The real story behind Tom Cruise's fake Ducati

Galleries -


Last week we showed you an Aprilia SXV dressed up as a Ducati
that Tom Cruise was riding on the set of “Knight and Day.” A
bit embarrassing for Ducati, right? It was and it caught them by
surprise, they didn’t know about the bike and didn’t know why it was
being used. Now, with Ducati’s help, we’ve gotten to the bottom of the
story. Turns out it wasn’t the Hypermotard’s ability that was the
problem, it was Cruise’s.

Update: Greg Smrz responds in comments. Looks like the Ducprilia was used in the film.

According to Ducati and “Knight and Day’s” stunt coordinator, Greg Smrz, the Ducprilia was at no point used for any scenes in the movie.

What the Aprilicati was created for was an ESPN promo in which Cruise himself decided to do a 30-foot long, 3-foot high jump on camera. Apparently the looney tune is a good rider, just not up to the standards of a movie stunt person and there was obviously some concern for his well being, helmetless jumps and all. Thus the SXVtard.

“He isn’t as good a rider (although pretty good from what I hear) as the stunt guys, so they tried to make it at light as possible by using the Aprilia, and having a dummy passenger to make it easier and safer for him,” explains Ducati. “It shaved 40% of the weight. They looked at pure dirt bikes as a cheaper alternative but the Aprilia was easiest to make look like the Hyper.”

Greg Smrz explains further, “If you will note, there is a 50lbs dummy on the back of Tom’s motorcycle. The reason for this is weight. In addition, the Aprilia has longer travel suspension.”

That’s right that weird-looking blonde chick on the back is actually a 50lbs weight intended to shift the bike + movie star + dummy’s center of gravity backwards, ensuring the rear wheel would hit first when Cruise landed.

So if you see a Ducati in the film, it’s a Ducati, albeit likely a heavily modified one. According to Ducati, the bike’s ability to stick huge jumps was boosted by, “totally different fork, shocks, link, rear subframe, weld beads on engine mounts, re-enforced steering head and swingarm mounts.” If you see a Ducati doing unrealistic things in the movie though, that’s probably CGI.

  • Mike

    I knew that wasn’t Cameron Diaz! Look at her butt, that’s the give away…lol.

  • jconli1

    didn’t they also do that with the “Speed Triple” in one of his Mission Impossible movies?

    … and wasn’t Street Hawk really an XR?

  • Gerry

    If they fix that rear end problem, I want one. Yes, the doll.

  • Andy

    I think they did it because his feet won’t reach the ground while on a Ducati! Silly scientologists!

  • Noone1569


  • JayRey

    If the “dummy on the back of Tom’s motorcycle” weighs 50 lbs, how much did the Cameron Diaz mannequin weigh? Also, check out the tiny little douche bag’s tiny feet on their tiny tippy toes. The mannequin’s feet are bigger than the dummy’s.

  • cds

    Are we sure it’s not also to make Cruise look like less of a midget on the smaller bike?

  • Tanshanomi

    I don’t care where it came from, who rode it, why it was made, or how it was used: I would still seriously rock that motorcycle.

  • Kidchampion

    The Church of Scientology should market denim shirts with an “I’m not gay” lady mannequin mounted on the back of it.

  • Brett L.

    Just a couple thoughts:

    The Aprilia seat is almost 3″ higher than the Hyper 1100, 36.14″ vs. 33.3″. I would assume the Ducati is wider though, and the Aprilia would sag more under weight.

    The Aprilia may have longer suspension travel but how much was given up to the under-seat exhaust?

  • gregorbean

    You can see the jump here, it’s the ESPN/K&D Spot vid in the the middle:

    Nothing big, but props for doing it himself. That wacky guy. I’d pretend to be a scientoligist for a day to get a peek in his garage.

    • Mark D.

      I know he got one of the first US Desmosedicis. I bet he’s way less wacky than the media portray’s him; anybody with good taste in bikes can’t be that bad!

  • the_doctor
  • George

    From the sound of it, the SXV would have been a better choice from the get go. Not a bad looking bike either. BTW, Wes, for goodness sakes, try and write one blog without calling anyone names. You are like the Stanley A. McChrystal of the motorcycle blogs.

    • Wes Siler

      Watch out, I’ll pull my Stanley A. McChrystal nunchucks…

  • Darmah Bum

    Cruise should have used one of his Confederate’s for the stunt – Now THAT would have impressed me !

  • WestOfBen

    Lets not forget Valentino Rossi took a dummy for a ride first!

  • kiya

    His hem-line is still pitiful.

  • Gregg Smrz

    OK, since nobody can seem to get this right, here is the “Real Story”. The Aprilia mock up was used in the Knight and Day movie for the motorcycle jump through the archway. The jump was 100 feet long and 8 feet high. Sorry guys, but nobody is jumping the Hypermotard that far. And it was not CG. The stunt double for Tom did the jump, and he used the same dummy as the one seen in the photo everybody is making such a big deal about. A lot of work went into disguising the motorcycle, so props to whoever caught it. The swing arm is the giveaway. The motorcycle pictured is 40% lighter than a Hypermotard with a human on the back, which makes the jump possible. The wheels were bent upon landing from the impact as expected, and that is why we used tubes in the tires.

    Why did we use a Ducati Hypermotard in the movie? Because it’s a bad ass bike, and was perfect for the film. The only reason we used the Aprilia, is because I like the stunt double, and didn’t want to kill him to get the big jump shot.

    All this talk about seat height and the size of the bike is gibberish. The Aprilia has a taller seat height, and is top heavy compared to the Ducati. We also used Dunlop rain tires, because we were racing around on cobblestones and they were extremely slippery.

    Tom is in fact a very qualified rider, and rode numerous times in the film with Cameron Diaz on the back. He also did a 30 foot jump off a 3 foot high ramp on the ESPN shoot with the dummy on the back, and no helmet. What more can I say.

    Gregg Smrz
    Stunt Coordinator from Knight and Day

  • huh?

    Is that the real story or the “Real Story?”

  • Thomas

    @ gregg smrz –> thanks for the explanation.

    Of course we thought Tom Cruise was too scared to drive the real HYPERMOTARD. We all know which bike the GPZ900 in Top Gun really was…