If you think this bike looks like a Transformer, you’re right. But you may have seen it instead on the silver screen in Fast and Furious 4.
Owner Steve Leach of Brisbane says the bike, which he calls Beond, was considered for the second Transformers movie and artist drawings of its character were drawn up. “But they wanted $1m for product placement, so it never made the cut,” he says.
“However, it did have a cameo in Fast and Furious 4. Vin (Diesel) walks past it in a carpark and there is another CIG version of it in the background.”
Despite its Hollywood roles, the bike was designed in 1996 in Australia by Tim Cameron of Sydney. However, it took Florida engineer Christian Travert, who built Jay Leno’s Y2K jet bike, to see the potential in the design to make a real bike.
Christian used a 2008 V-Rod engine and pretty much fabricated everything else. Most of the bike is aluminium and fibreglass, but it still tips the scales at over 300kg. Features include leading-link forks, chain primary and belt secondary drives and a minimal frame.
Steve, who has been riding bikes since his teens, bought the bike in the US for $40,000 and had it freighted out to Australia by two of his companies in separate boxes about three years ago.
He then put it all back together again at a cost of another $40,000 and it is now insured for $80,000. Steve replaced the entire electrical system with his own design which features remote key fob push-button start, GPS instruments and a HD camera relaying an image to a screen in place of conventional mirrors.
The bike has won several awards in bike shows, but it’s not solely a show bike. Steve says he uses it as his everyday form of transport. “I ride it to work, Bunnings, the shops and I pick up my wife from work on Saturday and take the kids to tae kwon do.”
“I’ve had offers to buy it, but I’m not really interested,” he says. “But never say never. I might consider it if they offered about $150,000.”
Christian is still building them and there are only 10 examples of the bike in the world. Tim and Christian own one each, another is in Beijing and there is one owned by a rock star in Paris. Steve doesn’t know where the others are or who own them.