Jax Teller was one of most popular characters on Sons of Anarchy, as the President of SAMCRO. He knew when to be tough, when to be a bit softer, and he was arguably one of the most successful characters FX ever portrayed on TV (just as Sons of Anarchy was their most successful television show). What’s interesting is that in real life, Charlie Hunnam was much the same.
Charlie Hunnam has a love for motorcycles that might even surpass that of the character he played on Sons. The show reignited his interest in riding, and for the entire seven years he took part in the show, he was always seen around Los Angeles riding his bike. It was kind of funny that the bike he rode was the same bike Jax Teller rode, but there was a reason for that, which we’ll discuss below.
Charlie is a down-to-earth, easy guy to get along with, which is clear from the various interviews you can find searching the web. His role as Jax Teller was his favorite role he’s ever played, and he even got to hang out with real bikers and MCs in the Oakland area before filming, where he learned a lot about the culture and the lifestyle. He came to respect the MC culture and even developed his character’s persona after a particular outlaw biker he met before the show started shooting.
These are some things you might not know about Charlie Hunnam’s love for motorcycles—secrets from his time portraying Jax Teller on Sons of Anarchy.
16 He Never Used A Car During The 7 Years Of Filming
Charlie Hunnam was so immersed in his role as Jax, and so into riding motorcycles, that he never even touched his car during the entire seven years of filming. As he told Cinema Blend, “I pretty much wore nothing but plaid shirts for the last seven years, and then as soon as I finished, I just felt compelled [to] have a massive spring cleaning. I just went through and got rid of everything. I put everything I had into that show. I lived it as much as I could. I never got in a car the whole seven years. I was only on my bike and rolling around with a bunch of real bikers and occasionally acting like a maniac.”
15 He Rides The Same Bike In Real Life As He Did On The Show
Another case of extreme method acting is this fact: Charlie Hunnam rides the same bike that his character rode on Sons of Anarchy. He explained to Men’s Journal that, “I ride the same bike that I rode on Sons, a Harley Dyna Super Glide. You know, I wish I wasn’t the guy who rode the same bike he rode on the show, but the problem is there’s no better bike out there.”
He also explained that after Sons of Anarchy wrapped up, he would continue riding forever.
He likes riding alone, because he doesn’t have to worry about anyone else keeping up, and he likes to ride aggressively.
14 He Stole A Bike From The Show
After long stints on certain life-changing television programs, many actors like to leave the studio with a physical piece of memorabilia from the show they were on. Charlie Hunnam is no different. Except he went one step further when he decided to take a piece of sentimentality from the studio.
He actually admitted to stealing the motorcycle from Sons of Anarchy that Jax rode!
You would think that might be the reason why Charlie rides the same bike in real life, but that’s not the case, as mentioned below. He also took some other things, as he told an ET Interviewer: “I stole so f’ing much, let me tell you. I stole my car, my bike; I stole the rings.”
13 Even Though He Stole The Bike, He Never Uses It
As he continued in the interview with ET, when asked about the theft of the bike: “Yes, I stole the bike. Hell yeah! It’s in my garage. It was like one of those weird things that like a kid does. I stole it, but I’ve never used it.” So even though he owns a Harley Dyna Super Glide in real life, just as his character rode on SOA, the one he stole is a permanent fixture in his household—a piece of memorabilia that he never takes out for rides. It’s too special to him to tarnish the reputation and possibly get it wrecked while navigating traffic on the streets of Los Angeles.
12 He’s Frequently Seen Riding Around L.A.
Charlie isn’t one of those actors that keeps a low profile. Well, he does—he keeps to himself—but he’s still frequently seen around the town he lives in, which of course is L.A.
Paparazzi and celebrity media like to make a big deal whenever they see him on the road on his Harley.
Daily Mail said that, “While he left his vest at home, the 34-year-old looked cool as ever as he zipped along wearing a helmet and sunglasses on a day off from filming the show’s final season.” This was in 2014. Charlie made sure to show his pearly whites, smiling for the cameras, as he was spotted riding along. He really does seem like a down-to-earth, humble guy.
11 He’s Been Riding Since He Was A Kid, But Never Owned A Bike
When Hollywood.TV ran into Charlie Hunnam at Vienna Café back in 2010, he had the chance to explain some things that people might not have known before the short 1-minute and 25-second video interview. He revealed that it was a lot of fun portraying an outlaw motorcycle club member in Northern California, and also said that the show, “Rekindled my passion for motorcycles. I rode a little bit when I was a kid…but I haven’t ridden in years, until I got back into it for the show.” He also went on to talk about his brother being the bigger rider, and how he never actually owned his own bike as a kid.
10 His Brother Races Bikes On Track
In the same Hollywood.TV video interview, Charlie talked a little bit about his older brother, which was a bit revealing about his past history with motorcycles. He said, “My brother’s a big speed biker. Like he goes to races and does track days and all that kind of stuff.” He told American Profile that, “He goes to track days and rides around at 200 mph with other guys that aren’t really good enough to be doing that. They invariably hurt each other and create a lot of collateral damage and expense. So I was always a little nervous about him doing that but hadn’t really thought a lot about riding myself.” We’re assuming he’s talking about his older brother, William, though he also has two younger half-brothers named Oliver and Christian.
9 In 2010, He Put 8,500 Miles On His Bike And 350 On His Car
Before wrapping up the video interview with Hollywood.TV to go off and film the final episode of that season, Charlie revealed just how much he loves to ride his bike. He said, “Now, I’m always on my bike. I put eight-and-a-half thousand miles on my bike this year, and I put three-hundred-fifty miles on my car, so I’m riding pretty much exclusively these days.” So, maybe he DID touch his car during the seven years of filming, but 350 miles in one year is very minimal. The interviewer, who sounded like a biker himself, was polite and thanked Charlie for representing “the two wheels,” but made sure to tell him to be careful riding around L.A., because it’s a pretty dangerous place for motorcycles.
8 He Got A Bike For L.A. Partly Because Of The Traffic
Charlie seems like quite the practical man. He’s not showy or flashy—even though he rides a motorcycle in real life, he does it for the love of riding, not because he’s trying to make a statement.
It just so happens that SOA renewed his interest in bikes, which had been lying dormant since he was a kid.
He told American Profile that he didn’t like being stuck in traffic all day, living in Los Angeles. “I had this epiphany the first day on set that riding a bike around is the way I want to get around. I just love it. There’s a sense of freedom and a sense of being a part of the environment around you, and it’s fun. You smell the flowers. You smell the garbage. And, you know, you try not to get killed by a Prius. It’s fun.”
7 He Rode To Work Together With His Co-Stars
The Sons of Anarchy team, including the actors and staff, really are a big family. Not just on the show, but also in real life. When Huffington Post asked if they rode to work together on motorcycles, Hunnam said, “Yeah, I suppose we ride home together more because we have staggered calls coming in. But we all kind of usually hang out and do a little post mortem after work and decompress in one way or another. Then ride home together. We all kind of live around the Los Angeles area . . . so we happen to have a long ride home. So, it’s fun. Like Tommy and Boone are the two guys I’ve become really, really close with, like brothers. And the three of us always ride together.”
6 He Likes Harleys Because He Can Ride Them Aggressively
Charlie told Huffington Post that he rides two bikes, but mainly a Harley Dyna: " [It’s] just the best bike that Harley makes. There’s a reason so many people ride those bikes. Particularly outlaws because they’re just the fastest. A lot of Harleys are not really built for speed. It’s more built for like cruising. But that’s the one bike that they make that you can ride pretty aggressively and have some fun on. And we all used to ride Harleys. But now we’ve kind of diversified a little bit. Tommy’s riding a BMW and Boone rides like kind of an old chopped Harley.” The diversity of bikes on the show has clearly carried over to real life.
5 He Based His Character On A Real-Life Outlaw He Met In Oakland
When asked by Huffington Post about whether he ever hung out with real-life MCs, Charlie told a great story. He said, “Yeah, I got to know some people really well. Probably the most exciting and profitable period of time that I spent was in the initial rehearsal period when I knew nothing about this world. I went up to Oakland and hung out with a very well known club, and I got to hang out with them. This one kid in particular that I met was amazing. He was 22. His dad was in the club and he’d had 22 birthday parties in the Oakland clubhouse. He was the heir apparent. He was an oldschool outlaw, cowboy, gunslinger. A 22-year-old fearless kid. He ended up getting killed the week after I left Oakland, right before we started shooting. I got this necklace to wear as a memorial to him. Also the whole aesthetic of that character—I just based everything on him.”
4 He Considers Riding Romantic In A Way
It should be clear by now that Charlie Hunnam is just as big a motorcycle fan as Jax Teller, but in case it isn’t clear, he told Pop Sugar an interesting tidbit that makes his love for motorcycles one step further than even his in-character persona. When talking about riding, he said, “You smell the scents of the city, the garbage, the flowers, and bread baking. I feel more engaged in the world on a bike. That’s the romantic side of it.” We’re not sure if everyone who rides a bike feels the same way, but there does seem to be a sense of camaraderie that’s hard to ignore in the world of motorcycle riding, so Charlie is probably spot on in his observation.
3 Stats: Jax Teller’s 2003 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Sport
The bike Jax rode for the majority of the show was a 2003 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Sport. The fairing on the front was custom, as are the ape hangers, which were both aftermarket, along with the two-up seat.
The bike has a V-twin, four-stroke engine with 1449 cc of displacement and is powder-coated in black.
The bike’s torque is 78.2 ft-lbs, it has a 4.9-gallon fuel capacity, and 95.3x101.6mm bore/stroke ratio. The bike also had a detailed graphic of the SAMCRO Reaper on his fuel tank, which is a touch that every member of SAMCRO had embedded somewhere on their bikes.
2 Stats: Jax’s 1946 Harley-Davidson Customized EL Knucklehead
The last bike Jax rode in the final season of SOA was a rebuilt 1946 Harley-Davidson Customized EL Knucklehead. The Knucklehead had a V-twin, four-stroke, 1208cc engine, with a top speed of 110 mph. The ’46 Knucklehead, specifically, is a four-speed, chain-driven bike weighing 560 lbs, versus the 660 lbs of the Dyna. The bike is kickstarted, versus the electric start of the Harley Dyna and all bikes Harley has made after 1985. The Knucklehead is painted a deep sky blue and lacks any SAMCRO markings, most notably the Reaper that so many other SAMCRO bikes have on them.
1 Jax Also Used A Harley-Davidson Street Bob In The Show
One observant Reddit viewer who was paying particularly good attention to the show noted that Jax rode a different bike than usual in Season 5 Episode 8, after his Dyna was blown up. The viewer wasn’t sure if it was a 2013 Dyna Switchback or a Wide Glide, but other viewers quickly chimed in.
It was actually his third bike on the show, after one of his other bikes was run off a cliff.
One of the viewers who took a look at the screenshot of the bike in the episode said that he was pretty sure it was a Harley Street Bob, and another viewer confirmed his belief. Some people blamed SOA for product placement with the bike and the new front blinkers/mirrors that were released around that time.