Motorcycles that take you to the black&white era.
Festooned with modern technology and engine, these bikes bring back time from the ’60s.by Sagar, on
Timeless designs that take you back to the pre-’60s era , heightened feeling of riding free-spirited machines and the sense of freedom. This is what a modern day classic motorcycle offers without that knuckle bending fixes and ghastly scenes of oil dripping everywhere.
Drawing inspiration from the brand’s rich heritage, manufacturers are spinning motorcycles that exuberate the classic appeal and character that goes on to showcase their point of arrival into the world of two wheels.
Recalling the past glories, these neo-classic motorcycles have still managed to retain the charm and posterity of minimalistic elegance along with providing modern day mechanicals and the bits. They run on efficient high output engines that are both reliable and powerful and are equipped with state of the art suspension and brake setups that will bring the bike to a halt not far from their point of application unlike the yesteryears.
Today though, we’ll not get talking about power, torque, springs or brakes. Rather, the aura these bikes bring about with their interpretations of what the ’60s were all about and long before that. Their old silhouettes, round headlamps, spokes wheels and all that chrome.
Here are our top five retro picks available on the showroom floors:
Over the past fifteen months, Triumph has been sweating it out on the arena and treating us with exceptionally new modern classics over and over again. Their Bonneville range is selling as fast as they can make them and the British legacy is spreading far and wide. The T120 is the brand’s flagship motorcycle when it comes to transporting you back in time to the ‘59s.
Triumph is one of those who understands and respects the fact that the little finishing touches, detailing and craftsmanship give the bike a panache in its own way. The sculpted flowing lines of the original 59 Bonneville is rendered in the T120 along with the detailing on the clocks and lights. Even the engine gets the same level of detailing and finishes to incorporate key heritage styling cues of the 60’s.
Triumph’s attempt here is authentic and straight out of the box. The beautifully styled minimalism is depicted from every angle on this bike. To achieve all this with all the modern and complex electronics and wirings, Triumph has done a pretty good job in packing everything tightly under covers to showcase the simplicity of this styling.
Round headlamps, twin instrument pods, rubber forks guard, spoked wheels, exhaust spout, it’s all there. And then there is the shiny chrome. Lots of it here. All in all, it is a well put together package maintaining a classy and simple design with fantastic detailing.
2. BMW R NineT
The R NineT was launched to commemorate the ninety years of BMW’s excellent journey in making glorious motorcycles. If there exists a perfect amalgamation of classic retro lines with modern age design philosophy, it has to be the R NineT. The motorcycle, with its simple silhouette and pure no-nonsense stance, makes it an extremely likable machine.
No wonder the Germans struggled initially to keep up with the demand and so they released one version after the other in succession to the world stage that includes the Pure (roadster), Racer (café/endurance-style), Scrambler and the Urban GS.
Paying homage to the original 1980 BMW R80, this R NineT combines the classic motorcycle with modern technology and sophisticated craftsmanship that can transport anyone back to the days when the bike originally meant a sense of freedom and the passion for adventure on two wheels.
Detailings are not uncommon on any BMW, and with the R NineT, you can expect a lot of them. They include the vast use of aluminum in places such as the fork bridges, the clamp for the aluminum double-butted tubular handlebars, aluminum fuel tank with brushed side surfaces and much more besides. The instrument console of the BMW R NineT is another example of how the retro design cues can mix with the modern styling ethos.
Just one glance of the R NineT is enough to capture the unmistakable source of inspiration, the spirit of that era it was destined from. Sequentially, its riding characteristics make it a true member of today’s R NineT family all the more. As BMW says ‘It reflects the way of life of that time: People knew where they wanted to go, and they knew exactly how they would get there.’
The name Moto Guzzi had eerily vanished from the motorcycle scene, until now. Celebrating 95 years for a company is a big thing and to have survived against all the odds was a mountainous task for Moto Guzzi. Luckily, it has its own deep roots to draw upon for inspiration from which the ‘V7s have been prepped up for the consciousness of the new generation of motorcycling.
Paying tribute to their past, MG headed to a major revival plan and now, the brand is getting the third iteration of their most celebrated model, the V7 which is also the first model created by MG.
Celebrating the model’s 50 years of Italian flair, the folks at MG have come up with four versions of the third act of their first work. Of which, the ‘Special’ and ’Anniversario’ decisively comes close the spirit of the original V7 of the 67’
The V7 III’s minimalist design reminds us of the beauty of simple elementalism, and it manages to keep the brand’s heritage intact with the suave design elements that are both timeless and robust. Although designed by the futuristic thinkers of the Centro Stile Piaggio Group, with input from the Piaggio Advanced Design Centre (PADC), the ’70s-era styling makes into these bikes rather effortlessly.
The Special exudes old-school cool with chrome vintage-style mirrors, handlebar, exhaust pipes and dual shock springs. You get colored horizontal bands on the tank unit and matching it are the colored stripe on the side panels inspired by the famous 1975 V750 S3 motorcycle. The Anniversario gets bright and shiny all chrome fuel tank, gold-colored Moto Guzzi eagle, combined with a brand new genuine leather strap.
The fuel cap on the V7 III replaces the conventional flush unit for a billet aluminum screw cap that exuberates good taste. Also highlighting the aura are the new design injector covers, the sleeker side fairings, turn indicators and attractive satin finish colors inspired by typical ’70s shades. The saddle too gets a dedicated “old school” stitching to truly personify the model’s take on the classic and elegant roots.
Honda CD1100’s roots can be found back in 1969 when the Japanese manufacturer launched the iconic CB750K0. This Japanese entry came back to the US shores for 2017 and with it brings a healthy dose of nostalgia. Though the CB1100 pays homage to Honda’s long line of capable, reliable and fun street bikes, Honda sure wouldn’t look to the past without looking forward.
Carrying all bare-bones, the exposed air cool engine, steel chassis, minimal bodywork and standard riding position pays homage to the classics of motorcycling. The rimmed chrome instrumentation points out the timeless design element, and so does the handlebar, headlamp unit, fender, mirrors and the exhaust outlets.
A polished fender covers the rear wheel, with a chrome taillight housing and bullet turn signals that aren’t necessarily squeaky clean, but still manages to fit the classic look quite nicely. Polished aluminum case closures and chrome side covers complete the bling with good, old-fashioned, subframe-to-swingarm shocks that are exactly what you’d expect to see on such a classic ride.
And if you think the Triumph had chrome, this Honda is the motherload. Having a similar silhouette of the Triumph’s Bonneville family, the Japanese maintains a long and slender saddle and a beautifully painted new seamless fuel tank. The finish and the detailing are visually emphatic and sure looks the most expensive compared to the other bikes in this showdown.
Royal Enfield entered the motorcycle industry more than 115 years back in the UK. This makes it the world’s oldest motorcycling company in continuous production. All made in India now, Royal Enfield brings the old-school, British charm to the American market like no other builder in the world.
None of the bikes have lost touch to the brand’s past, and every model has respected the heritage when it comes to design and function which has been their selling point. Amongst the lot, the Bullet 500 has been the longest running model in continuous production.
Carrying a legacy of over eight decades, the Bullet channels the ’50s or ’60s with its intentionally outdated panache. This starts bright and early with a strut front fender over a good, old-fashioned laced rim. Really, it’s only the hydraulic brake disc that gives it away as a modern machine in this area.
The styling doesn’t get more vintage and authentic than this. Going by the looks, the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 certainly belongs to the World War era – it is that dated. Though for a majority of buyers, this is why they buy it. The Bullet 500 has a gracious retro design which has beautifully aged with the passing time.