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Peter Fonda on his "Captain America" chopper

Peter Fonda's ‘Easy Rider’ motorbike is up for sale

The iconic Harley-Davidson is expected to fetch over $1 million at auction

The Harley-Davidson ridden by Peter Fonda in Easy Rider is up for sale and is expected to go for over $1 million when it's auctioned on 18 October. For those of you unfamiliar with the cult film, it's basically an hour and a half of cocaine deals, motorbiking, prostitutes and fighting – all unfolding at a typically stoned, 60s-style pace. 

Easy Rider has become the definitive on-screen portrayal of 1960s American counterculture; as Dazed film editor Carmen Gray writes: "If there's a single film that sums up US counterculture dreams and disillusionment, it has to be 1969 road movie Easy Rider."

In the film, Fonda plays Wyatt (nickname "Captain America"), who embarks on a cross-country journey to New Orleans with drug money stuffed in the fuel tank of his chopper. Dennis Hopper plays fellow biker Billy, while Jack Nicholson rounds off the cast as George, the alcoholic ACLU lawyer who comes along for the ride.

Sadly, the motorbike – which was built specifically for the film – does not come with the contraband cash. The Harley-Davidson is currently in the possession of Michael Eisenberg, a Californian who used to run an LA motorcycle-themed restaurant with Hopper and Fonda. He bought the bike last year from the National Motorcycle Museum, but has had a change of heart about the iconic movie souvenir. 

"I always wanted to own it. But once it sunk in that I actually had it, then I realized how important it was," Eisenberg told CBC News. "The public needs to see it. It's that iconic. It needs to be on a podium."

Hopper wrote and directed the film, which goes a long way to explaining Easy Rider's depiction of free-living and rebellion – if any Hollywood actor of the 20th century embodies excess and non-conformity it's Hopper, who once admitted to consuming half a galloon of rum, a fifth of rum, 28 beers and 3 grams of cocaine every day "just to keep going, man". 

Fonda and Hopper famously held a wrap party for Easy Rider before realising that they'd forgotten to shoot the second campfire scene. By this point the bikes had been destroyed or stolen, which is why they aren't in shot. So if you have $1million lying around come mid-October and fancy owning the world's most famous motorbike, don't say we didn't give you a heads up.

Below is the first campfire scene, during which George offers his memorable perspective on the concept of freedom in 60s America: