides: the classic ’66 Batmobile, the Batboat, a Batcopter, and of course, the Batcycle.
Unlike most of the other Corgi Bat-catalogue vehicles, the Batcycle isn’t a replica of an Adam West era bike, but rather a general Corgi motorcycle chassis/base coupled with a Batman specific front fairing. Corgi also made a Spiderman cycle based on the same chassis, but I think the Batcycle looks fairly sporty when compared to the bulkier Spiderman equipped bike.
Overall the Corgi Batcycle has good dimensions and has a nice weight to it. With its slim chassis and smoothed front end, it looks fast — in an almost cafe racer-esq way. The Corgi cycle actually reminds me a lot of the bikes the Motorcycle Apaches from the original Speed Racer series rode.
From a casting perspective it’s pretty well done. The dimensions are mostly realistic and Corgi did a nice job of giving the motorcycle squared-off tires so that the bike will stand on its own…which is amazing when you’re trying to photograph it. The bright yellow Bat signal logo on the front is the only pop of color on the bike itself, and has held up alright considering it is a 42 year-old sticker.
The Corgi Batcycle came with one other important feature that truly takes the bike to the next level: a hunkered down Batman figure.
Yes, Batman is included! The plastic, two color Batman gives this whole casting life, and makes it feel like it’s speed through Gotham City even when sitting still.
The Batman is fairly detailed as well – he has a blue bat logo on his belt and has hand, boot, and cape detailing. Not too shabby for 40 years ago.
1978 Corgi Jr. Batcycle Buyer’s Guide
Stands without an extra support
Sharp details on the metal and plastic
Two color Batman figure looks great
Figure is often missing
Bat logo sticker is hard to keep clean
Can be a bit pricey to buy in mint condition
Overall I’d rate the Corgi Batcycle as a 7/10 with good collector outlook in the future. Hard to go wrong with vintage Batman!
1992: Ertl Batman the Animated Series Batcycle
While the ’66 Batman was known for being campy and bright, Batman the Animated Series (BtAS) took a much darker look at the Caped Crusader. From the physically darker backgrounds and colors used, to the darker tone of the story lines including realistic depictions of gun use and violence, BtAS took a much deeper look at the soul of the Batman franchise. While the series was marketed to kids as part of Fox Kid’s lineup, the story-lines and use of seasoned adult voice actors (most notably Mark Hamill’s Joker), went on to land the groundbreaking series four Emmy awards. Like many of you BtAS is a personal favorite – so I jumped at the chance to get a few of the series’ rides via the 1993 Ertl BtAS line.
While Corgi was the British king of Hollywood Licensing, Ertl was hands-down the undisputed American champion of landing licensing. Throughout the late 70’s and 80s’, Ertl made the star cars of almost every show out there. They had castings from the Dukes of Hazzard, Fall Guy, A-Team, Hardcastle & McCormick, NASCAR, Rocky, the Blues Brothers, Smokey and the Bandit, and Knight Rider – just to name a few. Ertl continued making licensed 1/64th scale cars well into the 2000s, and the early 90’s saw their release of the BtAS line.
Ertl’s BtAS line was one I didn’t find until well after the show hit syndication, but had some absolute stunners in it. The made the Batmobile, batboat, Batplane, and Batcycle — with each casting very closely mirroring the vehicles from the show. I still think their BtAS Batmobile is one of the best 1/64th Batmobiles out there, but I’ll save that for another post.
Ertl’s Batcycle looks like it came straight out of the series. The low, sleek, art-deco inspired body has a darker, overall more edgy look to it when compared to the Corgi bike.
The casting is pretty heavy and features a gloss black metal body. The only part of the casting that isn’t metal are the tall, record like wheels and tires.
The model is fairly simple yet has all the detail the animated series shows off. The front fender that totally covers the front wheel has beautiful silver detailing and a blue stripe that separates the body. It’s like a mini work of Gotham art Ertl has been nice enough to reproduce.
There are very few downfalls of the bike. The first and maybe most obvious is that it didn’t come with a Batman figure. A Batman figure would absolutely take the Ertl Batcycle to the next level. I found that the Nano Metalfigs Batman looks great next to it though! Maybe someone can 3D print a riding Batman for us fans? The second issue is that the rear tire sits too high on the axle and allows the rear frame to drag. Not a huge deal as it allows the bike to stand up unattended, but could be a dealbreaker for people who like to roll their diecast around.
1993 Ertl Batman the Animated Series Batcycle Buyers Guide
Ertl Batcycle on eBay — Nano Metalfig Batman — Nano Metalfigs Batcave
Only example of a 1/64 BtAS Batcycle
Great paint and casting detail
Heavy diecast that stands on its own
No Batman figure
Prices on secondary market are all over the place
Overall I’d rate the Ertl Batcycle as a 6/10 with a medium collector outlook in the future. The one reason I chose medium over low is that the model wasn’t highly sought after when released and less people bought them initially, causing the secondary market to fulfill the future need.
2013: Hot Wheels the Dark Knight Batpod
The Dark Knight is the Batman movie of a generation. From the direction of Christopher Nolan to the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger’s Joker, the Dark Knight trilogy brought us many memorable Bat-moments. Along with great acting performances, the Dark Knight series launched a new wave of Bat vehicles. The tank-like Tumbler Batmobile, the insane looking Batplane and helicopter hybrid of The Bat, and the newest take on the Batcycle, the Batpod.
The Badpod was first seen in the Dark Knight as Batman made a daring escape from the Tumbler after being hit with a rocket fired by the Joker. According to the Bat-Wiki page, the Badpod earned its name because it serves as an escape pod that spawns from the Tumbler Batmobile when damaged. It’s wild motorcycle-ish two-wheeled setup and aggressive seating position make it the most show-stopping Batcycle variant yet.
Hot Wheels did an excellent job crafting the 1/64th scale Badpod. From every angle it looks aggressive – and with front mount machine guns it gives off a vibe as menacing in small size as it did on the big screen.
While Hot Wheels has released the Batpod casting multiple times, in both mainline and Wal-Mart series versions, they also released it as part of their Motorcycles series in 2012/13. What was so special about the Motorcycles release? It included an awesome Batman riding figure.
The figure takes this casting from good to great, and really sets it apart from the other variations. The Batman is molded well and has incredible detailing. It makes the Corgi version look like a cheap bubble gum machine Batman…but that’s what 30 years will do for a figure!
The Hot Wheels Batman is made of a rubbery material rather than the hard plastic like the Corgi version, which means it’s easier to keep the figure and good shape as the hands or cape won’t become brittle and break off.
Overall this is an excellent Batpod casting and looks right at home next to the Corgi and Ertl Batcycles.
2012 Hot Wheels The Dark Knight Batpod Buyer’s Guide
Hot Wheels Batpod on eBay – with and without figure
Best 1/64th scale Hot Wheels Batpod out there
Motorcycle release has Batman figure
Plentiful as multiple releases exist
Without figure it looks incomplete
Rolls but not great
Other 1/64th scale Batpods are more accurate (and more expensive)
Overall I’d rate the Hot Wheels Batpod w/figure as a 7/10 with a low collectors outlook as so many variations exist, and it’s not the most popular Batman vehicle out there.
I really enjoyed breaking down these three models and hope you’ll chime in with your thoughts on each! For now enjoy some more of the Batcycle fleet 🏁
I also filmed a short Youtube video covering each casting as well:
4 Replies to “The Dark Knight Rides: Batman’s Batcycles”
Nice take on Batmans motorcycles. 👍🏻 But where was the 2006 Hot Wheels Batcycle?
Thanks! I have the 2006 Batcycle and the 2011 version with the figure as well, but wanted to keep the post to (basically) one from each decade. Although I may add the others into a larger post at some point.
The 2008 Hot Wheels Batpod from the Action Duos set was a far superior casting, and it even had rubber tires.
The 2008 version has the best Batpod wheels by far, but it didn’t come with the figure 🙁 While that Duo pack has the better Batpod, I still think the better overall release is the one with the figure, despite the cheaper wheels. It would be nice to combine the figure with the ’08 version! I would be interested in seeing if the figure would fit that one as well.