Hover Bike

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Bikes are cool, and Power Floats, so logically a motorbike that hovers over the ground must be both powerful and cool!

This is a trope where a personal transportation vehicle that is operated vaguely like a conventional motorcycle is fully locomotive without contact with the actual ground. Regardless of how it is justified in-story, this trope is primarily driven by Rule of Cool: a low-flying vehicle can give a much greater impression of speed than a ground vehicle can, the exposure of the operator gives a greater impression of danger and excitement, and shifting weight and listing during turns can give a very dramatic impression of motion.

This trope applies primarily ground-hugging low-flying vehicles, and is likely to be found in a Science Fiction milieu that would justify the mechanical design required. The trope can marginally apply to similar higher-flying vehicles, but if a vehicle is made to fly higher primarily that is more likely to be a Rocket Ride. It exists in a middle ground between the smaller Hover Board and larger Flying Car. It is a technological-themed Sister Trope to its more fantasy-oriented equivalents, the Magic Carpet and Flying Broomstick.

Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • They appear in the far future sections of Grendel. Grendel Prime in particular likes using them.
  • The title character of Mother Panic rides one of these.
    Films — Animation 
  • Heavy Metal. In the segment "Harry Canyon", the goons Rudnick sends to follow Harry's cab ride on flying devices that fly about 20 yards off the ground and presumably could go higher.
    Films — Live-Action 
  • Return of the Jedi features this prominently in the second act of the film, with Imperial Scout Troopers using speeder bikes to traverse the giant trees and undergrowth on the forest moon of Endor.
  • These can be seen briefly in Back to the Future Part II, when some police cycles appear at the courthouse when Griff and his gang smash through the windows.
  • Judge Dredd. Dredd flies a Mark IV Lawmaster (Improved Model), which is a flight-capable version of the standard Lawmaster motorcycle. The members of the Council's guards fly similar vehicles while pursuing him.
    Live-Action TV 
  • The page image is from Thunderbirds, which made frequent use of these if the main characters had to move around in the danger zone. In reality, this was done to avoid the problem that the puppets couldn't realistically walk on screen.
    Tabletop Games 
  • Several examples in Warhammer 40,000:
    • Eldar in particular make common use of them. Both the Craftworld and Dark Eldar have their own models, with the Craftworld Eldar using back-leaning seats while the Dark Eldar favor forward-leaning pilots. Some also use larger varieties, like the two-seated Vyper jetbikes that mount heavier weaponry or serve as staff vehicles for the Eldar equivalent of officers.
    • Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing, of the Dark Angels Space Marine chapter, rides an Ace Custom Imperial jetbike, one of the very few models the Imperium still has.
  • Champions campaign "The Great Super Villain Contest". The Crimson Claw's servants ride hover scooters that can travel up to 72 m.p.h. while flying a few inches off the ground.
  • Traveller, Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #14 article "Civilian Vehicles for Striker". The Grav Cycle looks like a motorcycle with skids instead of wheels. It's fusion powered and can fly at up to 2,000 kilometers per hour.
    Video Games 
  • During the Dramatic Chase Opening in Delphine Software International's 1992 game Flashback, in which the protagonist tries making a daring escape on a hoverbike only to be shot down over the Hungry Jungle of Titan.
  • Mega Man X: The Ride Chasers are bikes without wheels that just hovers slightly above ground. They also feature an energy cannon at the front, at least in X4-X5 you can do a "wheelie dash attack" that decimates everything in front of it, and as shown in X4 it can double as a jet ski.
  • Downplayed in Full Throttle. Ben does not trust anything that does not run on wheels, but he needs to make a long stunt jump over a large canyon when the bridge is out. He has to nab a hover module from a hover car and attach it to his bike. It still runs on the ground, but the hover module gives him enough airtime to make the leap.
  • In Cave Story, Kazuma and Professor Booster use a hoverbike to travel from one end of Bushlands to the other—and they leave the player character behind, so you have to traverse the level on foot. They crash the bike off-screen, and you find the wreckage at the level's end.
  • Ratchet & Clank
    • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, the hover bikes are used for racing. There are 2 planets that houses these kind of challenges, and Ratchet has to compete against 20 racers at once.
    • Later in Ratchet: Deadlocked, the hover bike is given more mobility and is mounted with a machine gun. It can only be accessed by certain missions that requires it to be used.
    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in The Simpsons season nine episode "The Joy of Sect". Bart and Lisa are Deprogramed by tempting them with literally hovering bicycles. Turns out they were just staged with fishing wire and Flander's blowing through a comb.
  • The first episode of Loonatics Unleashed is "The Ice Vikings", which has the heroic team summon five motorcycles by remote control. While astride these vehicles, they reconfigure into hover-bikes that are able to intercept and attack the villains' flying longboat. This is the sole appearance of these dual-drive vehicles; thereafter, the team relies mainly on jet packs to get around.
  • In Code Lyoko, Ulrich uses a monocycle called the Overbike as his primary method of transportation in Lyoko. It normally travels along the ground, but built-in rocket thrusters enable it to fly.
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