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Triumph Steve McQueen T100 Bonneville released

Only 1100 of the McQueen tribute Triumphs are being made in an agreement with the late actor's estate.

Just why the Germans were riding British bikes in The Great Escape has never been explained. But the movie -- and Steve McQueen's performance -- is firmly voted a classic.

And now British motorcycle company Triumph has paid tribute to the 1963 movie with a limited-edition Steve McQueen T100 Bonneville available in Australia next year.

The late actor played an escaped American prisoner of war riding a post-war Triumph TR6 bike in the movie while being chased by German soldiers on similar-era British bikes, rather than wartime BMWs.

The reason for the later-model British bikes has never been fully explained, although it is believed McQueen demanded Truimphs be used because he owned and competed on them.

At the end of the scene, McQueen's character, Captain Virgil Hilts, jumps a barbed wire fence trying to get to freedom in neutral Switzerland.

While McQueen was a competent motorcycle rider and represented the US in the World Six Day Enduro titles in 1964, the jump was actually performed by stunt rider and good friend Bud Ekins.

McQueen did the most of the riding in the scene, but the jump was considered too dangerous for the star of the silver screen.

Only 1100 of the McQueen tribute Triumphs are being made in an agreement with the late actor's estate.

The Bonnevilles have military-style matt khaki green paintwork, a period-style stencilled Triumph decal on the tank and the actor's signature on the side covers.

It will be available in Australia in July 2012 but price has not yet been announced, although it is expected they will cost more than the standard T100 at $13,990.

Each bike is individually numbered with a plaque on the handlebar clamp and owners will receive a certificate of authenticity.

They look similar to the bikes used in the movie with a solo seat, skid plate, and a host of blacked-out components, including wheel rims and hubs, headlamp, handlebars, rear springs, luggage rack, mirrors and front mudguard supports.