The Best Looking Retro Standard – Motorcycle…

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on The Best Looking Retro Standard – Motorcycle…
Honda CB1100R Concept

The Best Looking Retro Standard

We thought it would be fun to have readers offer their opinions on the best looking, current production retro standard motorcycle.  We have photos of several examples here, including the Honda CB1100F, the Ducati GT 1000, Triumph Bonneville, Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, and the Kawasaki W800.  For good measure, we added a photo of the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic.

We are looking for current production models, or near current production.


ron corrette says:

I believe all the bike mentioned strike a flash back into the past. They do a fairly good job looking close to the original bike, but add the much needed upgrades in the engine,handling, and braking departments.

I’m not brand loyal so this decision is hard for me. My current stable has been whittled down to a ZX14, and a DRZ400S. So if money grew on the trees in my back yard, i’d honestly want to own every bike in this catagory and more.

Alot of people, like me, are going to pick one of these bikes because they either had previously owned the original as a youngster getting started, or because it was the one they always wanted and never had. Based on that, i’d opt for the Honda. I first learned to ride a motorcycle on a 1968 Rokon trailbreaker but my first go at a street bike was a 74 Honda Scrambler, and then a 76 CB400.

Now, one of the bike I always wanted, mainly for the history of and for collectable reasons, was a Royal Enfield. But I have to think that ownership of one would not be for a retro classic but for more of a ” Vintage Antique”

Nortons have always intrigued me, part style, part history, but the one ive always wanted most(before the 750 Comando) is the 1962 Manx-30M. But cafe racers are a whole different toppic of bikes to want.

Ducati never really got my attention in the retro class, probably because I always looked at them more in the cafe and sport segments. I’d own a 916 or 1198 in a heart beat though.

Kawasaki did a great job with the W800, but to me it almost mimicks the Triumph Bonneville. I’d rather look back at Kawasaki for the awesome 2 strokes in the H1/H2 or for the KZ’s etc.

MotoGuzzi has never really wowed me, except maybe the V11 I believe, and most definately the untouchable MGS01-Corsa.

Honda CB1100R Concept
Honda CB1100R Concept

So this brings me to the Triumph. In 2002, I was proud owner of a new Triumph Bonneville. And although at the time, most miles were spent on road and track with a 2001 Kawasaki ZX12R, I always looked forward to throwing a leg over the Bonneville.

That bike garnered as much attention everywhere I went, as my 1959 BMW R69 did. I met alot of people who had mistakenly thought my Bonne was an original of the late 60′s early 70′s version. These people had ridden and owned them as young adults only to get out of motorcycling soon after.

Sure…a true enthusiast of the model could imediately pick out the obvious differences but to these past owners, it’s looks and style found a dear place in their hearts.

One friend along the way, had the original 750 Bonne and I had the pleasure of taking it for a quick 5 mile ride. In comparison, the sounds of, and engine characteristics, were some what far apart. The old pee shooter pipes on the original just barked in a different way than my optional factory piped newer Bonne did.

But because of that original sound, I remember thinking the old thing was faster than mine.(never raced them together though)Power….well…my ZX12R at the time had been dynoed at 174rhp, so anything else seemed sluggish at best. And to be fair, power was never a reason for owning the Bonne. Back in the 60′s/70′s…I would imagine that subject was important, but not so much for this day and age of retro re-do’s.

Handling….I doubt anyone would ever say the older suspenders(forks/shocks) worked anywhere near as good as the newer model. I recall the original bike wallowing a bit in corners. The new bike just felt more asuring and planted. Some of that owed to better suspension but also todays tires(sizes and grip levels) give great feed back, traction etc.

Brakes….the old bike definately felt wooden but I wouldnt say the new ones were top shelf. Hard to compare any of these atributes with the newer sport bikes ive owned, but the modern Bonne is most deffinately the better bike. And,unlike the old, I never had to leave a catch pan for oil underneath it after riding or sitting for long periods. LOL

So, in conclusion, I guess my vote has to go to Triumph. And even though I learned to ride and owned a retro Honda, I believe Triumph over the years have done the better job at keeping this seggment alive, and staying true to the original with the added bonus of some new modern trickery. And if the Bonne doesnt do it for some, they offer a few other retro/moderns to choose from.

Honda CB1100R Concept
Honda CB1100R Concept
Honda CB1100R Concept
Honda CB1100R Concept
Honda CB1100R Concept

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