Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

Chopper City's street-legal BatPod replica - only a superhero could ride it


July 29, 2010

Built by Dave Welch at Chopper City USA, owned by Pankaj Shah, it's a street-legal BatPod....

Built by Dave Welch at Chopper City USA, owned by Pankaj Shah, it's a street-legal BatPod. Don't go trying that wall-flip u-turn at home, folks.

Image Gallery (24 images)

The average custom chopper is something most motorcyclists find puzzling – they're heavy and cumbersome, with terrible handling and mediocre performance, they're hard to ride and they cost unbelievable amounts of money. This fully custom 850cc Batpod replica takes all those traits to the max – it looks downright scary to ride, there's almost no way to turn a corner with any sort of dignity, and may God help you if you want to pull a U-Turn. But for owner Pankaj Shah it's a tribute to his love of the Dark Knight movie where the BatPod first appeared – and beyond the neck-snapping appearance of the thing, it's also quite an amazing bit of rolling metalwork. Click through for several videos and photos of the PS-Pod under construction.

With a pair of 360-section tires – yes, front and rear – a hub-center steered front wheel, a levered handlebar system, a shaft drive and a wheelbase more appropriate for a pickup truck, the PS-Pod ain't a handler. In fact, watching the test ride video below, it looks little short of treacherous in the corners and virtually unmanageable at low speeds:

So you can't imagine new owner Pankaj Shah being able to get it around like ol' Bruce Wayne did in this scene from the Dark Knight when the BatPod made its memorable first appearance.

But it certainly looks remarkable, and no time or expense has been spared on its construction. Simply getting a machine like this up to spec for road registration is impressive.

Chopper City started with the 850cc V-Twin engine, fly-by-wire throttle system and sports-auto transmission from Aprilia's Mana commuter – and built a low-slung, boxy frame for it.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

Final drive appears to be by shaft, although the Mana engine has a chain drive, so perhaps there's some intermediate system in there.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

The front end is hub-steered, a practical solution for a 'fork' that had to extend straight out horizontally from the body of the bike. You ain't never seen a rake like this. The front end monoshock itself is almost horizontal.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

Handlebars are swept upward to an elbow-rest position, then curled back down for what looks like a fairly comfortable control position, even if it looks short on leverage for pushing that big front tire around. The upright riding position is a fairly large discrepancy from the movie BatPod, on which the rider is virtually lying on his stomach.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

The bat-tacular rims (complete with cute bat-logos cut into them) are a colossal 18-inches wide, necessitating a 360-section custom tire at each end.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

Yes, that's a front tire. Note the chunky mock weapons units, complete with headlights, machine-guns and grappling hook launchers.

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

And the exhaust… well, it had to be one of those gatling gun units!

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

For such a crazy looking machine, it sure rocks some dorky-looking mirrors:

Chopper City's road-legal BatPod replica

And here, you'd have to suspect, is what it's all about – the Chopper City guys took their remarkable creation down to a biker meet to see if it attracted eyeballs the way it was meant to:

Unfortunately, as you watch the PS-Pod make a Road King look like it handles like a trial bike at the end there, you'd have to say the owners of most of those eyeballs would have been thinking… "why?"

Plenty more photos in the gallery.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain

the Batpod must have taken more hours to create than we can guess, I ask the same question as the article writer,,, WHY ?

29th July, 2010 @ 07:25 am PDT


I kinda like the form of it before all the tacky guns and stuff were put on it (in some of the build pictures).

kyle becker
29th July, 2010 @ 01:16 pm PDT

Why'd they make it?

Same reasons they made the movie.


artistic expression and,

of course...

for the money(at least,Chopper City's side of things).

The challenge in making something real that started as just a fantasy

far pre-dates movies or current machinery.

Why'd they(whoever "they" were)build Stonehenge or the Pyramids?

Does every question have or need an answer?

Some things have more meaning as a mystery.

IMHO,of course.

30th July, 2010 @ 04:06 pm PDT

Hey guys thanks for the article on our PS-Pod here's some input from the builder Dave Welch of Chopper City USA see more pictures & video at www.choppercityusa.com

Welch states: "Amazingly the PS-Pod is more ride able than you think. My riding stance is different; sitting up more than most would ride it, as my neck is fused by arthritis. The Pod is well balanced and with practice it is completely maneuverable and corners well. The most fun I've had on two wheels, ever."

Facebook User
2nd August, 2010 @ 12:48 pm PDT


Ghoshan Jaganathamani
5th August, 2010 @ 04:53 am PDT

It is impressive but I think of better places to spend the boatload of cash this cost to make.

16th August, 2010 @ 11:45 am PDT

CAN I BUY ONE? If so how much is it?

Nolan Helmly
18th December, 2012 @ 01:20 pm PST

1. will the put this on the market?

2.if so when and how much will its cost.

3.will it be better built so it could go faster?

4. will the next verision have the wheel rotate when making a shar turn or a U-turn?

Matthew King
31st July, 2013 @ 10:49 am PDT

Rideable????????? Hmm. took three lanes to pull out of a driveway.

16th November, 2013 @ 12:59 am PST
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 31,700 articles