Suspend your Disbelief: The Walking Dead

Dailies -


walking dead pic 1

“I ain’t nobody’s bitch.” — Daryl Dixon

Imagine yourself falling into a coma and waking up months later alone in a hospital, only to realize the zombie apocalypse has finally happened. All modern conveniences are gone; no Internet, no supermarkets, malls, and the people have turned into flesh-eating zombies. That’s the premise of Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead.” This rag tag team of survivors consists of family, children, friends, old people, young people and one badass motorcycle riding redneck: Daryl Dixon.

The TV Show: Based off the comic book of the same name, The Walking Dead follows the journey of Rick Grimes, his family and a group of fellow survivors who are struggling to make it through the zombie apocalypse. With modern society and all its niceties in shambles, just surviving from one day to the next is tough work. Without the basic tenants of survival (food, water and shelter) things quickly become dangerous for the group. Traveling from place to place, the group hopes they can find a place they can call “home.” All of this whilst avoiding fleshing eating zombies.

The Bike: A chopped ‘60s Triumph Bonneville TR6C is the bike that Daryl Dixon rides in The Walking Dead. Chopping motorcycles, cutting the frame to make the bike lower, longer and lighter, was a popular amongst motorcycles during the 1960s and 1970s. Daryl’s bike has been obviously customized to be a badass cruiser, complete with a peanut tank. Designed for short, upright, loud rides, this bike definitely fits the image of a badass redneck.

Reedus rides another apocalypse-ready bike in real life — the Hammarhead Jack Pine.

The Rider: Daryl Dixon is played by Norman Reedus who is no stranger to motorcycles, even working at a Harley-Davidson shop before becoming an actor. In The Walking Dead, Reedus is portraying a hillbilly who is uniquely prepared for the zombie apocalypse from his years of casual crime and hunting. Refusing to use firearms because “they make too much noise,” Daryl prefers his trusty crossbow to kill zombies swiftly and silently. Riding a motorcycle completely fits his hooligan, “I don’t give a fuck, let’s kill some zombies” attitude. It’s hinted in the series that the motorcycle he rides belongs to his older brother, Merle Dixon.

The Action: No fancy stunts, no dodging zombies or even running away from them here. Just your general commuting from one zombie infested area to another, occasionally two-up. Realistic for a classic chopper.

The Reality: In a world without mechanics, spare parts and a dwindling supply of aging gasoline, the most basic, simple mode of transportation makes a ton of sense. The chopper’s not going to do much jumping or sliding or other such hijinks, but that’s not really what Daryl needs it for. Just being able easily scoot through all the broken down cars on the roads is enough to elevate his form of transportation above that of the rest of the group, putting him and the bike into a natural role as scout. If it breaks, Daryl can fix it without some expensive electronic diagnostic tool that needs to be shipped from Italy and it relies on a kick, not a button to start. Turns out, your life depends on practicality in the zombie apocalypse.

Believability: 9/10

  • Clint Keener

    It has an SS nazi badge on the tank. A little beyond typical redneck racism.

    • Wes Siler

      As reprehensible as it is, that badge has been adopted by the “outlaw” biker community as an identifier.

      • Jonathan Berndt

        … says a lot about “outlaws”!

      • Daniel Silverman

        And it’s a fashion statement amongst youths in Japan. They don’t have much knowledge of the Holocaust – it just looks like a cool symbol to them.

        • orthorim

          Maybe the symbol has actually been around before the Nazis? Like the swastika, which they borrowed from Hinduism/Buddhism. Lots of people here in Asia wear swastikas as kind of a “cool” symbol – has nothing to do with right wingers or Nazis.

        • dimidi

          American soldiers died fighting the SS and so many other people around the world. I pay respect to them and I’d rather use some other symbol as a fashion statement… I’m not sure how that works for you americans but for us europeans it has a very clear meaning.

        • yipY

          The Japanese as a people couldn’t care less about the deaths of millions whether it is around the block,over the sea of Japan or halfway around the world.Understanding the mental health of the Japanese is very interesting,one decade it’s the whole nation psychotic on speed,or recently hiding from the world at home on shrooms bought legally at local stores.

    • Mike

      Scout Sniper team used it in Iraq not thinking that it would have any cultural or racial stigma related to it, and caught a lot of bad press for it… As long as there’s no real racism behind it, I don’t see why it should be prevented from being used… After all, the “swastika” was oringinally a religious symbol in Hinduism.

      • yipY

        The WWII swastika is an ancient European symbol and has no direct link to the reversed style Hindu one.

    • Justin Penney

      The SS badge, swastikas, and other WWII German Army aesthetics have long been part of the outlaw biker image. It’s just another “shocking” item to show how tough they are.

      In the context of the show, the bike is belongs to Merle, Daryl’s older and overtly racist brother.

    • akaaccount

      It’s Merle’s bike, not Daryl’s. Merle isn’t your typical redneck racist.

  • Benny Emerald

    I like this article series. You should do the XR100 from Terminator 2.

    • el_jefe

      The fun motorcycle fact about T2: the Kawasaki Police bike magically turns into a dirtbike in order to ride up the stairs:

      • Jorge Mancin

        I know! It too was sent from the future, because in the future that kz1000 will still be going strong! Plus the added tech that enabled it to transform as the terminator did. If it was good enough for poncho… It’s good enough for the T1000 to ride a KZ1000. Hahaha! Back then we didn’t care that much about those goofs. Nor when john got rear ended by a huge freightliner or when a 700lb fat boy dropped into the river with a very heavy made out of metal terminator.

        About the original post… That bike would be appropiate for an apocalypse. I owned a couple of old triumphs. You specific tools, plus if it’s running the amals he would have gotten bittena long time ago. And… He would probably need as much as gas. All with a joking tone. Love all bikes! And everytime a bike appears in tv or cinema is good for the industry.

  • JB

    I’d knock the believability down a couple pegs. All the riding in the show is completely believable, but the inconvenience and impracticality of that kind of bike make it hard to believe the character would last as long as he has, especially when you consider his exposure to the walkers.

    • jerry guy

      Especially since nothing says reliable and easy to maintain like a vintage British bike

  • vachequipis

    I ride a sportster & I have an old CB650/4 awaiting a café/street tracker conversion next winter. I would love to ride a Panigale. When money permits I want to add a Duc Monster. My son (16yrs) has a 50cc Aprilia Classic and a TS 125 ER. What I can’t understand is the tribalism on this site. WTF we are all motorcyclists can we not live together and accept that two wheels rule! the well said words by someone far better than me are ” It’s not what you ride it’s that you ride!”

    • Wes Siler

      At what point in this article do you detect bias against whatever you identify as?

      • vachequipis

        In your article I didn’t detect any bias, sorry if it comes across that way. it was certainly not a critique of you or HFL. I come here because there is a broad spectrum of articles on different types of bikes. I identify myself as moto rider. I get a little annoyed about tribalism by certain comments posted. I have to admit it is not just here but everywhere, Some Harley riders hate metric cruisers and vice versa. Both seem to hate sports bikes and some sport bike riders hate everything cruiser or over 20 yrs old. Even Bikeefix won’t post Chopers but in certain cases just as much quality engineering and craftmanship has gone in to the build. Why? we all love bikes. it is beyond me. I guess it is human nature and nothing will change :(
        I will continue to visit and enjoy HFL, but not comment.

        • Patrick Jung

          not to nitpick, but Bikexif often features choppers, enough that I sometimes wish there was a filter for that tag. Try searching that site by catagory if the chopper style tickles your man parts, I’m sure there are great examples on there.

          • vachequipis

            I like a well built moto no matter what the style is, wether it be a hyabusa or harley

  • Scott Jameson

    Go Dan!

  • Emmet

    I’m pretty sure they dub over the Triumph with Harley v-twin sound. Then you see Darryl roll away in first gear yet it sounds like he’s accelerating fast and changing gears.

    Yep, a British bike won’t get you much reliability, but they are pretty simple to work on. It doesn’t take much experience to do a top end job (I know because I’ve done it, and I’m no master mechanic)

    On the plus side, he’s getting ~55mpg. I’d say 8/10 just because his loud pipes would attract too much attention not just to himself, but to his camp-which is pretty damn careless if it’s all for ‘attitude’

  • Mark Desrosiers

    Doesn’t use guns because they make too much noise. Rides a straight-pipe Brit bike. The goddamn thing is a dinner bell for zombies! In “The Stand”, one group rides 250cc Rebels they steal from a dealership (foregoing the CBRs because they don’t want anybody to go too fast and kill themselves).

    • Eric Cherry

      Stealing one from a dealership does make more sense to me, “The end is neigh…. I’ve always wanted a Ducati. How about this one?” :vroom: I agree with others than something like a enduro bike would be the better bet, but it’s the end of the world. Life is momentary, why not enjoy yourself? I’d grab whatever looked like fun that minute.

  • Jesse

    Mmm. That Jack Pine. Now we’re talking.

  • Mark Desrosiers

    You should do one for Goose’s KZ1000 police bike from Mad Max. What could be better for hunting down outlaws in Holdens in a post-peak-gas future?

    • Bryan Paynter

      I wish I could vote this up more than once.

  • Jakob Boedenauer

    If we’re being really honest here, there is only one bike that will undoubtedly be the cockroach of the bike world. The KLR.

    It’ll go anywhere, get great mileage, easy to fix, it’ll carry your gear and if you get the military version of it, it’ll run on ground up zombies.

  • Aaron Trent

    In the episode where the farmhouse is overrun by zombie he is riding a heavily modded dirtbike in some of the shots. The skinny knobbies where the first clue.

    • Brammofan

      I thought that it was the same bike, just that it was wearing knobbies.

      • Aaron Trent

        I may be wrong, it saw it a few months back but I remember thinking it was a dirtbike for some reason other than the tires.

  • BigHank53

    TENETS of survival. “Tenants” live in an apartment and pay rent.

  • Tony Shipley

    It looks like a Yamaha XS650 motor

  • mintpaul

    I know they dub the sound of a Harley when he rides this bike in the show….

  • Kevin King

    His older brother’s character is a racist (white supremacist) red neck, who is also the owner of the bike. Therefore the SS reflect the character’s personality.