In the realm of motorcycling, there's a certain allure to the classics. The timeless design, the nostalgic feel, and the raw power—all elements that make retro motorbikes a beloved choice for riders seeking a touch of old-school charm in their modern-day adventures. In this guide, we'll explore the essence of retro motorbikes, their distinct appeal, and present a selection of the finest models currently available on the market.

What are retro motorbikes

Retro motorbikes, often referred to as "modern classics," are motorcycles that draw inspiration from designs of yesteryear while incorporating modern technology and engineering. These bikes pay homage to iconic models from the past, featuring vintage aesthetics such as round headlights, exposed engines, and classic bodywork, while offering the performance, reliability, and safety standards expected in today's motorcycles.

How do retro motorbikes compare to modern models

Unlike their modern counterparts, retro motorbikes prioritize style and heritage over cutting-edge features and performance metrics. While they may not boast the same horsepower or advanced electronics as sport bikes or adventure tourers, retro bikes offer a unique riding experience characterized by nostalgia, simplicity, and character. They appeal to riders who appreciate the timeless elegance of classic design combined with the thrill of open-road cruising.

Best retro motorbikes to buy in 2024

Royal Enfield Interceptor

Representing great value for money in the retro market, the Royal Enfield Interceptor combines classic styling with modern performance. With a new six-speed gearbox and slip/assist clutch, this bike offers enhanced handling and all-around performance while harking back to its heritage. Starting at £6,039, the Interceptor is a testament to timeless design and practicality.

Kawasaki Z900 RS

Kawasaki's Z900 RS takes a unique approach to retro design by blending classic aesthetics with modern underpinnings. Featuring an inline four-cylinder engine and a combination steel tube and cast aluminum chassis, this bike offers authentic looks with contemporary performance. Priced affordably and offering Japanese dominance of the past with modern levels of performance and handling, the Z900 RS is a standout choice for riders seeking a taste of nostalgia.

Indian FTR 1200

Indian's FTR 1200 takes retro inspiration to the next level with its flat-track racer-inspired design and modern features. With its powerful 1200cc V-twin engine and sleek styling, this bike pays homage to Indian's racing heritage while offering cutting-edge performance on the road. With updates for 2024, including minor improvements and new colors at no additional cost, the FTR 1200 is a compelling option for riders seeking a blend of old and new.

BMW R nineT

Offering a more accessible entry into the world of retro motorcycling, the BMW R nineT combines classic styling with modern performance. With its 1170cc flat-twin engine and lightweight design, this bike delivers agile handling and effortless cruising. Priced competitively and weighing just 489 lbs fully fueled, the R nineT is perfect for riders seeking comfort and versatility.

Ducati 803 Scrambler

Since its debut in 2014, the Ducati Scrambler has been a favorite among retro motorcycle enthusiasts. With its timeless design and updated features such as ABS, hydraulic clutch, and improved instrumentation, the Scrambler offers a perfect blend of vintage charm and modern performance. Priced at around £9,995 it's a stylish and accessible option for riders seeking adventure on and off the road.

Triumph Bonneville T120

The Triumph Bonneville T120 epitomizes the essence of modern classic motorcycling. With its stylish lines and chunky good looks, this bike pays homage to its iconic predecessors while incorporating modern elements for enhanced performance and comfort. Starting at around £11,000, the Bonneville T120 offers riders the flexibility for customization and a ride that's both nostalgic and exhilarating.

BMW R 18

For riders craving the ultimate retro experience, the BMW R 18 delivers in spades. Drawing inspiration from BMW Motorrad's heritage, this bike harks back to the brand's earliest models while incorporating state-of-the-art technology and engineering. With its 1802cc flat-twin engine and classic design cues, the R 18 offers unmatched power and presence on the road, starting at $16,640.

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