GeekOut

Next best thing to the grid: Real, working 'Tron' lightcycle

It's not every day that a lightcycle from the "Tron" movies shows up at your local mall.

But that's exactly what happened when the folks at Parker Brothers Choppers showed up at a mall in Melbourne, Florida, to show off their latest creation.

The fact that a real, working lightcycle exists in the real world is mind-blowing to fans of the cult classic 1982 film and the recent sequel, "Tron: Legacy." The various videos they have posted about it on YouTube have garnered millions of views.

CNN Geek Out spoke to some of the Parker Brothers guys (whose first big project was a Batpod, inspired by "The Dark Knight") about the most cyberpunk vehicle on the road today.

CNN Geek Out: What went into creating the lightcycle? Where did the idea come from?

Jeff Halverson (marketing, Parker Brothers Choppers): The design was actually done by Daniel Simon who was contracted to do it for us from Spin Master Toys. We knew the movie was coming out and wanted to do the bike and push the envelope. Shanon [Parker] said, "Hey, what can we do to make a statement?"

Shanon Parker (chief designer, Parker Brothers Choppers): I had seen the lightcycle at Comic-Con and realized it wasn't a real bike. We decided discussing whether or not it was possible to make it a reality. We decided it could be done and got to work on it. The first one took us four months to complete, then a lot of research and development after that.

All we could do was study still shots from Comic-Con and posters, that's basically where we got it all. I would say we're still learning a lot about how to make it better. The first one was released in December of last year. A lot of testing went into it, but it's funny to me to listen to blogs and people saying "I can probably do that myself," I have to say, "Please go for it, see what you can do!" It's not nearly as easy as people think. There was a lot more to it than what we actually show.

Halverson: We put it out on eBay, and we got four of them sold that way [and there is currently a contest to win one].

CNN Geek Out: What does your company do?

Halverson: The majority of our business is concept bikes and one-offs, like the Tron bike and the Batpod. We've really only been in business for 14 months now. We've branched out into concept cars and alternative energy. We've got some plans with a new reality show that will make the "Tron" bike a drop in the bucket.

CNN Geek Out: Who usually comes up with these geeky ideas?

Halverson: Shanon. In Shanon's office, there's probably 600 comic books lining the wall, a full costume from "The Dark Knight," all kinds of figurines and toys. You walk into his office and it's like walking into Toys 'R' Us.

CNN Geek Out: Were you a fan of the original film?

Parker: I love the original, I don't know that it was a box office smash but it had a cult following, definitely. I've always been interested in it.

CNN Geek Out: What kind of reaction do you usually get to it when it's out in public?

Parker: It's hard to say what you're gonna get but for sure you get the "oohs and ahhs."

At first they don't realize it's a functioning bike, and then they want to know answers to the technical questions, and I usually hand it over to my brother for that. I think everybody dreams of having the cool bike or car in the movie, that no one else has.

It seems so far in the future that it seems impossible, and to see it out on the street is insane, so people are drawn to that.