The Batcycle from the original 1960s-era Batman TV series starring Adam West was almost certainly one of the least powerful “Bat” vehicles ever made – it was based on a two-stroke Yamaha Catalina 250 producing just 24 bhp.
In fact the one vehicle that was less powerful was Robin’s Sidecar, a small self-propelled go-kart with a 55cc motor that doubled as the Batcycle’s sidecar.
Fast Facts – The Adam West’s 1966 Batcycle
- Interestingly the first Batcycle was actually a 1965 Harley-Davidson however it was only used for a single episode before it was replaced with the new and updated Batcycle based on a Catalina 250.
- The Catalina-Batcycle was conceptualized by Dan Dempski, designed by Tom Daniel, and built by Dan and Korky Korkes of Kustomotive.
- The structure of the bike includes a new full fairing made from Filon (fiberglass with integrated nylon), it also has a matching rear cowl, seat, and front fender. The sidecar contains Robin’s go-kart which can be driven out of the sidecar onto the road when needed.
- The Batcycle was used in both the 1966 film and all three seasons of the TV series. Four Batcycles were made by Kustomotive and they toured automotive shows around the country after the series ended.
The 1960s-Era Batman TV Series
When the Batman live-action TV series debuted in 1966 it was described by one of the show’s producers as being the only comedy series on American television without a laugh track. The lighthearted, campy style of the show was vastly different from the dark and gritty modern portrayals of Batman.
Batman was played by the inimitable Adam West, who always managed to keep a straight face and deliver lines with a deadly seriousness that amplified the humorous aspect of the show. Robin was played by the young Burt Ward who always had an air of eager seriousness about him, and who launched the wildly popular phrase “Holy ______, Batman!”
Ultimately the series would run for three seasons and 120 episodes, with one feature film released between seasons one and two. It captured the original comic books better than any of the films that followed, with those “BAM!” “POW!” and “ZONK!” fight scenes brought to life perfectly by West and Ward.
The 1966 Batcycle and Robin’s Sidecar
The development of the Batcycle was relatively fast paced, a Yamaha dealer supplied a free Catalina 250 for the project in order to amplify brand awareness for the Japanese company and an assortment of bodywork was developed by Dan and Korky Korkes of Kustomotive.
Above Video: This clip includes both Adam West and Burt Ward discussing their time working on the series, as well as some original Batcycle footage including Robin’s go-kart being launched.
The primary part of the Batcycle’s new body is the Filon (fiberglass with integrated nylon) fairing with its perspex windshield that was custom shaped for the application. The fairing is black with white scalloped edges, and it has a matching front fender and rear cowl.
A custom tubular steel sidecar was created, it’s essentially a flat platform that holds Robin’s go-kart which can be launched at a moment’s notice in pursuit of villains.
In all, four Batcycles would be built by Kustomotive, all of which were based on a free Yamaha Catalina 250.
The Batcycle Evocation Shown Here
The Batcycle you see here is a slightly more recent replica that has been built with remarkably close attention to detail.
The complex series of fairings are all replicated very well and it includes a fully-functional sidecar go-kart just like the original, though this one is electrically-powered rather than gasoline-powered like the original.
This build is based on a period correct 1966 Yamaha Catalina 250. The gas tank “Bat” emblem has been autographed by Adam West with letter of authenticity, and the go-kart “Robin” decal has been autographed by Burt Ward with letter of authenticity.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual bike you can click here to visit the listing on Mecum. It’s due to roll across the auction block with them in early January and it’s being offered with no reserve.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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