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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.

Motorcycle Rallies and Clubs: Del Mar Concours 2011

Paddock area at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Joe Michaud
May 2, 2012

The affluent city of Del Mar in San Diego County has had a motorcycle history for decades. In the past, the one-mile dirt oval at the Del Mar Fairgrounds was a favorite for AMA Grand National events and, in recent years, has enjoyed a brief period of reinstatement for those events. Encroaching development,... Read more »

Indian Sport Scout 750cc: 1934-1942

Year/Model: 1942 Indian Sport Scout. Owner: David Anderson, Chicago, Illinois.

Clement Salvadori
May 2, 2012

Undoubtedly the most famous Indian Scout is the motorcycle belonging to New Zealander Burt Munro, of the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian. He bought it in 1920, one of the original Scouts – which were said to have a top speed of around 55 mph – and fiddled with it for the next 40-plus years, making... Read more »

2011 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Road Test

Good power, suspension and brakes made the Guzzi a joy to ride.

Bill Stermer
April 4, 2012

Vintage motorcycles are incredibly cool, but most riders are reluctant to put up with their drawbacks that can include meager power, lack of reliability and the potentially dangerous inconvenience of anti-stop brakes. What we would really prefer is a classic that performs like a modern bike—or a modern... Read more »

Retrospective: Honda CL72 Scrambler 250: 1962 – 1965

Honda CL72 Scrambler 250

Clement Salvadori
November 11, 2011

photography by Steve Ready [This Retrospective: Honda CL72 Scrambler 250: 1962 - 1965 was originally published in the December 2011 issue of Rider magazine] In the early ’60s big changes were coming to the motorcycle world. The British industry did not understand that it was on death row, Harley was... Read more »

Retrospective: Matchless G15/45 750cc (AMC): 1962-1963

Year/model: 1963 Matchless G15/45. Owner: Paul Allen, San Luis Obispo, California.

Clement Salvadori
November 10, 2011

[This Retrospective: Matchless G15/45 750cc (AMC): 1962-1963 was originally published in the November 2011 issue of Rider magazine] The old American adage goes, “There is no substitute for cubic inches.” And in the early ’60s there was definitely a battle for the biggest among the British exporters... Read more »

Retrospective: Yamaha YM2C Big Bear 305 Scrambler: 1967

Yamaha YM2C Big Bear 305 Scrambler

Clement Salvadori
November 9, 2011

In the early ’60s the Big Bear race was a pretty serious event, running across California’s Mojave Desert and up to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. The idea that this beautiful, highly chromed street-scrambler had any possibility of winning against high-strung Euro-bikes like Maico,... Read more »

Retrospective: Meguro Junior S3 250: 1957 – 1958

Meguro Junior S3 250

Clement Salvadori
November 9, 2011

story and photography by Clement Salvadori [This Retrospective: Meguro Junior S3 250: 1957 - 1958 was originally published in the September 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Pretty good-looking motorcycle, this OHV 250. Look down at the right-side engine case and you might expect to find the stacked rifles... Read more »

Retrospective: Yamaha SRX600S (SRX-6): 1986

Clement Salvadori
November 9, 2011

photography by Dave Martens [This Retrospective: Yamaha SRX600S (SRX-6): 1986 was originally published in the June 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Year/model: 1986 Yamaha SRX600S. Owner: John Schroeder, Reno, Nevada. It was a bad time to introduce a new motorcycle in the United States, with the economy... Read more »

Retrospective: Suzuki GS1150E: 1985 – 1986

Clement Salvadori
November 9, 2011

story and photography by Clement Salvadori [This Retrospective: Suzuki GS1150E: 1985 - 1986 was originally published in the May 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Year/model: 1986 Suzuki GS1150E. Owner: Tyson Baker, Los Osos, California. Talk about naked power! This baby had it, an unfaired motorcycle with... Read more »

Retrospective: BSA W1 Winged Wheel 35cc: 1953 – 1957

BSA W1 Winged Wheel 35cc

Clement Salvadori
November 8, 2011

story and photography by Clement Salvadori [This Retrospective: BSA W1 Winged Wheel 35cc: 1953 - 1957 was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Following the ravages of World War II, Britain was eager to get back on wheels—preferably motorized wheels. Motorcycles were expensive,... 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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