Looks like a home made Bat Pod. It must have trouble turning corners with those wheels.
posted on 27-7-2010
Design trouble that the original Bat Pod went through...
When he first laid eyes on the Bat-Pod mockup, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould wasn't sure if his director actually knew anything about
motorcycles. But that's what makes The Dark Knight at once a throwback superhero movie and a green-screen-light breakthrough in digital Hollywood: It
turns fantasy into reality. And building a concept vehicle without a team of automotive engineers was one of its biggest challenges. "The gauntlet
had been thrown down," Corbould says.
While the filmmakers and Warner Brothers have been tight-lipped about any vehicle specs in the movie, Corbould clearly had to reinvent how a
motorcycle's systems make it run. Nolan and Crowley's original sketches had no tailpipe, but anything with a motor needs an outlet for exhaust.
Weaving around the bike's carbon-fiber and Kevlar body and steel chassis, the design team built the exhaust system into the frame, ducting it through
the hollow steel/aluminum/magnesium tubing. Two months later, the high-performance, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine--geared toward the lower end
for faster acceleration--was ready to power the Pod. Only there was another headache: Who in the world could drive this thing?
Bruce Wayne's monster-truck tires worked just fine on the Tumbler, but integrating them with the Bat-Pod's steering system was "totally bizarre,"
Corbould says. At about 20 in. wide--enough to balance the bike without a kickstand--the wheels didn't look like they would go anywhere but straight
ahead. "We skimmed layers of rubber off and then started changing the angles of the steering joints and things like that," says Corbould. But that
didn't stop the rear tires from blowing in test after test.
At the suggestion of stunt driver Jean-Pierre Goy, the design team restored the rear tire to its original radius and modified only the front, allowing
Goy to control the bike. Still the only one can actually drive the Bat-Pod, Goy refused to drive any regular motorcycles during filming--the Pod was
just too one-of-a-kind, too confusing for other on-the-road styles.
Then there's that little matter of gadgetry. Besides his extreme wealth and dedication to wiping out mob crime in Gotham, there's nothing super
about Bruce Wayne--and that might make him the most gear-loaded superhero of all time. Although it's not Caped Crusader style to resort to guns
(modded goggles and body armor get more screen time in The Dark Knight), you have to fight fire with fire when The Joker's packing heat. So the
Bat-Pod joins the legion of gun-toting movie motorcycles with .50-cal. machine guns and 40 mm cannons built directly into its framework. Then the bike
one-ups them with its pneumatically launched grappling hooks, which flip an 18-wheeler over in one key shootout.
In order to give Batman the ability to maneuver under low clearances, the Bat-Pod can physically lower and elongate itself. On set, the front forks
extended and the chassis hugged the ground, positioning Goy parallel to the ground--and that's before pulling a 360. "The saddle is free to
rotate," Crowley says. "It allows you to do all kinds of odd movement within the frame of the bike."
Another cool design element: Those footrests are actually the bike's radiator. But like the exhaust, the normal components had to be hidden to keep
the bike's profile true to the original concept. Then there was what Corbould saw as a potentially disastrous--and dangerous--design flaw: Without
mudflaps, would Batman's cape get caught up in the wheels? The design team spent weeks on a work-around. Maybe the cape would have a kind of ejection
device, or even a way to suck back in to the all-new Batsuit. But it was all for naught: During test rides, the cape trailed Goy flawlessly through
the streets of lower Gotham. The image, Corbould says, "was just iconic."