The 1960s and 70s was a special time for British motorcycling. With the likes of BSA, Royal Enfield and Triumph perceived as market leaders on a global scale, machines such as the Norton Commando instilled the image that British manufacturer could do no wrong.
However, as time passed by, more and more companies fell by the wayside. Partly due to the rise in cheaper, more reliable models from overseas, , the once unbeatable Brits soon found that their adoring fans would rather follow in the footsteps of the iconic Barry Sheene and hop aboard a Suzuki or a Yamaha rather than a BSA Bantam or Triumph Trident.
Soon enough, as the years passed by, the likes of Norton, Royal Enfield and Triumph shut their gates and ceased trading for good. It was a sad period in Britain’s motorcycling past – but once which would not last forever.
Today more and more companies are reigniting their furnaces and paving a new and improved future for the once defunct British motorcycle industry. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the machines which have raced out of retirement and back into production, over the past few years…
Despite being an Indian-based company since 1955, Royal Enfield’s history of building motorbikes in Worcestershire entitles them to a certain level of prestige here in the UK. With a strong link to weapons production in the past, Royal Enfield’s legacy was built on the slogan, ‘made like a gun’ – and given the awesome reliability of the new 500cc Royal Enfield ‘Bullet’, it’s easy to see why!
By combining the classic styling of yesteryear’s Bullets with a host of modern essentials, such as electric start and telescopic suspension, this particular throwback is hard to resist!
As Triumph Engineering went bust in 1984, it didn’t take long for John Bloor to re-establish one of Britain’s biggest manufacturers under the name of Triumph Motorcycles that very same year. To this day, Triumph has produced over 50,000 motorbikes, although it wasn’t until 2001 that the Hinckley-based company decided to bring back one of its most famous machines in the shape of a new and improved Bonneville.
Offering an improved build quality while maintaining the classic style of the 1970s models, the new Bonneville offered by Triumph comes with all the modern features you’d commonly associate with the bikes of today – just with a little more chrome on the side!
After Stuart Garner bought the rights to Norton in 2008, the motorcycling world became alive with rumours of a revival almost overnight. In the years that followed, Norton successfully secured a government loan to increase production and have since established themselves at the esteemed location of Donington Park.
And as for fruits of Garner’s labour, well, they kind of speak for themselves.
In 2010, Norton revealed the new Commando 961 – a bike which, although almost completely new in terms of technology, engineering and features, has somehow maintained the wonderful looks, chic and prestige of its award-winning forefathers.