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Retro + Vintage Motorcycles

Retro + Vintage Motorcycle reviews and road tests include old (vintage) motorcycles, such as those featured in Clement Salvadori’s Retrospective column each month, as well as motorcycles styled to look like those that rolled off the assembly line decades ago (retro). Cruisers can be considered retro due to their styling, but they’re a more natural fit in the Cruiser + Touring Motorcycles category. Whereas the irrational exuberance of the 2000s brought us overpriced, blinged–out choppers and painful–to–watch TV shows about customizers with short tempers, motorcycle guides suggest that back–to–basics vintage motorcycles have enjoyed a revival since the Great Recession. Harley–Davidson has its Dark Custom line, Victory offers blacked–out 8–Ball versions of several models and DIY builders are snapping up low–cost bikes on Craigslist and eBay for café racer and bobber projects.

Retrospective: Bultaco Montadero 360: 1968-1972

1972 Bultaco Montadero Mark II 360

Clement Salvadori
January 29, 2014

Year/Model: 1972 Bultaco Montadero Mark II 360; Owner: Bob Reichenberg, Jefferson, Oregon. This Montadero was an adequate dual-purpose motorcycle, in truth, more focused on the dirt than the pavement, though the handling was a bit on the heavy side. It used a relatively old-fashioned piston-port two-stroke... Read more »

Retrospective: Yamaha VMX12 V-Max 1200: 1985-1986 (also 1988-2007)

Clement Salvadori
December 31, 2013

1985 Yamaha VMX12N V-Max. (Photos by Clement Salvadori) Too modern for Retrospective? Perhaps not. The V-Max appeared back in 1985, was on the books for ’86 then skipped ’87, only to reappear with new wheels in 1988, then lasted with minor changes for the next 20 years. This ’85 gem is the original. The... Read more »

2013 Celebration of the Motorcycle at Del Mar

An 8-valve Indian board tracker owned by Larry Feece, who took home multiple concours awards.

Joe Michaud
December 20, 2013

An 8-valve Indian boardtracker owned by Larry Feece, who took home multiple concours awards. In September, the Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego, California, hosted the 2013 Celebration of the Motorcycle, a three-day event that included a charity ride, motorcycle auction and concours d’elegance. The... Read more »

Retrospective: Suzuki GSX1100G: 1991-1993

1991 Suzuki GSX1100G

Clement Salvadori
December 3, 2013

Year/Model: 1991 Suzuki GSX1100G; Owner: Steve Nelson, Cypress, California. (Photos by Steve Nelson) It was big at 1,100cc, good for 130-plus mph, and comfortable. You could spend all day on this bike, easily racking up a few hundred miles. And it was cheap—or at least relatively so at $6,000 in 1991... Read more »

Retrospective: Cooper 250 Enduro: 1973-1975

1973 Cooper 250 Enduro

Clement Salvadori
November 7, 2013

1973 Cooper 250 Enduro Back in those halcyon days of the early 1970s, two-stroke enduro models were the rage. If you wanted a play-bike, you bought Japanese. If you were a serious rider, you bought European, as in Maico, CZ or Husqvarna. A California fellow by the name of Frank Cooper was the Maico distributor,... Read more »

New BMW R nineT First Look

BMW NINE T

Mark Tuttle
October 16, 2013

The BMW nineT as it leaves the factory with standard dual seat. Retro is back at BMW with today’s reveal of the R nineT, or nineT for short. Created to mark the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad, the new BMW nineT is a retro boxer that blends the opposed flat twin’s iconic character and classic design... Read more »

Royal Enfield Continental GT First Ride Review

2014 ROYAL ENFIELD

Rich Cox
October 9, 2013

True, it doesn’t go a million—or even a hundred—but the GT definitely offers all the right look and feel for those who would love to transport themselves back to the future. Last September Royal Enfield Motors hosted a lavish international press launch in England for its all-new Continental GT... Read more »

Retrospectve: Kawasaki KLX650: 1993-1996

1994 Kawasaki KLX650

Clement Salvadori
October 4, 2013

If you were in the market for a dual-purpose, big-single sort of ride back in 1993, Kawasaki certainly had the market covered. It offered three different models with the same basic engine. Two were street-legal, the third, called an enduro, had lights and no turn signals—but a cop would have to be... Read more »

Triumph Updates Bonneville, Thruxton and Scrambler for 2014

2014 Triumph Bonneville T100

Press Release
October 3, 2013

Triumph has updated its line of modern classics—Bonneville, Thruxton and Scrambler—for 2014 with new color schemes, improved exhaust notes and an even better riding experience. “These updated bikes retain that iconic link to our heritage in terms of their conspicuous classical styling, yet are... Read more »

Honda PC800 Pacific Coast: 1989-90, 1994-98

1989 Honda PC800 Pacific Coast.

Clement Salvadori
September 3, 2013

What happens when motorcycle designers share a drawing board with automobile types? The answer may be the Honda Pacific Coast. Rumor had it that after Honda R&D Americas, Inc., was established in 1985 and began dealing with all Honda products, the word came down from above that the engineers and... Read more »

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Retro + Vintage Motorcycles, Who Uses Them?

According to reviews Retro + Vintage Motorcycles appeal to older riders who feel nostalgic for the motorbikes they longed for when they were young, as well as to younger riders who appreciate styling and technology from years past. Rare and exceptional vintage motorcycles have become quite popular among collectors, with auctions fetching record prices year after year. With recent economic times requiring folks to do more with less, many motorcyclists have pulled dusty old bikes out of their garage and restored them to working order. Others who want the look of a vintage motorcycle but not the spongy brakes, dodgy tires and clapped–out suspension buy modern–built, retro–styled motorcycles.


Retro + Vintage Motorcycle Standouts

The July 2010 issue of Rider is one of the most popular issues ever published. Its cover carried the headline “Retro Rides” (July 2010) and featured guides, reviews and road tests of the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, Harley–Davidson Sportster Forty–Eight, Royal Enfield Bullet C5 and Triumph Scrambler–all modern motorcycles that can trace their roots back decades. Popular retro models available today also include the Honda CB1100, Moto Guzzi V7 (Racer, Special and Stone), Suzuki TU250X, Triumph Bonneville and Triumph Thruxton, as well as scooters made by Vespa and Kymco.

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