The Greatest Military Motorcycles of All Time
The military motorcycle is something of a rare specimen, unlike other bikes it is not designed particularly for speed, comfort, ease of use, efficiency, or aesthetics. Their main attribute has to be ruggedness and the performance on a battlefield. This means they are designed to be solid machines, that are dependable and that you can ride them just about anywhere. There have been some famous military motorcycles in history are these are some of the very best.
The Royal Enfield WD/RE
Nicknamed the flying flea, the Royal Enfield WD/RE is one of the most remarkable motorcycles that was ever made. It was so lightweight that it could even be dropped into enemy territory by parachute and easily be lifted aloft by a fit soldier. This war machine was designed as a messenger carrier, to replace radio where there was no reception. The engine that powered the flying flea was a tiny 126cc, but this two-stroke engineering masterpiece was capable of 45 mph.
The Husqvarna 258 A
The Husqvarna 258 A is a Swedish military motorcycle that has been in production for over thirty years and are still used today. Due to the extreme weather in this part of Scandinavia this bike is the equivalent of a Nordic mountain goat. It can cope with any type of icy and wet weather and terrain such as frozen lakes and muddy dirt paths. Its brilliance comes from a semi-automatic gearbox, so no clutch is required. This means almost anybody can ride them so there is no need for skilled riders.
The Norton WD Big 4
This is probably the coolest looking military motorcycle that has ever been made. And the WD suffix means War Department. This made the military machine different to the commercially produced machine by its sturdy sidecar that could be adapted to numerous uses. This bike was not armored despite some efforts at welding sheet metal to it. First manufactured by Norton in 1907 this bike could easily transport three fully-armed soldiers together with either a mortar or a hefty Bren gun. Eventually this machine was replaced by the jeep and there are very few WD Big 4’s around these days as most of them were ridden into the ground.
Harley Davidson WLA
This iconic Harley has to be the greatest ever war bike ever manufactured. Its iconic great looks surpassed a military vehicle and this bike has starred in many movies it is so good looking. Not only did the WLA look so stunning its performance actually matched its great looks. The tell-tale blackout lights were something revolutionary at the time and the specially designed fenders were perfect for muddy terrain as they stopped the engine and wheels from clogging. There was also a host of accessories that could be bolted on for different military uses. Particularly useful was all the additional luggage panniers that were perfect for radio equipment or ammo. After the war there were so many of these bikes knocking around that they made Harley Davidson a household name, and the bike to be seen riding around on.