RIP Evel Knievel

Today, we’re saddened by the news that Evel Knievel, the first Daredevil that anyone over 30 knew when we were kids, died today at 69 years old. Knievel had cheated death many times throughout his motorcycle-jumping career, with stunts that went awry, but amazingly he always pulled through. He often joked that he had broken every bone in his body, except his neck. Knievel was most recently in the news for an amicable settlement with Kanye West following a lawsuit against West for using the likeness of Knievel in a music video for West’s song “Touch the Sky“.

He was the reason many of us built our first ramps, launching our bikes over our own version of Knievel’s “Snake River Canyon Jump”. I even had the stunt cycle toy that you would wind up and launch a plastic Knievel over anything in its path. I have a feeling my boys might end up with their own this Christmas.

Mat Hoffman was one also one of the kids under the Knievel influence, and once he finally met Knievel, they struck up a friendship and Hoffman Bikes built a limited run of 500 Evel Knievel signature bikes in 1998 and then followed with a Wembley Stadium edition in 1999. There was also a few Harley-Davidsons built to celebrate the launch of this collaboration.

Hoffman Bikes Evel Knievel Bike

Close-up shot of a 1998 Hoffman Bikes Evel Knievel bike, 1 of only 500 made. From BMXmuseum.com

From EXPN. com: “If you asked Mat to make a list of who the most influential people in his life have been, one name that stands at the top, in regards to his influence on Mat’s riding and determination, is nothing short of pure Evel. Evel Knievel that is, the greatest stuntman to ever dawn a two-wheeled vehicle. Now, in honor of Evel’s lifetime of achievements, Hoffman Bikes has been granted the privilege to manufacture a signature series bicycle worthy of flying the Evel Knievel banner.”

The decals on the bike featured a quote from Knievel, “You’re never a failure in life when you fall, as long as you try & get up.” Truer words have not been spoken. I mean, c’mon, he did these jumps on a freaking 300-pound Harley-Davidson, after all.

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