In the last few years, the retro motorcycle market has boomed. Timeless brands like Norton, Triumph and Royal Enfield have seen their popularity rise, causing manufacturers across the globe to take note and launch their own modern classics and neo-retro machines.
This year has seen a whole raft of ‘new’ retros hit the showrooms. Honda has revealed the CB1000R neo sports café racer, which comes complete with super modern adjustable Showa upside down forks, ABS brakes, ride by wire throttle and three rider modes. Kawasaki also launched the ‘70s Z1-styled Z900RS (Retro Sport) at the end of last year, which sees the Japanese manufacturer re-enter the market after deciding not to build a Euro 4 compliant W800. There’s also the new Ducati Scrambler 1100, as well as a host of recent models from the likes of Moto Guzzi, Triumph and Yamaha. Indeed, it seems that no motorcycle manufacturer worth its salt doesn’t have a modern day classic of some description in its range.
So if you’re in the market for retro looks but modern biking pleasure, here are some alternatives to the CB1000R and Z900RS, ranging in budgets and styles.
Suzuki’s latest incarnation of its popular long standing SV range, the SV650X, is complete with the manufacturer’s latest innovations and sports what could best be described as retro café racer styling. Compared to the standard SV650, upon which it is based, the new model’s X factor comes from clip-on ‘bars, to give the bike a sportier café racer feel and a ‘tuck and roll’ seat design which exudes old school looks. Add in a lightweight trellis frame and a 645cc engine that produces 75bhp and you’ve got a lively machine that’s a lot of to ride.
Priced a penny under six grand and good for a claimed 72.4mpg, if you’re in the market for a brand new bike with great looks and modern tech on a small budget, the Suzuki SV650X could be for you.
Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Black Edition
Since its inception in 2014, Ducati’s Scrambler range has been one of the Bologna firm’s best selling bikes, and excitement grew again with the launch of its classic-styled Desert Sled at the beginning of last year.
The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Black Edition is the latest in Ducati’s off-road inspired Scrambler range, with its name and style taking inspiration from the 60s and 70s Californian bike builders who modified their bikes with knobbly tyres, reinforced suspension and skid pans, and raced on the desert roads. The Black Edition pays homage to what Ducati describes as the “golden era of enduro motorbikes”.
The 803cc L-twin bike comes with a host of top equipment, including dual purpose Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, steel tank with interchangeable aluminium side panels, LCD instruments with an interchangeable aluminium cover and under-seat storage with USB socket for charging your devices.
Royal Enfield Continental GT
The 2018 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is a true nod to 1960s London design and culture, being inspired by the Continental GT 250 of the same era. To complete the nostalgic café racer looks, the latest GT has clip-on bars, the trademark café racer stubby rear end, rearsets, upswept exhausts, a seven inch round headlight and twin clock dials.
Its 648cc parallel twin engine churns out 48hp, making it A2 licence compliant. It is Royal Enfield’s most advanced motor yet, with fewer components, less weight and easier maintenance. Despite being an all-new unit, the Enfield is a traditional air-cooled mill, making it the most authentic retro money can buy.
The GT does come with modern ABS and is available in a range of exotically named colours including Ice Queen (pictured), Sea Nymph, Black Magic and Chrome.
According to Royal Enfield’s CEO, Siddhartha Lal, we’re likely to see the bike available in April with an “accessible” price tag.
Moto Guzzi V7 III
The V7 range has been Moto Guzzi’s best seller since 2009, and the is arguably the brand’s most enduring model since the 1960s. Like the Ducati Scrambler range, the V7 III has multiple models to choose from – six to be precise – including the Stone, Special, Racer, Rough, Milano and Carbon. As with the Ducatis, the V7s all share the same drivetrain, with higher specced mainly featuring more premium finishes, such as leather seats, spoked wheels and chromed tanks.
So all of Moto Guzzi’s V7 IIIs are powered by the same 744cc transverse V-twin engine, complete with aluminium crankcase, pistons, cylinders and heads, and produces 51bhp, with a reduced power version available for A2 licence holders. ABS comes as standard, as does Moto Guzzi’s own traction control system which can be recalibrated to suit worn, or different profile tyres.
Price: From £8,799
Brough Superior SS100
First generation Brough Superiors began rolling off production lines almost 100 years ago, and quickly earned the reputation of being the “Rolls Royce of motorcycling” for their quality, innovation, handling, speed, and beauty. But Brough went bust during WWII, with original models rare and often fetching six figure sums today.
The firm then re-launched in 2013, under the stewardship of Brough enthusiast Mark Upham, and they built a new SS100 model in 2016, with a 997cc V-twin that was developed in conjunction with French tuning specialists Akira. It produces 100bhp as standard, and up to 130bhp with a full system and a trick ECU. Staying true to the original brand, Brough’s new SS100 uses innovation in design and the best possible components, with its frame and swingarm a mix of titanium, aluminum, and magnesium, Öhlins front and rear suspension, and carbon-fibre wheels.
The SS100 comes in three different models, the Traditional, Full Black and Titanium, with Brough also offering a bespoke service for further customisation. You can pick up a brand new one for £59,999 at Gillingham’s Motocorsa, which could be considered a bargain compared to the price tag of an original SS100.
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