Easy Rider was, and remains, the quintessential motorcycle road movie.
The motorcycles for the film, based on hardtail frames and panhead engines, were designed and built by two African-American chopper builders—Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy.
In total, four former police bikes were used in the film. The 1949, 1950 and 1952 Harley Davidson Hydra-Glide bikes were purchased at an auction for $500, equivalent to about $3400 in current money. Each bike had a backup to make sure that shooting could continue in case one of the old machines failed or got wrecked accidentally.
One “Captain America” was demolished in the final scene, while the other three were stolen and probably taken apart before their significance as movie props became known.
The demolished bike was rebuilt by Dan Haggerty and shown in a museum. He sold it at an auction in 2001. It now resides at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.