You may not have recognized the Ducati motorcyle when you saw it in the 2009 movie Terminator: Salvation, but Ducati did indeed make a guest appearance in the movie. All the “makeup” changed the bike’s appearance, nonetheless, it was there on screen with Christian Bale.
The bike was a 2009 Ducati Monster 1100 S that had been drastically transformed to become a two-wheeled, death-dealing “moto-terminator.” The Monster was loaded up with a long list of weapons and other parts, so much so that only the original tires, frame, suspension, and Ducati’s insanely powerful 1078cc 67kW L-twin engine remained. Even the handlebars were sawn off—after all, what would an autonomous hunter/killer robot need with handlebars? The absence of handlebars made it difficult for the stunt man to drive and no doubt, with all the horsepower and torque sitting between his legs.
In the movie, the moto-terminator was prominently featured in the three-minute highway pursuit as the death dealers chased John Connor, played by Christian Bale, and his future (or past) father, played by Anton Yelchin. The heroes are eventually able to shake the moto-terminators. Later, as Connor looks to infiltrate Skynet, he lays a trap for one of the moto-terminators and then hacks into its mainframe to wrest control of the bike.
The Ducati-based moto-terminator was designed by Martin Laing and Victor Martinez, who felt it was important to have a real world feel to the bike rather than just create it using CGI. You can check out the bike yourself as part of the “Hollywood Dream Machines” exhibition at the Petersen Museum in Museum Row in the Miracle Mile neighbourhood of Los Angeles, California. The bike will be on display through March 2020, alongside other famous vehicles like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider and the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies.