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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: Amazonas 1600: 1977-1989

Year/Model: 1983 Amazonas Super Esporte 1600; Owner: Doug Wilson, Santa Ynez, California.

Clement Salvadori
June 1, 2015

Year/Model: 1983 Amazonas Super Esporte 1600; Owner: Doug Wilson, Santa Ynez, California. This motorcycle was a result of economic solutions rather than engineering designs, which may explain its questionable status as one of the worst motorcycles ever built. Amazonas 1600 In the early 1970s, Brazil... Read more »

Retrospective: Rumi Turismo 125: 1950-1956

1950 Rumi Turismo 125; Owner: John Goldman, San Francisco, California.

Clement Salvadori
May 8, 2015

1950 Rumi Turismo 125; Owner: John Goldman, San Francisco, California. (Photography by Isabel Avellan) After World War II ended, dozens of Italian companies began producing small motorcycles and motor scooters to provide the local folk with some sort of personal transportation. A few of the names live... Read more »

Rider Comparo: 2015 Ducati Scrambler vs. Triumph Scrambler

2015 Ducati Scrambler vs 2015 Triumph Scrambler

Ken Lee
April 17, 2015

Two Scramblers in name; two different directions in practice. Photography by Kevin Wing Most of the time, an awful lot of brainwork goes into researching the purchase of a new motorcycle. Facts, figures, statistics, capacity, performance, road manners and so much more all weigh in when answering that... Read more »

Retrospective: Velocette MAC 350: 1934-1960

Year/Model: 1952 Velocette MAC 350; Owner: Tim Kenney, Ojai, California.

Clement Salvadori
April 8, 2015

The reader may be surprised that this motorcycle is not in more immaculate condition, having a shabby saddle, abbreviated aluminum front fender, chromed oil reservoir and a bunch of other blemishes. Truth be told, around here we are not much interested in concours machines, motorcycles to be found on... Read more »

2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe | Long-Term Rides

The National Cycle Street Shield SX windshield and Cortech Super 2.0 luggage are great add-ons.

Arden Kysely
April 3, 2015

The 2014 Honda CB1100 Deluxe has more fuel capacity, a 6-speed transmission and Combined ABS. At the very first glance, the CB1100 parked outside the Rider office had me by the eyeballs. Appraising its Candy Red paint and clean, classic lines, I knew I had to ride it. EIC Tuttle finally handed me the... Read more »

Hercules W2000 and Suzuki RE5—Short History of Wankel-Powered Motorcycles

The rotor in the Hercules is situated laterally (across the frame) whereas on the Suzuki the rotor is positioned longitudinally. Each bike’s single-rotor engine has one spark plug. The RE5’s plug is used in no other engine.

Scott A. Williams
March 4, 2015

The rotor in the Hercules is situated laterally (across the frame) whereas on the Suzuki the rotor is positioned longitudinally. Each bike’s single-rotor engine has one spark plug. The RE5’s plug is used in no other engine. (Photos by Scott A. Williams and Ron Schavrien) In March 1972, Cycle Guide... Read more »

Retrospective: Harley-Davidson M65S Sport Leggero: 1967-197

Year/Model: 1970 Harley-Davidson M65S Sport Leggero; Owner: David Brown, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Clement Salvadori
March 3, 2015

Year/Model: 1970 Harley-Davidson M65S Sport Leggero; Owner: David Brown, Knoxville, Tennessee. This is one cool-looking motorcycle, with Harley-Davidson writ large on the gas tank and molded into the crankcases. A bit on the small side, but what the heck—if you were the coolest newspaper boy in town,... Read more »

2015 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Special Edition – First Look

2015 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Special Edition

Rider Magazine Staff
March 2, 2015

2015 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Special Edition Designed by Lino Tonti, one of the most iconic Moto Guzzis of the past is the 1971 V7 Sport Telaio Rosso, with its red frame and bright green tank and side panels. For 2015, Moto Guzzi is offering a special edition of its V7 Racer with a red frame and swingarm... Read more »

Retrospective: Indian Chief Police Special: 1940-1945

1945 Indian Chief Police Special; Owner: Steve Smith, Atascadero, California.

Clement Salvadori
January 29, 2015

1945 Indian Chief Police Special; Owner: Steve Smith, Atascadero, California. Wouldn’t the new Indian Motorcycle people just love it if the San Francisco Police Department ordered up some Indian police bikes? Just like it did a mere 70 years ago. Back in 1945, this would have been the pride of the... Read more »

World Records Achieved at Bonhams’ Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

1950 Vincent Series C “White” Shadow, sold for a record $224,250 at the Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction.

Rider Magazine Staff
January 15, 2015

This 1950 Vincent Series C “White” Shadow sold for a record $224,250 at Bonhams’ Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. Classic motorcycles from Britain filled the ranks of the top grossing machines at Bonhams’ world-famous motorcycle auction in Las Vegas on January 8, 2015. The Vincent brand in particular... 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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