Brief Recounting Of Military Motorcycles

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 Military motorcycles

Because this iron horses deserve it!!!

Recounting the history, it’s almost unbelievable just to think of the time when our ancestors have ridden on horsebacks when attacking their enemies.

Since then the world was hit by the two greatest world wars.

This has undergone an enormous military technology progress that could be both terrifying and badass.

The great question here is why in circumstances like these, MOTORCYCLES has never got enough credit for their significance in the two World Wars.

We decided to give them some!

And today we are remembering the iron horses that helped our history to be written in a different and better way.




Country: U.S.

Year introduced: 1917

War: WWI

This military motorcycle model was successfully used due to the Mexican Revolution by The U.S Army for hunting down Pancho Villa and his troops.

Powered by Harley’s 61-cubic-inch F-head engine (which packed a whopping 15 horsepower!), mated to a simple 3-speed transmission that was mounted to the gas tank.

Combined with a variety of accessories, including hospital stretchers, passenger sidecars, shields, and fully automatic machine guns.

They were also quick (for the time), agile, durable, and able to navigate dangerous terrain with relative ease.

Indian Powerplus Big Twin

Country: U.S.

War: WWI

Country: U.S.

Year introduced: 1916

War: WWI

The Big Twin production came after U.S. has announced its entrance into a conflict.

50,000 Indian Powerplus Big Twins,  both faster and, with a swanky rear suspension, more maneuverable than their Harley counterparts, were produced.

Triumph Model H

Country: U.K.

Year introduced: 1915

War: WWI

British government felt the need of safer and quick way of delivering messages among their front military lines. This is how the Triumph was created.

After undergoing a long and complex process of testing Triumph Model H was settled.

The single cylinder-powered, air-cooled, 499cc motor was a bit of a dog at only 4 hp.

But it proved exceptionally reliable on the battlefield—enough so that it was nicknamed “The Trusty.”

Harley-Davidson WLA

Country: U.S.

Year introduced: 1940

Wars: WWII and Korea

During the Second World War, The American motorcycle company modified their popular civilian model, the WL, into the WLA.

The monstrous 550-pound machines were powered by Harley’s now-famous (and practically bulletproof) 45-inch flat-head motor.

They were quick, easy to work on in the field, and could take a hell of a beating on the road.

The combat gear was replaced with holsters and the world’s no.1 favorite and irreplaceable – Thompson submachine gun.

Norton WD16H

Country: U.K.

Year introduced: 1911 (for the military in 1932)


Enormously reliable.

Single-cylinder bike.

Perfectly ridden on gas.

Its  4-speed transmission and an excellent power-to-weight ratio make the motorcycle quick and nimble on the battlefield.

100,000 more of this one were produced during the end of the war for the British Royal Army.


Country: U.K.

Year introduced: 1937


During the Second World War, The British Government announced its need for a light, fast and reliable motorcycle for the purpose of transporting messages between the commanders.

BSA, the most popular motorcycle manufacturer in this period took the challenge.

They responded in the best possible way by creating the M20—a heavy-framed, side car-mounted cow of a bike, powered by a low-compression 500cc single-cylinder.

And the bike worked so well that Britain’s War Office ordered more than 126,000 to be created and used during the war.

The low-compression motor helped with the M20’s fuel economy, and this big fella had great low-end torque, which made light work of the steep hills, bumps, and ditches of the battlefield.

Royal Enfield WD/RE

Country: U.K.

Year introduced: 1939


The company that created this motorcycle, Royal Enfield was ordered to create motorcycles that responded well to the military efforts. The Royal Enfield WD/RE was by far the most memorable one.

WD/RE was tiny, lightweight, 125cc motorcycles designed to be dropped into war zones by parachutes.

The bikes were used by British paratroopers who had been dropped behind enemy lines to establish safe communications with one another.

Their punchy two-stroke motors could run on any gas, and they were light enough to carry over obstacles and through tight spaces.


Country: Germany

Year introduced: 1945


Wartime technology created by the Nazis were at least awe-inspiring but their BMW R71 outrun their enemies on the field.

The BMW’s 750cc (46-cubic-inch) side-valve motor and shaft drive combination performed beautifully throughout Europe.

When the fighting spread to North Africa in 1943, the R71 and R75s proved impervious to the desert grit and grime that was wreaking havoc on the Allies’ chain-driven bikes.


SdKfz 2 AKA The Kettenkrad

Country: Germany

Date introduced: 1939


Steered like a typical motorcycle, with tracks of a tank, and powered by a heavy-hitting 36-horsepower Opel motor.

The Kettenkrad was the most intimidating part of the Nazi weaponry.

Being primarily used for towing German planes, transporting soldiers and laying communication cables.

They were never equipped with guns and that’s why they have never really seen a real combat.

Harley MT500/350

Country: U.K./U.S.

Date introduced: 1983 (Armstrong MT500), 1987 (Harley)

Wars: Falklands War, Desert Storm

In 1987 Harley bought the rights of the Armstrong MT500.

A British military dual sports motorcycle that gained popularity for its agility, versatility, and reliability.

The single-cylinder 482cc Rotax four-stroke turns out a stout 32 hp, making the MT500 a real blast to ride.

Its younger brother, the MT 350, clocks in at just under 30 hp.

Its very limited production was used to recon missions in Operation Desert Storm.

As well as by NATO troops in other parts of the world.

The drawback? They run on gas, not diesel.

Kawasaki KLR650

Country: the U.S., NATO (Japanese-made)

Date introduced: 1987

War: Desert Storm

Known as the M103M1, this civilian KLR650 modification can run both on diesel and jet fuel, with a mind-blowing 96 miles per gallon.

Nowadays it’s popular among the United States Marine Corps and the reason for its popularity is because it’ll basically run on anything you dump in the gas tank.

Zero XXM

Country: U.S.

Date introduced: 2013

Wars: None

One of our most favorite two-wheeled killers that the U.S still keeps in stock is the Zero XXM, developed by Zero Motorcycles out of Santa Cruz, California.

Powered by a chillingly silent, all-electric motor that puts out a staggering 54 hp and 68 ft-lbs of torque.

It was developed strictly for U.S. Special Operations Forces.

It is as quiet as a church mouse, quick, unbelievably nimble, and virtually maintenance-free.

The perfect vehicle for things like low key recon missions, rescue attempts, covert operations, etc.

And its battery charge lasts more than 3500 hours.

TNX for reading