‘Old is Gold’ is a mantra that a lot of bike makers seem to be adopting lately, with a slew of neo-retro models hitting the markets over the last couple of years. Having a classic bike that runs like a modern bike is the ultimate dream for some and prominent motorcycle manufacturers like Yamaha, Honda and Triumph are answering their prayers, by drawing design inspirations from their past models to come up with a new range of retro-looking bikes fitted with modern technology which makes for a deadly combination. Let’s take a look at some of the retro bikes that you can buy and ride worry-free in the 21st century.
Always the quintessential British classic bike, Triumph decided to revamp their Bonneville line with the introduction of five new models – Street Twin, Thruxton, Thruxton R, Bonneville T120 and our personal favourite, the Bonneville T120 Black. Triumph have developed three new liquid cooled engines to power these bikes and have added a host of features like ABS, tracton control, rider modes and slip assist clutch to ensure the best riding experience possible on a Bonneville.
The new Ducati Scrambler, or Scrambler Ducati as they prefer to call it, is a throwback to the 1962 Scrambler which was an ‘American bike with Italian branding.’ Ducati has used a 75 horsepower, 803 cc L-Twin engine derived from the one in the excellent Monster 796. The brand has claimed that the bike, with a low-set stance and wide handlebars, is less about speed and more about the fun of riding. It comes in 4 models – the Icon, Classic, Urban Enduro and Full Throttle – with each offering their own paint jobs and a few styling elements, such as headlight grills, sump guards, different wheel, mudguard and seat options, and different exhausts.
Yamaha have somehow managed to seamlessly blend old school looks with modern design in their all-new XSR700, a retro-styled streetbike which pays tribute to the classic Yamaha XS650. The XSR700 is driven by a 75hp, 698cc, parallel twin engine that develops linear torque for outstanding acceleration. The bike also features a tight and lightweight chassis to improve agility and handling. In Yamaha’s own words – “The XSR700 takes the best of design from Yamaha’s history in homage to the past but is very much the motorcycle of tomorrow.”
Honda CB1100 EX
This is a bike that can truly be described as a ‘Modern Classic’. Inspired by the Honda CB750 from the 70s, the CB1100 EX is made to be a motorcycle as motorcycles used to be. The CB1100 EX is powered by a 88 hp, 1140cc in-line 4 cyclinder engine that is air and oil cooled. This offering from Honda is more about style with a sleek classic design and lots of chrome fitting to give it a truly retro look. Honda have also fitted it with a unique hybrid instrument cluster feauting two analog dials and a central lcd display.
The Kawasaki W800 is often unfairly mocked as a Bonneville wannabe, but as Kawasaki say – ‘it is a bike that makes sound, simple sense in a complicated motorcycling world.’ The W800 is a homage to the Kawasaki W1 of the 1960s and is a bike that should be right up there on the shopping lists of those with a craving for retro bikes. It is powered by a 773cc air-cooled vertical twin engine that produces a healthy 70 bhp of power and 60Nm of torque. This bike, which also comes with a cafe-style racing cowl, is truly a timeless classic and irrespective of its speed numbers, it is just a proper motorcycle that gives you the true essence of what riding a classic bike is all about.
BMW R NineT
This creation from BMW Motorrad is a proper neo-classic bike rather than a real retro unlike the Kawasaki and Triumph bikes on this list. The R NineT is powered by the famed flat twin Boxer engine from BMW that produces a massive 110hp. The bike is also highly customisable; The seat comes with a cafe racer-style curved back but can be easliy changed to accomodate a two person seat and there are 3 options for the silencer as well. It comes loaded with a host of technological advancements that can be expected from BMW but it stands for one thing above all else: ‘Pure Riding’.
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