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.
Honda are the latest to do so, with the CB1000R neo sports café racer, which comes complete with adjustable Showa USD 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.
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 retro café racer styling. Features include clip-on bars to give the bike a sportier café racer feel, tuck and roll seat design which exudes old school looks, a lightweight trellis frame, and a Nissin ABS system. The 645cc engine produces 75bhp, and is good for a claimed 72.4mpg.
Previous SV650 models have been notoriously versatile, and judging by the promo video of the X, the latest model also looks to suit any situation. Priced a penny under six grand, 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 true off-roader 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 describe as the “golden era of enduro motorbikes”, with its livery evoking the spirit from that era.
The 803cc L-twin bike comes with a host of top equipment, including 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 London’s design and culture in the 1960s, and is inspired by the 60s’ Continental GT 250, the original British café racer. To complete the nostalgic 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, and is Royal Enfield’s most advanced yet with fewer components, less weight and provides owners with easier maintenance. The GT also comes with ABS as standard, and is available in colours 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 selling since 2009, and the brand’s most iconic bike since the 60s. 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.
Moto Guzzi’s V7 III bikes are all 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.
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 and built a new SS100 model in 2016, with a 997cc V-twin producing 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-fiber 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.
Also published in Insidebikes.