Sami Niemimuukko built a perfect copy of Tom Cruise's motorcycle - this is what it looks like

At the age of 12, Sami Niemimuukko fell in love with the movie Top Gun. Just over 30 years later, a copy of the film’s motorcycle he built stands in the cinema lobby.

Sami Niemimuukko built a perfect copy of Tom Cruise's motorcycle - this is what it looks like
Due to the popularity and old age of the motorcycle model seen in the movie Top Gun, buying one can prove challenging. Photo: Mikko Mykkänen / Yle

The Kawasaki purchased by Sami Niemimuukko is a different model year than the motorcycle seen in the film. So he had to buy a copy for the old rims and bow.

The red Kawasaki motorcycle is parked in the lobby of the Finnkino cinema in Lappeenranta. The vehicle is a complete replica or a copy of the motorcycle from the 1986 Top Gun movie.

The replica, covered in stickers and illuminated by colorful light cannons, celebrates the sequel to the Top Gun movie, Maverick. The present Kawasaki was built by Sami Niemimuukko from Lappeenranta.

Sami Niemimuukko tells how the trailer for the sequel to Top Gun inspired him to build a perfect replica of the film's motorcycle. Niemimuukko also tells you how it feels to see your own motorcycle in the cinema lobby.

Not the first of its kind

This red Kawasaki is not Sami Niemimuukko’s first Top Gun-inspired vehicle.

Niemimuukko had previously acquired a similar motorcycle for use in the first Top Gun. However, he went to sell it off. Niemimuukko regretted this decision when he saw the trailer for the sequel to the film.

- In the trailer, Maverick pulls the tarpaulin off the wheel, and what's down there? There’s exactly the 900R I’ve gone to give up. There was a bit of that whistling in it.

Red motorcycle with stickers.  In the background are pictures from the movie Top Gun.

After watching the trailer, Niemimuukko got to work.

- I didn't miss it for five minutes when I started looking at online columns where you could get one, Niemimuukko says.

The motorcyclist found a suitable vehicle online and set out to build one of perhaps the most accurate replicas of what has been done about the motorcycle in the Top Gun movie.

Accuracy required background work. He didn’t have to watch the movie again, as he’s seen it many times already. Instead, he found the original motorcycle backstage at the movie Top Gun.

A man standing in front of a stable.

Kawasaki for the movie Top Gun was built on the premises of Bunkers Bikers. Photo: Mikko Mykkanen / Yle
However, difficulties arose when the pictures showed two motorcycles with different stickers and look.

- It was a bit of a challenge to get an intact whole. This bike is a pretty exact copy of one scene.

The sequel was awful

A smile shines on the man's face as he recalls the original 1986 film Top Gun. It was a big deal for a 12-year-old then. Of course, when listing the impressive aspects of the film, he first mentions motorcycles.

- Yes, it had all the elements that made an impression.

Niemimuukko says that he watched the film at a young age at least fifteen times. However, the sequel released more than 30 years later sparked excitement among fans of the original film.

Top Gun from a rear-facing motorcycle.  The vehicle is located in the cinema lobby.

Implementing a replica required a lot of effort and precision. However, Sami Niemimuukko only describes the project as semi-challenging. 

- It was terribly awful to go see it. There was a bit of a feeling that this could go into the tube, Niemimuukko says.

What scared Niemimuukko the most was whether Tom Cruise would still find Maverick in the film’s lead role after three decades. However, the fears proved futile.

The sequel met expectations.

- It feels like a big deal again.

The attention surprised

There are plenty of positive surprises for Niemimuuko both inside and outside the cinema hall. The attention he received from the motorcycle he built completely surprised him.

A man standing next to an old motorcycle in the garage of a motorcycle club.

Contrary to what Niemimuukko had predicted, many were enthusiastic about the copy he was building. On his motorcycle, he accessed several provincial newspapers, among other things.

Niemimuukko is grateful that the copy he built has been shown in the cinema.

- It was great to be able to take friends to the premiere, and that bike is there.