Tom Cruise’s Bike in Top Gun: A Look

Introduction to Tom Cruise’s Bike in Top Gun

Top Gun, the 1986 American action drama film directed by Tony Scott and starring Tom Cruise as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, is well-known for its thrilling aviation sequences. However, one of the most iconic moments of the movie involves a motorcycle ride by Tom Cruise.

In that scene, Maverick rides his motorcycle to meet Charlie (played by Kelly McGillis) at her house, and it’s hard not to notice how sleek and stylish his bike looks. The question on many fans’ minds is: what kind of bike did Tom Cruise ride in Top Gun?

The answer is that Maverick rode a Kawasaki GPZ900R. This model was released in 1984 and was known for its powerful engine performance and impressive top speed. It quickly became popular among sportbike enthusiasts due to its innovative design features such as liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder.

Kawasaki GPZ900R had a red-white-blue paint scheme with an aerodynamic fairing that gave it a distinct look on the road. The bike’s bold appearance matched Maverick’s character perfectly – he was daring, confident, and always ready for action.

The choice of Kawasaki GPZ900R was not accidental; it perfectly fit into the story of Top Gun which aimed to portray young pilots living life on the edge while flying advanced fighter jets like F-14 Tomcat.

Overall, Tom Cruise’s bike in Top Gun played an essential role in shaping his character image throughout the movie. It also contributed significantly towards making that particular scene one of cinema history’s most memorable moments.

History of Tom Cruise’s Bike

Tom Cruise has always been known for his love of motorcycles. It all started when he played the character of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 blockbuster hit movie, Top Gun. In the movie, we see Tom Cruise riding a Kawasaki GPZ900R bike at high speeds on California highways.

The Kawasaki GPZ900R was a sportbike manufactured by Kawasaki from 1984 to 2003. The bike had a liquid-cooled four-cylinder engine that produced around 115 horsepower and could reach top speeds of up to 150 mph. It was one of the most advanced bikes at that time and became very popular among motorcycle enthusiasts.

When Top Gun was released, it not only elevated Tom Cruise’s career but also made him an icon among bikers. His character in the movie inspired many young riders to take up biking as a hobby or profession.

After Top Gun, Tom Cruise continued to ride different bikes in other movies like Days Of Thunder (1990) where he rode Harley-Davidson XR-750 dirt bikes and Triumph Speed Triple roadsters in Mission Impossible II (2000). However, his association with the Kawasaki GPZ900R remained strong throughout his career.

In fact, when he reprised his role as Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick which is scheduled for release on July 2nd this year after multiple delays due to COVID-19 pandemic; fans were excitedly waiting for him to ride another legendary bike from Kawasaki’s stable – H2R Ninja which produces around 300 horsepower!

In conclusion, Tom Cruise’s love for motorcycles is well-known and it all started with his iconic performance as Maverick riding a Kawasaki GPZ900R in Top Gun. The bike became an instant classic and remains one of the most recognizable motorcycles ever seen on screen!

Specifications of the Bike

The bike that Tom Cruise rode in Top Gun was a Kawasaki GPZ900R, which was introduced in 1984. This sports bike had a four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine with a displacement of 908cc and produced up to 115 horsepower at 9,500 rpm.

The GPZ900R had a six-speed transmission and could reach a top speed of around 153 mph. It featured an aluminum perimeter frame and adjustable suspension for improved handling. The front brakes were dual discs while the rear brake was a single disc.

This bike also had advanced features for its time such as fuel injection, air-adjustable forks, and digital displays for speedometer, tachometer, trip meter, fuel gauge and clock. It also included anti-dive technology to prevent excessive fork compression during hard braking.

The overall weight of the GPZ900R was around 518 pounds (235 kg), making it one of the lighter bikes available at the time. Its sleek design combined with its impressive performance made it an instant hit among motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide.

Modifications Made for Top Gun

When it came to the motorcycles used in Top Gun, there were a few modifications made to the bikes that Tom Cruise and his co-stars rode. The Kawasaki GPZ900R, which was used as the main bike for Cruise’s character, Maverick, underwent several changes to make it more suitable for the film’s needs.

Firstly, the stock exhaust on the GPZ900R was replaced with a custom-made 4-into-1 system. This not only gave the bike a unique look but also improved its performance by increasing airflow and reducing weight.

The front end of Maverick’s bike was also modified with an aftermarket fairing from Gustafsson Plastics. This provided better aerodynamics at high speeds and added to the overall aesthetic of the motorcycle.

To give Maverick’s bike an even more aggressive appearance, custom paintwork was applied by Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan of Hot Dog Kustoms. The metallic black base color was offset with bright red racing stripes running down either side of the fuel tank.

Other modifications included replacing some of the original components such as footpegs and levers with aftermarket options that were better suited for stunts performed during filming.

Overall, these modifications helped turn a standard production motorcycle into one of cinema’s most iconic vehicles. It is no wonder that fans still associate Tom Cruise and Top Gun with this classic sportbike over thirty years later.

Significance of the Bike in the Film

The bike that Tom Cruise rode in Top Gun is not just any ordinary motorcycle. It plays a significant role in establishing his character’s personality and adds depth to the overall story.

Firstly, the bike represents Maverick’s rebellious nature. He is known for breaking rules and taking risks, which is illustrated by his choice of transportation. The bike allows him to move freely and quickly without being confined to conventional methods of transportation like cars or planes.

Additionally, it highlights his independent spirit. Maverick is someone who prefers to do things on his own terms, which includes traveling alone on his motorcycle.

Moreover, the bike serves as a symbol of freedom for Maverick – something he values deeply but struggles with due to his responsibilities as a fighter pilot. Riding through empty roads with wind blowing against him gives him a momentary escape from reality – an opportunity to forget about everything else and focus solely on himself.

Lastly, the bike also establishes Maverick’s connection with Goose -his best friend and co-pilot- who rode another motorcycle alongside him during one memorable scene in Top Gun. This particular sequence showcases their bond and friendship while emphasizing their carefree personalities.

Overall, Tom Cruise’s choice of riding this specific type of motorbike was not accidental; it was carefully selected by director Tony Scott after thorough research into what would suit Maverick‚Äôs character perfectly while adding value to the storyline itself.

Legacy of the Bike in Pop Culture

Bicycles have been an integral part of pop culture for decades, serving as a symbol of freedom, independence, and adventure. From classic films like E.T. to modern television shows such as Stranger Things, bikes have become synonymous with nostalgia and childhood memories.

One of the most iconic bike moments in film history comes from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster hit E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. In one memorable scene, Elliot (played by Henry Thomas) takes E.T. on his handlebars and rides across the moonlit sky while John Williams’ soaring score plays in the background.

In recent years, bikes have made a comeback in popular culture thanks to hit shows like Stranger Things and their portrayal of small town America during the 1980s. Bikes are not only used as a mode of transportation but also serve as a metaphor for growing up and facing challenges head-on.

But perhaps no other form of transportation has had quite an impact on pop culture than motorcycles. With their sleek designs and rebellious spirit, motorcycles have been featured prominently in movies since the early days of Hollywood.

And when it comes to motorcycle movies, Top Gun is certainly one that stands out from the rest.

So what bike did Tom Cruise ride in Top Gun?

Tom Cruise’s character Maverick didn’t actually ride a motorcycle but instead drove a Kawasaki GPZ900R sports bike during one particular scene where he races against rival pilot Iceman (played by Val Kilmer).

The GPZ900R was introduced by Kawasaki in 1984 as their flagship sportbike model with top speeds reaching up to 165 mph – making it perfect for Maverick’s need for speed.

But it wasn’t just its performance capabilities that made this bike so popular among moviegoers – its futuristic design caught everyone’s attention too. The GPZ900R set new standards for sportbikes with its aerodynamic shape and distinctive green and blue graphics.

In conclusion, bikes – whether it be bicycles or motorcycles – have left an indelible mark on pop culture. From classic films like E.T. to modern-day shows like Stranger Things, they continue to evoke feelings of nostalgia and adventure in audiences all around the world. And for motorcycle enthusiasts, iconic movie scenes such as Maverick’s race in Top Gun will forever cement the legacy of these sleek machines in popular culture.


In conclusion, the bike that Tom Cruise rode in Top Gun was a Kawasaki GPZ900R. It was a popular and powerful sports bike of its time and is still sought after by motorcycle enthusiasts today. The scene where Cruise rides the bike on the runway at sunset has become iconic, solidifying the GPZ900R’s place in pop culture history.

Through his portrayal of Maverick in Top Gun, Tom Cruise helped to popularize not only this particular model of motorcycle but also motorcycles as a whole. His love for riding can be seen in other films he’s starred in such as Mission: Impossible – Fallout where he performed his own stunts on a BMW R nineT Scrambler.

Final Thoughts

In final thoughts, it’s clear that Tom Cruise has had a significant impact on both cinema and motorcycling culture. While some may argue that his celebrity status overshadows his actual talent as an actor or rider, there is no denying that he has brought attention to these industries and introduced many people to new experiences.

As for the Kawasaki GPZ900R, it remains one of the most beloved bikes of all time thanks in part to its appearance in Top Gun. For those looking to experience what it feels like to ride one themselves, there are plenty still available on the market today – just be prepared to pay top dollar for their collectible status.

Overall, whether you’re a fan of Tom Cruise or just someone who loves motorcycles, it’s hard not to appreciate what he brought to both worlds through his work in Top Gun and beyond.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *