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Eight Retro-Design Bikes To Look Out For

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It’s pretty much the golden age of motorcycles. With the relentless advancement in manufacturing technology, the bits that make a motorcycle run have become quite good over the years. Engines are more powerful and reliable than ever, and oil leaks are a thing of the past. The tires really stick to the tarmac, with the kind of grip riders could only dream of back then. The suspension actually works without wallowing all over the place, and is generally adjustable, so no problem if the passenger is occupied by a large passenger. And the brakes reduce speeds to triple digits, without the bike trying to throw you into the nearest available ditch. But just when you thought things couldn’t get better, the Percy Shelley Law kicks in. “We’re looking before and after, and we’re looking for what isn’t,” Shelley said, 200 years ago. years. The English poet was not a biker but, in fact, what he said also applies to motorcycles.

Give riders a bunch of modern, fast and efficient motorcycles, and you think they would be happy. But no. Turns out what they really want are motorcycles that look like the machines they coveted when they were young, when hormones were raging and bank balances were meager. Power costs money, and most young riders just don’t have big wads of cash to spend on big, busty bikes. Decades later, for some, it’s time to recover. So is it time to recover the one who escaped? May be. However, the 70s and 80s are long gone. Bicycles of the time are now classified as “classic”. And new bikes these days have scary things like TFT instrument panels, multi-level traction control, and ride modes; you almost need a computer science degree to navigate the onboard electronics on some of the high end motorcycles now.

Bicycle makers know an opportunity when they see one. And the nostalgic Generation X men yearning for the lost youth is an opportunity, if there ever was one. Especially since these Gen Xers, unlike a lot of perpetually broken millennials (avocado on toast, anyone?), Have money to burn. So we now have a host of motorcycles that take inspiration from their predecessors from the 1970s and 1980s. Of course, these bikes are completely modern from a mechanical point of view; it’s just that they’re made to look like an older era. Here is a selection of retro themed bikes that we love a lot here at MW.


Based on the regular R nineT, the Racer is purely 1970, distilled into two wheels, chassis, fairing and engine. It is powered by BMW’s 1170cc “Boxer” twin-cylinder, which produces 110 horsepower. The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission, which transfers power to the rear wheel via a fully enclosed, low-maintenance shaft drive system. The bike’s tubular steel frame leaves the twin-cylinder engine fully exposed, which is just as good, as it’s quite gorgeous, with its black block and barrels and silver cylinder heads. With its only round headlamp and racy mini fairing, it’s a BMW that goes retro. Not yet available in India, but next year, maybe?


retro bikes

The original Ducati Scrambler appeared in the early 1960s and lingered until the mid-1970s, achieving a range of 250-450cc engines over the years. The new Scrambler was introduced in 2015, with flower power styling and a simple, non-intimidating, low-tech vibe that matches the psychedelic sounds of the 60s. The Scrambler 1100 is the newest model in the line-up and remains very basic. (relatively speaking, that is to say especially compared to a supercomputer on wheels like the Panigale V4R from Ducati). It is powered by Ducati’s 1100cc air-cooled V-twin, which lives in a tubular steel trellis frame and produces an adequate power of 84hp. Prices start at around Rs 11 lakh, ex-showroom.



Introduced in 1969, the Honda CB750 was the first modern performance-oriented motorcycle, with a 750cc four-cylinder engine. This 750, and the CB900F Bol’Or which arrived a few years later, are cult classics that still have a devoted fan to follow today. The new CB1100 is Honda’s attempt to recreate that 1970s magic, and we would say, mission accomplished. The CB1100, available in EX and RS versions (minor cosmetic differences only), comes equipped with a 1140cc inline-four that produces a reasonable 89 horsepower. Classic end caps include a conventional steel tube frame, dual rear shocks, wire spoked wheels (only on the EX) and styling from the decade when Sony released the first portable “Walkman” cassette player. “During the day, we sweat in the streets, a fleeing American dream. At night we walk through mansions of glory in suicide machines, ”sang Bruce Springsteen, in the 1975 song Born to Run. Those were the days, man. And the CB1100 is that bike. Honda, please bring this one to India.


Launched in response to the 1969 Honda CB750, the Kawasaki Z1 rocked the motorcycle world on its hips when it was released in 1972. Powered by a 900cc inline-four, the Z1 packed 81 horsepower and could reach a top speed of about 210 km / h. Additionally, the Z1 looked nasty and useful when parked next to the more stable CB750. The Kawasaki was the bad boy’s bike, as evidenced by the use of a modified KZ1000 in the 1979 film, Mad Max. Today, bikers of a certain age can still play out their Mad Max fantasies aboard the Kawasaki Z900RS, powered by a 948cc inline-four developing 110 horsepower. The style is purely 1970, with matching colors. All the modern elements (adjustable suspension, sticky tires, ABS, traction control, etc.) are of course there, but the spirit takes us back to a different time, where men were men and women were happy to ride as a passenger. Prices start at Rs 15.70 lakh, ex-showroom.


Agusta, masters of motorcycle design, knows how to give things a new (old?) Cool version. Indeed, their F3 800 sports bike took on a whole new life when MV’s style wizards gave it design cues from the Grand Prix racing bikes of the 1960s and, lo and behold, a new retro-racer was born. Under its skin, the Superveloce 800 is still a thoroughly modern machine, but its unique round headlight, round rear light, stocky little tail as curved as Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, its brushed metal filler cap and its Vintage-style leather strap that runs through the top of the fuel tank elevates it to another level. The fact that it’s powered by an exuberant 153-horsepower three-cylinder engine and fitted with top-of-the-line undercarriages from Brembo, Sachs and Marzocchi only makes it more worthy of lust. MV Agusta, after breaking with its importer based in Pune, is reportedly looking for a new business partner in India. So we hope the Superveloce will arrive soon.


retro bikes

Moto Guzzi’s current line of V7 motorcycles were designed to conjure up memories of the early 1970s Guzzi V7 Sport, which was quite successful and much loved in its day. The current V7 lineup retains the simplicity and clean lines of 1960s / 70s bikes, with a range of different stylistic interpretations – there’s a V7 for every Euro-hipster who smokes a cigarette, drinks a beer, or wears a pair of jeans. And best of all, we think, is the V7 Racer III, which looks like it just came out of the 1970s. Every piece of that bike – the unique saddle, the rakish angle of the handlebars, the racy low stance, the wheels Spoked metal, dual rear shocks and mini fairing up front – screams retro-styled cafe racer. It’s not unusual for Italian bikes to be cool, but this one is pure liquid nitrogen; think Jim Morrison in the 60s or Mick Jagger in the 70s or U2 in the 80s. We hope that one day Moto Guzzi (which already sells its V9 range here) will decide to bring the Racer III to India.


Retro bikes

In the late 1970s, Suzuki felt the need to spice things up a bit and turned to Europe for some design inspiration. They reached out to German design house Target Design to help them design an all-new high-impact sports bike. The Katana 1100 was launched in 1981 and, lo, a legend was born. With its unique play of shapes, colors and graphics, along with a funky little fairing up front, the Katana was unlike any sports bike the world has ever seen. And now there’s a new Katana for those who couldn’t get their hands on one the first time around. The new retains the best nostalgic design cues from the old bike, combined with an engine from the 2006 GSX-R1000 (one of the best Suzuki four-cylinder sports bike engines ever made) and a state-of-the-art chassis of technology. , suspension and brakes. This is the current Eva Amurri of the 1980s, Susan Sarandon; all the best songs are still there, some maybe even better. The V-Strom 650 XT, which Suzuki sells in India, is fine, but the Katana is the bike they need to bring here. Go ahead, Suzuki, do it now.


retro bikes

The Speed ​​Twin is a modern take on the classic British twin-cylinder motorcycle, stylish, stripped down to the essentials, free from fads and fleeting thrift stores. Of all the motorcycles here, this one, along with the Honda CB1100, is perhaps the most timeless. The Speed ​​Twin would also be right at home in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and we suspect it might still be around (with the IC motor replaced by batteries and an electric motor, perhaps) in two. or three decades later. Powered by a 1,200cc parallel twin that produces 95 horsepower, the Speed ​​Twin has enough muscle for the street, as well as a versatile chassis and suspension. No, it won’t follow something like Triumph’s Speed ​​Triple, but the Twin is so much better. The Triumph Street Twin (along with the T100 and T120) is already on sale in India. Triumph just needs to take it a step further and add the Speed ​​Twin to its Indian lineup.

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