1966 Batman Pages

A tribute to the classic 66-68 Batman TV series & movie

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Batgirl Cycle

Batgirl’s mode of travel around Gotham City. She accesses the bike from an old unused elevator, hidden behind a revolving wall in her apartment. The elevator lowers the cycle down to an alleyway where she zooms out of the wall and into the street.

Yvonne Craig

“One of the reasons I think they hired me because I had been a dancer. Howie Horwitz, who was the owner, and producer Bill Dozier both knew that. When I went into the office to talk to them, they also asked me if I had ever ridden a motorcycle, which indeed I had and owned one at the time. I did all of my stunts, and I also did all of the motorcycle riding. However, we never did any film mixing with rear screen projections. You never really saw me going fast down the street on that thing, as I recall, from a head-on point of view. I always was going somewhere, and they just filmed where ever I was going.”

“The motorcycle ride out of the secret exit was an interessting episode. It was the first day of shooting, and I knew the special effects man from somewhere else in Warner Brothers. I had been praticing riding out because I was supposed to ride through a brick wall. It was set up like a long tunnel, and he said, ‘Look, if you hit this mark and you at that point absolutely stand on it and give it all you got, it will look like you are riding the wall down. It will be real exciting.’ I said ‘Terrific!’ So, I did exactly as he said, but a little voice in my head said, hand close to the brakes because, it something goes wrong, you would like to be able to hit the brakes.”

“Sure enough, the first shot of the day, I went tearing out, and the wall did’nt come down. I was made of plywood and I would’nt have liked to have gone through it. I hit the brakes, and I went skidding sideways, missing the wall by about an inch. Nobody on the other side knew what was going on. They figured somewhere along the line I had chickened out and decided not to do it at all. Anyway, it worked the second time around.”

I have tried my best to find as much information as I can about Batgirl’s bike however, it has been a struggle! The bike was first featured in the unaired ABC 1967 presentation or sometimes referred to as the unofficial ‘pilot’ for season three – you can watch the pilot through a link on my video webpage.┬áThe bike featured in this is different from the bike which was eventually used throughout season three, that is 100% fact. The story behind that bike is not however clear. A company called “Kustomotive” had a contract worth $500 to produce a Batgirl Cycle to be used for “A Batgirl Promotional Film” but the make of that bike is unknown, and the reason why they did not continue using that bike for the series is also unknown. Logic suggests that Fox and Greenway Productions did not like the design, and to be honest it did not look anything special – I mean to be fair, they was only given $500! The original/pilot bike is show below.

Now here is another gap in the puzzle… For yet another unknown reason Yamaha sent a YDS-5E motorcycle into Greenway Productions at Fox. The prop department at Fox Studios in California customised the bike to how you see it during season three. Unlike say the Batmobile where five were produced, only one Batgirl Cycle was made.

Subsequently when the Batman series was cancelled the Batgirl Cycle was sent back to Yamaha, still in its modified state. What happened to the bike when it got sent back to Yamaha or where it is now is anyones guess? I can only assume the bike from all this is that the bike was leased by Fox/Greenway Productions and was sent back to the owners after the season was film – or maybe it was sold back for a profit and used for staging in various car or comic book conventions? I’m none the wiser.

Picture below is of a typical Yamaha YDS-5E. Hard picturing this as a Batgirl Cycle eh!

Yamaha YDS-5E

4 Comments

Kim Armand Nielsen

Offcourse it’s possible to upgrade the front brakes to the highest state of the art in racing of the era (four leading edge shoes), however I wonder if there was put so much effort in the tech side for a TV appearence and the base bike in fact is a more sophisticated model than the YDS5E, or Yamaha at all :-/
This suspicion is backed up by the fact that the kick-starter on the Batbike is situated on the right side, where it’s on the left on the YDS5!

Kim Armand Nielsen

Reconsidering the TV clips on Youtube, the front brake is very much like the one on YDS5, following there must be a second (later) Batbike with the differences as noted!

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