Retro bikes continue to appeal to a wide range of motorcyclists. Young or old, man or woman, these so called modern classics have something for everyone with their combination of traditional looks, modern engineering and laid back riding experience.
With Triumph recently reintroducing the iconic Speed Twin name plate to its range for 2019, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the entry level retros currently on the market, which should deliver all the style of the new 1200cc twin, for a fraction of the cost.
Ducati Scrambler Icon
If it’s a scrambler style retro you’re looking for, there are plenty of options out there. From Triumph’s Street Scrambler to Yamaha’s SCR950, the high-barred, knobbly tyred off-road style is a whole subset of the retro genre.
King of the class remains the Ducati Scrambler, which was first introduced in 2015 and has received an update for 2019. Like so many of the retros on our list, there are several variants of the Scrambler, but we’ve gone for the £8150 Icon.
This base model is a simple machine that comes in a range of bright, 1970s So Cal colour schemes and a host of trendy accessories that allow riders to customise their bikes. Ducati cheekily call it ‘The Land of Joy’ and there’s no doubt a Scrambler will put a smile on your face.
Kawasaki’s W800 is arguably the most retro of all retro bikes. Introduced in 1999 as the W650, the model is Kawasaki’s aesthetically accurate modern interpretation of its 1960s ‘W’ series bikes, which in turn were licenced copies of the British BSA twins.
The W650 proved a hugely popular model over the years and was enlarged and updated to become the W800 in 2011.
Emissions laws saw the bike shuffled out of Kawasaki’s range in recent years but 2019 sees the W800 back by popular demand, with a heavily revised new model introduced to meet the Euro4 regulations.
Not that it looks all that different. The W800’s charm remains its hugely authentic 1960s styling and, if that’s what you’re looking for, there really is none more traditional.
Harley-Davidson Street Rod
While bike brands search through their back catalogues to come up with the latest retro concept, there’s one manufacturer that’s simply knocking out traditional motorcycles in the way they’ve always made them – step forward Harley-Davidson.
The All-American Motor Company has upped its game massively over the last decade, introducing modern technology and expanding its product range, but all the time they have remained true to all the values that have made Harley-Davidson the world’s most iconic motorcycle brand.
A Harley is simply a Harley, so it’s hard to describe any Harley-Davidson as a retro, or a modern classic, but each and every model could undoubtedly fit those descriptions. In the end, we’ve gone for the Street Rod, which is more roadster than feet-forward cruiser, and a positive bargain at £6795.
The Street Rod uses Harley’s latest 750cc liquid cooled V-twin motor, which develops 69bhp. Riders looking for something a bit more retro will probably look to the 883cc Sportster models, but for a traditional steed with the classic Bar and Shield on the tank, it’s hard to beat the Street Rod.
Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
In the Harley style, Italian company Moto Guzzi has also ‘always been making ‘em that way’. They’re the only manufacturer making a longitudinally mounted V-twin engine and the V7 range is pure Guzzi through and through.
That layout makes the Guzzi full of character and this air-cooled model was first introduced in 2008, before the retro movement really started to take off. The latest incarnation came along in 2014 – with a more efficient engine and the addition of traction control.
Today’s V7 comes in six styling variants. The single colour ‘Stone’ version comes in at less than £8k, making it the cheapest and lightest (thanks to its alloy wheels) example, while the £9k Limited is a blinged out chrome version sold in limited numbers.
Somewhere in the middle lies this, the V7 Classic, with traditional two-tone colour schemes, lashings of chrome and old school spoked wheels.
Triumph Bonneville T100
Triumph has been the leading light in the retro market for almost two decades, and the company’s latest offering of ‘Modern Classics’ includes four 900cc models priced between £8,000 and £9,000.
The entry level Street Twin is one of the most accessible and easy to ride big bikes on the market today, but for those looking for something more traditional the Bonneville T100 brings along all the classic Brit bike styling cues, including wire wheels, peashooter exhausts and a hand finished, pinstriped fuel tank.
Compared to the rattly old British twins of the 1970s, the modern day Bonneville is silky smooth and bulletproof. The look is quintessential though, and for many riders it offers enough performance to make the bigger, faster and more expensive Bonneville T120 largely irrelevant.
Do you have a couple or more of these bikes? why not check out Carole Nash Multibike insurance.