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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.

Honda VFR750F Interceptor: 1986; VFR750F: 1990-1997

1986 VFR750F Interceptor

Clement Salvadori
April 3, 2014

Year/Model: 1986 VFR750F Interceptor; Owner: John Tucker, San Luis Obispo, California. (Photos by Clement Salvadori) The motorcycling world was immensely impressed when Soichiro Honda introduced the CB750 in-line four in 1969, but by 1980 the copycats had relegated the concept to the initials UJM—Universal... Read more »

Retrospective—Velocette Valiant 200: 1957-1963

1958 Velocette Valiant

Clement Salvadori
February 28, 2014

1958 Velocette Valiant; Owner: David Mooney, San Luis Obispo, California. Nice looking motorcycle, this Valiant, powered by a little OHV boxer engine with a cowling (Velocette preferred to call it a “bonnet”) over the top in an effort to give it somewhat sporty looks. It had a full cradle frame with... Read more »

Royal Enfield’s Long History in Brief

Ace Café in London

Mike Vaughan
February 4, 2014

Royal Enfield used the legendary Ace Café in London to kick off its international press launch of the all-new Continental GT café racer. The café closed in 1969, was re-opened n 1997 and currently hosts a multitude of reunions and events for both motorbike and car owners. The first Royal Enfield was... Read more »

2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

Royal_Enfield_Continental_GT

Rich Cox
February 4, 2014

The period correct grounds of the Brooklands Museum show off the GT’s clean, simplistic beauty. All of the test bikes were sporting the company’s accessory muffler that’s a little smaller in size and has a slightly bigger bark than the standard unit. (Photos by Rich Cox) When Royal Enfield Motors... Read more »

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 »

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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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