Sunday, June 9, 2024
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24 must-watch motorcycle tv shows for throttle junkies

From docu-series to reality drama to sci-fi. Motorcycle tv series for all tastes.

Riding motorcycles has and will always be exciting.

It gives you a rush of adrenaline and a sense of freedom as you flat out on the open road. As riders, we often reminisce and look back at our past rides while looking forward like an excited kid to the next.

So the question is, what can we do while waiting for the next ride and keep the passion alive and the adrenaline pumping!

From documentaries to help improve your riding style or to simply immerse in different bike cultures, to action drama for your daily dose of on-screen entertainment.

Here are 24 must-watch motorcycle tv shows for throttle junkies!

American Thunder (1996)

One of the longest-running motorcycle television shows, focused on the American V-Twin chopper culture and the lifestyle that comes with it. American Thunder takes viewers to the hottest events throughout America and providing the latest trends in the custom chopper scene. 

The show was also the first to introduce some of the greatest known builders such as Arlen Ness of Arlen Ness Motorcycles and Jesse James of West Coast Choppers to name a few.

Truly an inspirational show for all the V-Twin chopper fans out there.

American Chopper (2003)

A reality television show on Discovery Channel focused on the American chopper scene. The show features an American motorcycle manufacturer and lifestyle brand, Orange County Choppers (OCC), based in Newburgh Orange County, New York.

The series focuses on Paul Teutul Sr. aka “Senior” and Paul Teutul Jr. aka “Junior”. Though both excellent in their field, had different creative styles which led to a very unique and interesting work contrast between the father and son tandem. 

After years of working together, Junior eventually opened shop as Paul Jr. Designs which led to a spin-off series titled “American Chopper: Senior Vs. Junior” where you can see the two compete against each other. The spin-off ran for another 6 seasons.

Sons of Anarchy (2008)

Love it or hate it, Sons of Anarchy has influenced a lot of younger riders to ride cruisers. As a matter of fact, some of my bike buddies started riding because of this show. 

An American action crime drama series that revolved around a fictional motorcycle club, “Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original” aka “SAMCRO” in a fictional city, Charming, located in San Joaquin County, California.

Sons of Anarchy is about brotherhood, loyalty, redemption, and love, as the club goes through a lot of hardships. The power struggle between Clay Morrow the President and Jax Teller the Vice President and son of the former Club President leads to an alliance between those who want to stay illegal and those who wanted to create a brighter future by converting the club’s current business legal.

The show’s creator Kurt Sutter wanted to reflect and emulate real-life outlaw motorcycle clubs so he brought in members from the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club to be able to take a deeper dive into the culture and help shape the storyline.

The bikes featured were mostly from Harley Davidson with a few cameos from other brands such as Vespa and Triumph to name a few.

If you enjoy action drama and love motorcycles, especially cruisers, then this show is definitely for you!

Buy Sons of Anarchy complete series DVD box

sons of anarchy complete series dvd box

Mayans M.C. (2018)

The Mayans played a big role in Sons of Anarchy by being their main rival motorcycle club so it only makes sense that the creators gave them their own show.

This spin-off is still an action crime drama relating to motorcycle clubs but this time focused on the Mayans M.C. and its main character, Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a prospect of the club.

The show takes place two and a half years after the events of Sons of Anarchy and this time in a fictional border town Santo Padre in California.

If you enjoyed watching Sons of Anarchy and can’t get enough of the outlaw motorcycle club culture, then Mayans M.C. should be next on your list!

CHiPs (1977)

“CHiPs” which stands for California Highway Patrol is an American crime drama television show.

The series followed two state motorcycle patrolmen as they live their daily routine patrolling in and around the freeway system of Los Angeles. Jon Baker, the serious and straight officer, and the more trouble-prone Frank “Ponch” Poncherello were the main characters.

Officer Jon was assigned to be the training officer of Ponch who was then on probationary status. Each episode featured different incidents ranging from a simple stranded motorist to a more serious criminal investigation. The series lasted for 6 seasons.

Officers’ rode Kawasaki Z1-P and Z900-C2 for the first few seasons but were replaced by a Kawasaki Z1000-C1 with a modified windscreen. Expect to see other models too, as CHiPs tried different bikes for and on the show.

Feasting on Asphalt (2006)

This series is for those who love motorcycles as well as food. Led by Food Networks Alton Brown, creator of Good Eats and the main commentator and host of Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen.

Feasting on Asphalt explores “road food” from establishments that cater to travelers with an emphasis on niche restaurants and regional cuisine. Brown travels across the country with his BMW R1200RT looking for good road food. His bike was then traded for a boat to island-hop throughout the Caribbean on Season 3, which was then titled Feasting on Waves.

Brown suffered a motorcycle crash while riding through an unpaved road during the shooting of episode 4 of Season 1. He injured his right clavicle but was back on track shortly after recovering. The series lasted for 3 seasons with the last season being Feasting on Waves.

Race to Dakar (2006)

A documentary series following actor Charley Boorman’s journey entering the 2006 Dakar Rally which was from Lisbon to Dakar.

Boorman was teamed with Simon Pavey, a seasoned veteran who manages BMW Off-road school, and Matt Hall, an experienced British Enduro racer with BMW F650RR rally bikes, with Hall’s being the backup bike for parts.

Boorman had to withdraw from the race after injuring both his hands but continued the journey as the team’s on-ground manager. Hall withdrew from the race leaving Pavey to be the only member of the group to finish the rally.

This docu-series gives you a glimpse of the mental and emotional battles of the riders who not only pits against one another but also against extreme terrains.

Hairy Bikers (2011)

An American reality television show of History channel which focused on taking a road trip by motorcycle to take a look at hunting, cooking, and the eating habits of Americans.

The show was based on the British show Hairy Bikers of BBC which was aired last 2004.

The biker duo consisted of Chef Paul Patranella, a classically trained French Chef, and his buddy Bill Allen, a renowned motorcycle mechanic, together they share their passion for food and for bikes.

The two, go on a trip to immerse themselves in local American tradition and history by interacting with the locals they meet along the way. They participate in everything the locals do to get the meal on the table.

While on the road, the two are also seen camping, stopping at local attractions, and attending local biker events they pass along the way.

Long Way Round (2004)

A British book and television series documenting the 19,000-mile journey from London to New York City by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their motorcycles.

From April 14, 2004, to July 29, 2004, the duo together with their cameraman, traveled from London to New York via Western and Central Europe, Ukraine, Western Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Canada, and finally the US, ending in New York City.

Other crew members that consisted of the show’s producer, director, cameraman, security advisor, and a doctor were in two off-road vehicles which usually followed a day late or when needed for more difficult obstacles.

Ewan and Charley enjoyed and experienced different cultures and overcame different challenges along the way. The documentary series showed everything on the trip, from good fun to the bad unfortunate events such as injury and other external factors.


The team considered different bikes for the series. Brands considered were BMW, KTM, and Honda.

McGregor was advocating BMW while Boorman wanted to go with KTM. After testing different bikes, the two later agreed to go with KTM being the more off-road focused bike but failed to secure sponsorship from the brand and instead, got three R1150GS bikes from BMW.

Happy to see that both the team of Long Way Round and BMW did well. Good enough that they decided to do two more, “Long Way Down” and “Long Way Up”.

Buy the DVD

Long Way Down (2007)

The first sequel to the successful television series Long Way Round. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman traveled from the top of Scotland to Cape Town at the bottom of South Africa through eighteen countries in Europe and Africa.

The journey was from May 12 to August 4, 2007. The duo was accompanied by the same key members from the Long Way Round and rode BMW’s R1150GS Adventure successor, the R1200GS Adventure.

As with the first docu-series, the team was very much entertaining to watch. From riding through different terrains, overcoming different challenges, to immersing and getting up-close with the local culture they interact with along the way. Long Way Down truly showcases what it’s like to travel to different countries on a motorcycle, it’s not easy but it sure is fulfilling and fun.

Long Way Up (2020)

The last sequel of the Long Way Round. This time Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman traveled from Ushuaia in Argentina to Los Angeles in the United States. The journey covered 13,000 miles through 13 countries in South and Central America.

The route they took was through Latin America including the countries of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, then Central America through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, before entering the United States of America, finishing in California.

The original key team members are still present and followed Ewan and Charley in a prototype Rivian electric truck that’s built especially for the trip while being supported by backup vehicles, generators, and bikes.

Ewan and Charley also switched to Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycles given that electric motorcycles were slowly making their way into the limelight at the time of their journey. The duo rode prototype LiveWire motorcycles which were modified as adventure bikes.

Aside from showcasing different cultures from different countries, using an electric motorcycle made the series more interesting and unique. Some purists may find it boring but the series has shown viewers how to travel 13,000 miles through different terrains in an electric motorcycle. It is doable but at the same time challenging as charging ports aren’t as available as gas stations.

Still, no word if the team will be doing another sequel but hopefully, they would, who knows? Maybe they decide to travel through Asia this time?

Biker Battleground Phoenix (2014)

A reality television series narrated by Greg Berger which was developed for History Channel.

The series focused on five rival custom bike builders and pitted them against each other to finally put an end to their rivalry which by the way, started after Paul Yaffe of Paul Yaffe Originals found out his competition was stealing his designs and challenged them to a “real build” contest where all five builders will compete to create the best custom bagger motorcycle.

Baggers are cruisers that are fitted with saddlebags on their tails to make the bike more suitable for touring. Rival builders featured were Brian Jenkins of Hatred Customs, Kody McNew of VooDooo Bikeworks, John Shope of Dirty Bird Concepts, and Len Edmondson of Azzkikr Customs which are all based in Arizona, Phoenix.

Biker Build-Off (2002)

A reality television show created and narrated by Thom Beers.

The show pits two reputable custom motorcycle builders head-to-head. The two are usually from different parts of the country with different styles of building.

Each builder has only 10 days to build a working custom motorcycle. After completion of the build, the two builders will meet at an agreed location and will ride their motorcycles to a designated bike show. This ride is to prove and to ensure that the bikes are truly road-worthy if in case a problem emerges, the builder is given a chance to fix it within an hour before being disqualified.

The bikes are then showcased and the winner will be decided by the audience through ballots. The said disqualification may be revoked by the other builder to allow the bikes to still be judged at the bike show.

A unique approach to a build-off reality show because it is easier to build a bike to look good and harder to keep the bike running and roadworthy.

Build or Bust (2005)

A reality television show focusing on custom motorcycles hosted by a custom builder, Russel Mitchell.

Build or Bust takes in a person who believes that building a custom motorcycle is easy. The show provides all the tools and parts necessary to make a custom motorcycle while giving contestants a month to finish their build. Russel then judges the bike and decides if the contestant gets to keep their build or not.

Despite some other docu-series showing how hard it is to customize and build a bike, some of us may still think that it’s a lot easier than it seems. This show showcases how hard it is for a normal guy or girl to complete a build at a certain standard.

Crusty’s Dirt Demons (2004)

This one is for all moto-cross fans out there! An American reality television program focusing on freestyle motocross.

The show follows the Crusty Demons of Dirt, who some may recognize to be the founders of freestyle moto-cross. The team invites a select few to compete in a physical and physiological test to see who is worthy to become part of the Crusty Demons of Dirt.

The participants compete and showcase their skill by doing intense moto-cross action stunts which are really incredible to watch. They are then judged by the team through their mental and physical strength, innovativeness, and raw talent.

At the end of the competition, only one rider will be selected to join and to be part of the very exclusive Crusty Demons of Dirt.

Full Throttle Saloon (2009)

Featuring the world’s largest biker bar named Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, South Dakota, USA.

The bar is owned by Michael Ballard and is located on a 30-acre land with an indoor and outdoor bar, several stages, a tattoo parlor, zip lines, dozens of other establishments, and of course parking for thousands of motorcycles.

The bar gained recognition and used to be the epicenter of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally easily averaging 20,000 guests per night. The show chronicles the bar’s operation throughout the rally as the team is in full throttle to serve all their guests.

Full Throttle Saloon was sadly wrecked by a massive fire last September 8, 2015, which was believed to be caused by a pinched power cord to a keg refrigerator overheated and ignited nearby boxes.

No worries though as you can still feel and see the happenings in the yesteryears of the Full Throttle Saloon thanks to this series.

Gangland Undercover (2015)

A Canadian-American factual-based drama series based on the memoir “Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws: My Infiltration of America’s Deadliest Biker Gangs“.

The show portrays the lives of outlaw bikers in a world where respect is earned by fear. The show goes on a fictionalized story of a meth dealer turned ATF informant, Charles Falco.

Falco spent three years infiltrating and spending time with one of America’s most dangerous motorcycle gangs, Vagos. The story eventually turned and evolved into a quest for Falco’s self-justice.

Harley and the Davidsons (2016)

An American television mini-series that dramatizes the origins of the American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson.

The show focuses on how Arthur Davidson founded the company with his brothers Walter Davidson, Sr., and William A. Davidson, alongside their childhood friend William S. Harley.

Harley and Arthur had their own challenges but are united by their dreams and ambitions to launch their own motorcycle company. The two risked their fortune and worked hard for the now-iconic brand.

The series also focused on the rivalry between Harley-Davidson and Indian, showing races, different marketing tactics, and even struggles between the two brands.

Tho largely based on a true story, most events have been dramatized and some were fictionalized, with most parts siding with Harley-Davidson.

MaveriX (2022)

An Australian drama TV series following a group of young motocross riders.

The group has been selected for the first-ever MaveriX academy in Alice Springs, which is the home of dirt bike racing in Australia. Together, they aim to win national titles, doing whatever it takes while making friends along the way.

Aimed at younger riders or parents wanting to start their juniors early, MaveriX is a motocross series to look out for.

Ride with Norman Reedus (2016)

A brilliant show to watch if you are trying to influence a friend or family member to ride a motorcycle.

The show features Norman Reedus of the super successful and popular television series “The Walking Dead”.

Reedus hops on his motorcycle to travel around the country to explore different bike cultures and celebrate with the best collectors, mechanics, and builders.

Each episode features different bikes as Reedus rides with a friend, an actor, a musician, or even a local motorcycle fan as they go around the city visiting places like custom bike shops, a tattoo parlor, and other establishments having time for some impromptu motorcycle maintenance between one stop to the other.

Street Hawk (1985)

An American superhero television series, starring Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) among others, and focusing on Jess Mach, an ex-motorcycle cop who was injured in the line of duty. He is then recruited for a secret government mission to ride the Street Hawk, an all-terrain motorcycle designed to fight crime, capable of doing speeds up to 300 miles per hour.

Bikes used were mostly from Honda with some being a 1983 XL500, a turbocharged CR250, a CX500, and an XR500. This one is riders who love fiction. Yes, the series might be old and effects might not be at par with today’s standards but hey, a superhero-themed series with a motorcycle as its main tool? Yes, please!

Super Force (1990)

An American action-adventure television series that aired from 1990 to 1992. The series is another superhero fiction but about a former astronaut turned cop who fights crime with an exoskeleton and a motorcycle, which helped make him pretty much unbeatable. The events take place in a fictional city, the metroplex in the year 2020.

Then Came Bronson (1969-1970)

Old but gold, Then Came Bronson is about a journalist named, James “Jim” Bronson who became disillusioned after his best friend Nick committed suicide. Bronson previously sold his 1969 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH 900cc to Nick and decides to buy the bike back from the widow and is seen riding it throughout the series.

The show focuses on Bronson searching for the meaning of life while experiencing what the same has to offer. He shares his values with those he meets along the way and lends a helping hand whenever he can. The series ran for 26 episodes.

Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms (2012)

An Australian drama mini-series that revolves around biker gang violence while dramatizing the story of the Milperra massacre.

The massacre began after a group of Comancheros formed a brake-away group and started the first Bandidos Motorcycle Club chapter in Australia. The two groups immediately became rivals and went to war on Father’s Day, September 2, 1984. Several people were shot dead including innocent bystanders.

Each episode starts with a quote stated by Justice Adrian Roden when the clubs went before the New South Wales Supreme Court, “As patriotism can lead to jingoism and mateship can lead to cronyism, bikie club loyalty can lead to bikie club war.

The series is based on the book Brothers in Arms by Lindsay Simpson and Sandra Harvey.

A rider’s ideal world would be a free happy go lucky one wherein we can just jump on our bikes anytime we want and go wherever we feel like going but the reality is we have the day-to-day activities that we need to attend to. 

This list will help you keep the fire burning till the next ride.  

Don’t forget to stay safe and to just enjoy the ride.

Lester Lin
Lester Lin
Author of Riding Two Up, a car enthusiast turned motorcycle lover who shares his passion through writing.

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