Military motorcycles are a breed like no other. Unlike sportbikes, they aren’t meant for speed. Unlike cruisers and tourers, they aren’t meant for comfort.
And unlike choppers and cruisers, they aren’t meant for aesthetic pleasure either. Different military motorcycles have different purposes and they’re built accordingly. However, there are certain things all military motorcycles have in common. And that’s a strong and durable build and immense reliability. Here are 5 of our favorite military motorcycles..
1. Royal Enfield WD/RE
It was built during the Second World War and is quite a unique motorcycle. It weighed in at less than 60kg! This allowed for it to be transported by gliders, lifted by soldiers, and dropped by parachutes. The 126cc two-stroke engine allowed for speeds of upto 45mph as well as some moderate off-roading.
2. The Husqvarna 258 A
They’ve been in use by the Swedish Military for over 30 years now! Being a Husqvarna, these motorcycles can take anything you throw at them. Whatever weather or terrain, they can coast through it. The Swedish Military has even put skis on some of these! A semi-automatic gearbox makes it easier to ride as well!
3. Rokon Trailbreaker
The bike is as great as horrid it looks. It’s one of those rare motorcycles which are equipped with a two wheel-drive system. Despite an engine capacity of just 208cc, the bike can tow weights of up to 2000lbs! The large wheels can either accommodate air and let the bike float on water, or be used to store water or fuel! If that isn’t enough badassery for you, the Trailbreaker can scale up gradients of up to 60%! It’s used by the Jordanian Military as well as the the U.S. Special Forces.
4. The Norton WD Big 4 (Model 1)
The standard sidecar on this one sets is apart from the rest of the bikes in the list. First trials of this motorcycle began in 1907! The 673cc engine of the time was enough to ferry three fully-armored soldiers. An alternative configuration was to mount a 3-inch mortar unit alongside 2 soliders in the sidecar. These were in service till the 1950s, when proper jeeps replaced their purpose!
5. Harley-Davidson WLA
There is perhaps no military motorcycle as iconic as the Harley-Davidson WLA. These came with an option for quite a lot of bolt-on accessories. These included the likes of leg protectors, skid plates, machine gun holsters, etc. Luggage Space was another plus point of the WLA.
Some say that motorcycling may have had never been as big as it is today, had it not been for the HD WLA. Their surplus which continued beyond the Second World War made them a preferred choice for the generation that just came out of war. And that, eventually led to the birth of the custom building scene!
Are there other great military motorcycles you would want to be included on the list? Let us know in the comments section below.