How To Outrun The Zombie Apocalypse On a Motorcycle

How To -


Zombie Apocalypse Motorcycle

As Norman Reedus has taught us through “The Walking Dead,” a two-wheeled vehicle can be the ideal way to evade hoards of the undead and human survivors alike. Here’s your step-by-step guide on how to outrun the zombie apocalypse on a motorcycle.

Step One: Choose the Right Bike
In any sort of apocalypse scenario — zombies or no — transportation is going to be a major problem. I recall here the 1998 masterpiece “Deep Impact” in which (spoiler alert) Elijah Wood escapes through gridlocked traffic on a dirt bike.

You and I can learn a lot from Frodo’s choice — a simple, broadly capable, large-capacity dual sport.

In any disaster scenario, you’ll almost certainly be facing horrendous traffic as legions of drivers attempt to flee populated areas in their gas guzzling automobiles. Light, slim, easily-manageable dual sport motorcycles are an ideal lane-splitting tool; they’re capable of easily squeezing through gaps other motorcycle can’t and the tall, upright riding position contributes to both vision and low-speed control.

Honda XR650L
Honda XR650L dual sport

Now add in something a little more significant than just a traffic jam. An earthquake, perhaps? Those have been known to cause damage to road infrastructure, collapsing bridges, breaking water mains, felling power lines, and this is especially likely during an apocalypse. Suddenly, you need a bike that won’t be fazed by rubble, is capable of easily hopping curbs and which opens up the widest selection of alternate routes. We can’t recommend doing so for liability reasons, of course, but a single-track vehicle may be able to find ways through or over damaged roadways that a four-wheel vehicle never could. A four-inch-wide footprint means a bike can go pretty much anywhere you can walk.

Worst case scenario? A dual sport doesn’t need any roads at all.

Like Elijah, we’d go for one of the 650 cc, single-cylinder dual sports. They’re cheap, widely available, tough as nails and, should you ever be subject to an EMP attack, remember to run on carbs, not fuel-injection.

Zombie Apocalypse Motorcycle

Step Two: Modify Your Ride
So the above dual sports are basic, cheap and capable. But, because they’re all such old designs, they also leave a lot to be desired by the zombie apocalypse prepper.

Because gas stations will likely be overwhelmed and will quickly run out of gasoline and, because siphoning fuel from another vehicle makes you stationary and therefore exposed, you’re going to want to give your bike a decent fuel range. With the exception of the KLR and its impressive 6.1-gallon capacity, all of the above bikes have tiny tanks and ranges limited to the 100-mile neighborhood as a result. Fortunately, aftermarket fuel tanks for all of the bikes above are widely available and easy to retrofit. We’d start our modifications there.

Next, we’d think about tires. Most of the above bikes come with “80/20” rubber, meaning they’re largely biased towards on-road use. Operating bikes so equipped for off-road can be dangerous and slow. We’d instead recommend accentuating their go-anywhere ability with a good 50/50 or even 40/60 tire. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely be carrying extra weight and potentially putting in big on-road miles.

Which brings us to our next modification: giving your bike the ability to carry stuff. This is a big limitation of many of this style of bike, often their subframes simply aren’t capable of supporting the weight of both a passenger and luggage. Luckily, exposed steel tube frames are easy to modify. Many bike shops are capable of welding on strengthening gussets or, if you know what you’re doing, it’s relatively easy to do so yourself.

You’ll next want to consider luggage. Kriega’s Overlander series is extremely versatile, giving you the ability to load your stuff into soft, waterproof bags, or bolt on Rotopax containers for extra fuel and water. Carrying both would be a good idea. But, hard aluminum panniers give you the ability to securely lock your supplies away, potentially advantageous should you need to leave your bike unattended. During an apocalypse, folks tend to have sticky fingers.

Lastly, you’ll want to fit aftermarket protection parts to the bikes, so they can crash and then just keep on going. Barkbusters should be first on your list, because they protect both the crucial levers and your hands. Next should be crash bars of some kind, protecting the engine and frame.

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  • grindz145
  • Generic42

    You for got to add: “While zombies are attracted to almost all noise, they ignore the sound of motorcycles” Per The Walking Dead and Daryl’s ride.

    • ccc40821

      Jeez, I thought this was an excellent way to end the stupid ‘loud pipes save lives’ discussion.

  • Richard Gozinya

    This is the only bike for the zombie apocalypse.

  • Michael Howard

    As much as I love my bike and love riding, in a survival situation I think I’ll “pussy up” and hide in a mobile cage that can run over/though whatever gets in my way. ;)

    • Blixa

      I’ve considered this scenario a bit myself and always concluded that in a cannibalism situation, a car is best. Although, yeah, fleeing the zombies by bike is a million times cooler.

      • E Brown

        My plan is diesel cargo van as mobile base with dirt bike in/on the back for foraging and recon.

    • runnermatt

      I recommend the Local Motors Rally Fighter for this strategy, but due to cost and rarity you probably won’t find one. In that case a Ford Raptor or Jeep Rubicon.

    • JD

      There should be plenty of military HummWV’s laying around, they take no diesel and they need no key….

  • hangaround

    The bike should have a kickstarter, so you can still flee the undead when your on low battery. You should as well be able to cover the headlamp or switch off the lighting for better camouflage during night. For Survivalists: It might be useful to carry one or two bear traps with you. They are easy and quickly to use, will provide you with food and can defend your bike from looters during the night.

  • LS650

    I’m thinking a Rokon would be ideal. Zombies shuffle along pretty slowly, so your bike doesn’t have to be fast, but you need to carry fuel and supplies…

    • Mr.Paynter

      Close but a bit quicker!

      • Brian

        and a TeeDub would probably get better gas mileage than the Rokon and the XR650 or DR650.

  • Piglet2010

    Aerostich Motel:

    Be sure to get the Competition Back Pad, as the larger size really helps when sleeping on rough ground (or even just napping under a picnic table during a mundane trip):

  • Brian

    I am surprised you didn’t mention the outfitting of a chainsaw for said situational capabilities. Something akin to this -> because if you need to clear a path for further getaway, or cut your way through a swath of undead you happen to get cornered into encountering.

  • markbvt

    For what it’s worth… Elijah Wood’s dual sport in “Deep Impact” was actually a Yamaha XT225, not a 650. Better choice for a scrawny kid anyway.

    I think my personal choice for a post-apocalypse bike would be a Yamaha WR250R. One of the lightest, best-suspended dual sports available, and it gets awesome gas mileage.

    • Richard Gozinya

      The problem with most choices is that they run on gasoline. In a post-apocalyptic scenario that’s going to be the first thing to run out. The Hayes M1030 on the other hand can run on Diesel, JP8, Kerosene, Biodiesel, WVO, and probably a couple of other things. It also gets insanely good fuel economy. Harder to get, but once you have it, no worries.

  • El Isbani

    There’s a previous RideApart entry that already endorses the Suzuki DR650 as the choice for a zombie apocalypse.

  • SteveNextDoor

    FYI, an alternative to cotton balls as a fire starting material I like to use for camping is lint collected from the lint trap on a clothes dryer. Highly flammable. You can use the micro-film canisters for waterproof storage (yes, these were originally made to hold things other than your “prescriptions”) or I like those small tubes that stuff like Airborne comes in.

    As far as a zombie ‘pocalypse tool / melee weapon, accept no substitute: Trucker’s Friend (not the one with fishnets) — axe head, hammer, nail puller, pry bar and other stuff that adds up to, “Bite me? B*tch, please.”

    • blackcayman

      while that clearly is a great multipurpose tool, and one you should have. The number one tool for the Zombie Apocalypse is a real samurai sword – have you seen the walkig dead?

    • Mr.Paynter

      I can has?

    • hangaround

      That firestarter tip with the lint from a clothes dryer is excellent, i never thought about that! I love preppers!

      • Wes Siler

        It’s actually kind of a pain. To make them waterproof, you have to melt a bunch of candlewax and soak each wad of lint in it to coat the exterior completely. With vaseline and cotton balls, you just put a handful of vaseline in a ziploc bag, throw cotton balls in it, seal the bag and smoosh them around a bit until they’re all coated. Much less hassle and they’re easier and more effective to use too, just pull one apart to expose the dry interior, hit that with a spark and you have a solid two minutes of four-inch high flame to work with.

    • JD

      You should look up the “hooligan entry tool” it trumps that, but having both would not be a bad idea.

      • DrRideOrDie

        anything with a point like that or hook type setup would not be advantageous. It would likely get stuck in flesh and bone rendering it useless and you temporarily immobile as you struggle to free it. The samurai sword is a good option when wielded correctly as it can effectively completely sever head or limb in one swing as well as pierce. The option I have went with is a custom made machete that is the exact length as my femur. I had considered the potential for injury during a crash with it attached to my body but figured I could offset that risk by attaching it to my leg so that it works like a brace instead. A well handled machete is lethal, i.e. The Book of Eli

  • CruisingTroll

    The Real Step One: Be lucky, very lucky. No amount of skill, preparedness and equipment will help when you’re at Ground Zero for the impact, are Patient Zero, etc.

    How much does luck matter? Read a biography of George Washington, and one of Winston Churchill, to get some sense.

    This is not a call on my part for fatalism, simply a call that folks recognize the reality.

    (Oh, and stay away from the following places:

    New York City.
    Golden Gate Bridge.
    The White House / US Capitol Building.
    The Eiffel Tower
    Tower of London
    Pyramids of Gaza


    Those are the places that ALWAYS seem to get plastered.

    You’ve been warned. :D

  • CruisingTroll

    Aside from being lucky, one must quickly determine what Zombie Paradigm is in play, because knowing that can quickly allow you to go from simply suriving the Zombie Apocalypse to rapidly putting an end to it.

    Are they Voodoo Zombies? If so, then hop on your trusty moto, hunt down the Voodoo priest and kill him (or her). Voila, zombie problem solved.

    Perhaps they’re Alien Parasite Zombies. Again, hop on the trusty moto, head to your nearest vintage music store, pick up a couple of Slim Whitman tapes and a boombox, start blasting. Parasites explode, zombie heads explode, problem solved.

    On the other hand, if they are Classic Undead Zombies, whether reanimated by a Necromancer or by your garden variety evil priest, your best bet is to high tail it on the moto to a monastery. Round up a few hearty men of God and they can blast the zombies into oblivion through their faith, although it’s likely some shootin and slicing might be needed as well. CUZ’s are similar to Voodoo Zombies, some folks will group them together. The key difference is that killing the creator of CUZ’s simply turns them loose from control. Useful in that they won’t ALL be chasing you, but problematic because now the Zombies will be wandering all over the place.

    Last, and most popular recently, are the Bio-Zombies, infected with some dastardly plague. Lotsa advice on how to handle those is available through the media.

  • Mykola

    Raise your hand if you think the “zombie apocalypse” meme is a little too played-out and/or half-assedly mainstream and/or half-assedly referenced by softies (my/yourself included) a little too often in real life

    • CruisingTroll

      The Zombie Apocalypse is, for a great many people, merely a stand-in for the collapse of order. It’s considered very impolite to discuss in public blowing your neighbor’s head off with a shotgun a week after the electric grid fails. So instead, the discussion is about decapitating your neighbor, WHO HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A ZOMBIE.

      To date, no sharks have been jumped, not even slow, zombie sharks. Much dodging of Sharknados may be necessary though until the threat of a “zombie” apocalypse fades…. (It’s important to pay attention to HOW the zombies are created… bio-zombies are the most prevalent now because the threat seems much more real than the other methods…)

  • hangaround

    Yup, you’re right.

  • nomad2495

    With all due respect to Daryl, his bike is absolutely retarded, No bike could handle worse than a 6 foot tall chopper in any situation. They just tried to make him cool (they don’t need to) with that bike.

  • David Thompson

    why run from them when all you need is a ar-15 from here