Homemade Star Wars speeder bikes turn heads on streets of NYC

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Mar 26, 2021, 12:00 PM EDT (Updated)

Even on a day when you might see some eye-catching stuff just walking down the street, we're betting this is the coolest thing you’re gonna see. Some folks who’ve obviously watched Return of the Jedi more than a few times just released their real-world take on the film’s iconic speeder bikes — and now that we’ve seen it, we’re wondering why it’s taken the world 34 years to make it happen.

YouTube prankster Jesse and a team of collaborators working with electric bike maker Lithium Cycles have posted a YouTube clip that has a team of riders — kitted out in full Endor Rebel gear — zipping through the streets of New York City on a pair of homemade imperial speeder bikes.

Yes, those speeder bikes — the same ones Luke and Leia co-opted from a party of unlucky Stormtroopers before getting cozy with the Ewok natives on the forest moon.

Jesse on YouTube

Powered by a modified Lithium Cycles’ Super 73 electric street motorcycle, the bikes borrow a visual trick first introduced to help Luke’s landspeeder from Episode IV achieve the “hover” effect: mirrors that shroud the wheels and make the vehicle appear to float above the pavement.

What’s cool about the mirrors is how effective they are at completing the look, not just on the big screen, but in a real-world setting.

What’s even cooler is watching the reaction of people on the street as the bikes zip past. Kids stop what they’re doing and give chase, people on their cell phones do triple-takes, and this one guy…well, just check him out in the clip. It’s clear he approves.

This isn’t the first, or even the second time someone has referenced the speeder bikes in a real-world build. Last year, a fan vid nicely recreated the look of the speeders for use in a water scene, and engineers and basement inventors periodically take their own crack at prototyping some type of one-person hovercraft.

But this has to be the most complete fusion to date between the aesthetic of the original bikes and, you know, a usable vehicle that will actually take you places. Sign us up!

For more on the behind-the-scenes, check out this clip on how they did it:

Super73 YouTube channel