We finally got our first look at Ben Affleck’s Batman in The Flash movie, thanks to photos taken from the film’s Glasgow, Scotland set, where the Dark Knight could be seen zooming through George Square and the surrounding streets on a brand new set of wheels. The scene in question, which actually featured stunt double Rick English in the new Batsuit and not Affleck, seemed to be a daytime chase through the streets of Gotham City, with a humvee shooting back at Batfleck’s heavily armored ride.
English, who was also a stunt double for Robert Pattinson in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, can be seen riding the new Batcycle (the official name of the vehicle hasn’t been announced yet) in the set photo below:
In short, the new Batcycle is an absolute stunner, a bit more tank-like than past live-action versions of Batbikes, as seems to be the overall DCEU aesthetic since the Zack Snyder days, but still sleek and modern. It also boasts forward shields that lift up when Batman is being shot at (as another series of set photos show) and what look like machine gun cannons on either side — presumably armed with non-lethal rounds…
Despite the bulkier design, the bike seems built for speed and maneuverability, not just battle, as it cuts tight corners through the streets of Gotham/Glasgow. Why the Caped Crusader has chosen his Batcycle over his much more heavily equipped Batmobile, a staple of Affleck’s tenure, is a mystery. Perhaps the Batcycle is just the faster pursuit vehicle…or since The Flash is a multiverse-spanning adventure, maybe he just doesn’t have access to his trademark car at the moment because he’s in the Burtonverse’s version of Gotham (I’m just speculating here).
Interestingly enough, Warner Bros. has been trying to introduce a new Batcycle (likely for toy reasons) since Justice League. In an interview with Film Sketchr, concept artist Ed Natividad revealed that he designed a new Batcycle for Affleck’s Batman to use in the superhero team-up movie but Snyder chose the massive Knightcrawler in its place.
“The Batcycle was proposed as a new form of transport for Batman,” Natividad said. “However it was superseded in favor of the Knightcrawler. Zack Snyder felt the cycle did not reflect the ‘team’ dynamic and needed something that would carry at least three of the members.”
WB finally has its new Batcycle, but it’s only the latest in a long series of bikes introduced in Batman movies. In fact, Batfleck’s chopper isn’t even the only Batcycle being introduced in an upcoming DC movie.
First spotted while The Batman was filming last year, the more pared down Batcycle ridden by Pattinson very much matches the aesthetic Reeves is going for with his take on the Bat mythos. Unlike Affleck or Bale, Pattinson doesn’t seem to own any vehicles or equipment he didn’t modify or design in-house, all while looking miserable. His suit looks very DIY, with its shoulder pads and heavily stiched and dented cowl, as does his minimalist take on a Batbike — a simple number with bat ears over the headlight.
Pattison’s Dark Knight seems like a bit of a grease monkey who’s less concerned with looks than performance and efficiency. Even the movie’s Batmobile looks like a cool muscle car Battinson bought and modified with an insane engine he found on the black market and a matte paint job. The custom body work also makes the car look more Bat-like.
He clearly took the same approach with the bike, and it’s nice to see a Batman who prefers “simpler” and more “sensible” vehicles over the massive tanks driven by Affleck and Bale before him. Pattinson’s rides are much closer to reality than what’s usually on tap in a Batman movie. And unlike the things driven by most of his predecessors, his bike doesn’t seem to have any guns on it.
Meanwhile, the Batpod screams “billionaire superhero who owns his own R&D division.” Wayne Enterprises has military contracts to develop tech the U.S. Department of Defense never adopted on the battlefield, and Bale’s Batman gets to reap all the rewards.
Despite being part of a much larger whole, having been jettisoned from the totaled Tumbler before it self-destructed in The Dark Knight, the Batpod has its own identity. It’s kind of ugly and doesn’t look very practical, but it becomes Batman’s main mode of transportation for much of the back half of the trilogy until Lucius Fox gifts him the Bat in The Dark Knight Rises. It also has the best maneuverability of all the bikes on this list due to the sideways rotating wheels that allow it to turn tight corners without skidding off the road. Lateral movement comes in very handy when in a high-speed chase, and it seems only Christopher Nolan figured that out.
The Batpod’s biggest crime is looking kind of like those tumbling RC cars you played with when you were a kid. This is all by design, of course, since these movies are all made so WB can sell toys and bedroom sets to children. At least this one has cannons Batman (and later Catwoman) can use to remove obstacles from his path. And if you’re someone walking through that mall Batman zooms through while chasing the Joker, you would be intimidated. But if your favorite kind of bike is the bulky kind, you’re better off with the Batfleck cycle.
But let’s not forget the Batblade, the bike George Clooney just happened to have sitting in his Batcave in case of an icy situation. Apparently designed to speed through Gotham City streets that are frozen solid, it’s best not to try to decipher the logic behind wheels with such excellent traction. This is Batman & Robin, and we don’t do logic there.
Driven by Alicia Silverstone’s underrated Batgirl, the Batblade pretty much looks like a normal bike except for the Bat symbol and LED lighting that adorn the front. Its big feature is that it is equipped with “Ice Armor,” so even Mr. Freeze’s ice beams can’t slow it down. Which is pretty cool. And the bike totally fits within Joel Schumacher’s vision of a neon-drenched Gotham.
Finally, we come Adam West and Burt Ward’s Batcycle from the 1966 ABC TV series and film Batman. A modified Yamaha Catalina 250 with a sidecar for Robin, no other Batcycle has so perfectly encapsulated the bond between the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder. This crime-fighting vehicle just screams “friendship.” It’s the perfect ride for West to chase down criminals on a sunny Gotham City day, while Ward delivers the Bat-quips.
While it’s definitely overshadowed by the even cooler Batmobile of the era — a beautiful black Lincoln Futura with red trimming — the ’66 Batcycle is still a fun nostalgia piece decades later. It’s also a bike that’s not afraid to actually…look like a bat, with custom bodywork that makes the exteriors look like wings. It’s also much more colorful than the other Batcycles, a defining trait of the era of Adam West, who is also the only Batman actor who’s worn the blue and gray suit on the big screen.
It’s a testament to the Dark Knight’s longevity that we’re still talking about big-screen Batmen and their cool toys almost 50 years later. And as far as the latter goes, the newest addition to the Caped Crusader’s toybox delivers plenty of style. No sidecar or Robin, though. Cowards.
Still, I can’t wait to see the new Batcycle in action when The Flash opens in theaters on Nov. 4, 2022.