Finding something interesting to watch on the TV or Netflix is always a struggle, especially when there’s no racing on! It is for this reason we’ve put together our Top 10 motorcycle TV shows and documentaries. From the Dakar Rally and round the world trips, to visiting abandoned sheds in Britain, this guide has it all. We’ve tried to cover all bases, so there should be something that interests you. Enjoy!
TT: Closer to the Edge
Starring: Guy Martin, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness & Conor Cummins
This movie documentary is a great watch for everyone, from those that already love to Isle of Man TT; to those that have never heard of it before. The movie documentary starts off with big name road racers such as John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson being interviewed at their homes and workplaces prior to the 2010 Isle of Man TT. You really get a taste for just how normal and down-to-earth these people are, yet, once a year you’ll find them going at ridiculous speeds around the Isle of Man.
You are then taken through the build-up to the TT, with Guy Martin explaining his regime and how he lives during the TT. The movie documentary then throws you into the thick of the action, following the highs and lows of practice, qualification, and the races themselves.
TT: Closer to the Edge is available to purchase on Amazon or view for free on YouTube.
Oil in the Blood
Released: October 14, 2019
This documentary movie is directed by avid biker Gareth Maxwell Roberts and takes you through the years of the introduction of motorcycling, the growth and development of the custom scene, as well as the electric future of biking.
Oil in the Blood claims, ‘This isn’t a film about motorcycles. It’s about motorcycle people,’ and we think that is absolutely spot on. The documentary movie features hundreds of interviews with bike builders, riders, journalists, artists and racers from all around the world, exploring why they love what they do, how they got into the motorbike scene, and much more.
The film is available to download on iTunes or you can order a DVD or BluRay copy at Amazon.
The Motorbike Show
Released: 2011 – present
Channel: ITV 4
Presenter: Henry Cole
With 8 series so far, The Motorbike Show is a popular ITV documentary hosted by motorcycle fanatic Henry Cole. A show that explores all things motorcycling, you will see classic bike restorations, rides around the UK and other countries, specialist workshops, land speed record attempts, track and road racing, and anything else you can think of to do with motorbikes!
Interviews and discussions with some of the biggest names in motorcycling feature, as does a look back at some of the best motorcycles ever made.
Having been presenting TV shows for over 20 years, his great motorcycle knowledge and relaxed, relatable presenting style keeps viewers engaged and watching The Motorbike Show series after series.
The Motorbike show is aired on ITV 4 at 10.55am every Saturday, with repeats shown throughout the week.
Long Way Round
Released: 2004 – 2005
Channel: Sky 1 (repeated on BBC Two in 2008)
Starring: Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
This television series follows motorcycle mad Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their 19,000-mile journey from London all the way to New York on two wheels. The trip saw them ride through UK, then through France, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Canada, and the US, where they eventually arrive in New York.
Episode 1 shows the preparation for the trip and from Episode 2 onwards the pair begin to pass through the countries. This adventure documentary features all the ups, downs, accidents, laughs, motorcycle breakdowns and unbelievable scenery that McGregor and Boorman faced on their epic adventure.
This series is 7 episodes long, although a 10 episode special edition is available. Each episode lasts roughly 40 minutes, and are available to view on YouTube.
A follow up documentary was released featuring the duo named Long Way Down, this time traveling from Scotland to South Africa. This follow up series was released in 2007.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Joey Dunlop, Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, William Dunlop & John McGuinness
A documentary movie about a legendary road racing family, narrated by a legendary actor, what’s not to love? The Dunlop family are road racing’s most successful family ever, with Joey Dunlop often regarded as the best racer to ride the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course.
This film takes you through the story of brothers Joey and Robert Dunlop’s unbelievable success in road racing, celebrating the highs of race wins at the Isle of Man and in Ireland. The Dunlop families road racing dominance does not stop there, with Michael and William Dunlop going on to make names for themselves on the road.
In this film you will see how the Dunlop family have been united by success, as well as united by tragedy. Empire Magazine described this documentary as adrenaline fuelled and emotionally draining, we think they’ve got their summary spot on!
You can download and buy Road on Amazon.
World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides
Released: 2008 – present
Channel: Travel Channel
Starring: Henry Cole
This documentary series is what is says on the tin, presenter and motorcycle adventure lover Henry Cole taking you around the globe, showing you the World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides. From Series 1, Episode 1, riding the US highway, Cole has visited countless countries since, including Australia in Series 8 and 14, Norway, Sweden and Finland in Series 10 and South Africa in Series 17. Yes, you read that right, there’s 17 series so far… though it has to be said, each series usually contains two or three episodes, with some exceptions.
As well as adding some of the world’s best and most scenic riding routes to your bucket list, this documentary will also help you understand the biking culture around the world. On his adventures Cole talks to riders, indulges in local culture, and battles the varied conditions riders from around the world face.
The World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides airs on the Travel Channel, with some episodes available to view on Youtube.
On Any Sunday
Starring: Bruce Brown, Steve McQueen, Mert Lawwill, Malcolm Smith & Paul Carruthers
The oldest of the documentaries in this Top 10, On Any Sunday is an American motorcycle sport documentary film. The director, Bruce Brown, looked to display the different personality traits and talents required to race in each category, covering everything from motocross to desert racing.
On Any Sunday takes you to motocross dirt tracks, ice races, drag races, the sunny Daytona Beach and everywhere in between. If you’re looking to better understand motorcycle racing culture from this time, this is without doubt the motorcycle documentary film for you.
The film features racing and film legends from the 60’s and 70’s, including Steve McQueen and Mert Lawwill. McQueen even helped finance the creation of the film through his “Solar Productions Company.”
Regarded by many as the greatest motorcycle movie ever made, the On Any Sunday DVD is available to purchase on Amazon.
Channel: Discovery Travel / Adventure Channel
Mondo Enduro follows seven team bikers as they ride the longest route around the world, in the shortest time. The team consists of Austin Vince, Gerald Vince, Chas Penty, Bill Penty, Clive Greenhough, Nick Stubley and Mark Friend; none of which had any real filming experience, or had experience in front of the camera.
Starting and ending their trip in London, the quest sees them travel through different climates, cultures and conditions on their Suzuki DR350 Dual Sport bikes. As expected on a round the world trip lasting over 400 days, there was thrills and spills, which all feature on the documentary.
As Mondo Enduro was filmed by amateurs on a Sony VX-1 camera in 1995, don’t expect the picture or sound quality to be anywhere near most of the other documentaries in this Top 10, though we think this adds to the viewing experience!
Mondo Enduro has been shown on Discovery Travel and Adventure Channel over 40 times and is available to purchase on Amazon.
A follow up expedition was made in 2000 named Terra Circa, in which a different team successfully cross the Zilov Gap.
Race to Dakar
Channel: Sky Two
Starring: Charley Boorman, Simon Pavey & Matt Hall
Charley Boorman dreamt of entering the Dakar Rally and in 2006, that dream became a reality when he got Simon Pavey to train him and Matt Hall to film. All three entered the mammoth challenge which sees competitors race from Lisbon to Dakar, through the desert.
The extreme race does not quite go to plan for two of the team, which turns this action packed documentary from a battle with the sand dunes and desert, to overcoming a battle of emotions and mental strength.
The documentary features a brief appearance from Ewan McGregor at the finish line, McGregor of course Boorman’s travel partner in the Long Way Round documentary, in which gave Charley the inspiration to enter the Dakar Rally.
This documentary was aired on Sky Two and is available to purchase on Amazon or view for free on YouTube. Boorman has also released a book about the great adventure with the same name.
Shed and Buried
Starring: Henry Cole & Sam Lovegrove
That man Henry Cole again, this time his with his mechanic friend Sam Lovegrove travelling around the UK in search for automotive bargains. On their travels, the duo visit some of the most amazing and intriguing sheds and garages, finding all things from vintage motorcycles, to tractors, to cars.
Once they’ve found unwanted machinery in some of the UK’s abandoned sheds, they do all they can to bring it back to life, make it look the part, and sell it on for profit! This is a great way to learn how you can do up your old vehicles and get them back on the road.
So far there has been 2 series of the show, with the first made up of 20 episodes and the second season 30 episodes. Shed and Buried is aired on Quest, with some episodes available on YouTube.