Thursday, 10 May 2012 5:43 PM
If you have bought into the romance and heritage of motorcycling, it is almost certain you will rate style as more important than speed when you come to buy a new machine. Fortunately, there are a host of retro motorbikes on the market that match your taste.
Whether you are after a cool 125 cc bike for everyday use or a cruiser for longer journeys, you will find something you love. A number of major manufacturers have recognised the appeal of classic styling and have added machines with it to their product ranges.
That doesn't mean you have to settle for retro technology though, as many of the bikes combine the latest equipment with a look that is straight out of the halcyon days of motorcycling. In fact, it is possible to buy a machine that demonstrates real innovation if you choose one of the best on the market.
Victory Vegas Highball
The first name to look out for when searching for a retro bike is Victory, as the manufacturer specialises in machines that appear to be from the 1960s. Among the latest models is the Vegas Highball, a beautiful 1731 cc cruiser inspired by classic American street motorbikes.
Its stripped-down design features lifted ape hanger handlebars, 16" laced wheels with distinctive white wall tyres and a twin-pipe exhaust. The all-black paint job, other than some detail on the tank, completes the look.
The V-twin power plant ensures the performance matches the Victory bike's looks. It boasts 68 kW of power and 104 ft lbs of torque, along with six-speed overdrive transmission.
Suzuki Intruder C800
Suzuki describes the Intruder C800 as a combination of "classic rumble and modern comfort", and it is easy to understand why. It features glittering chrome, flared mudguards, footboards, spoked wheels and tank-mounted instruments to give it timeless styling.
The bike has an 805 cc fuel-injected V-twin engine, along with lots of other modern technology. You can look forward to a comfortable ride thanks to the advanced suspension, as well as neat touches such as a gear position indicator, clock and LED taillight.
You could easily mistake the latest Kawasaki W800 for a machine from the 1960s, thanks to its eye-catching styling. From the large circular headlight and traditional instruments to the long seat and elegant muffler design, the bike oozes retro chic.
The 773 cc engine also has a period look, but it is packed full of innovation. The fuel-injected V-twin means the bike is comfortable cruising at 80 mph, but can go much faster.
Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star
The Midnight Star has timeless long and low styling, together with a comfortable upright riding position and light handling. The Yamaha's classic cruiser looks are accompanied by an impressive 942 cc V-twin engine, which delivers 39.4 kW of power and has an uneven firing interval for a distinctive pulse feel.
Suzuki RV125 VanVan
While many 125 cc motorcycles seek to hide their relatively small engines inside designs that make them appear ultra-modern, the VanVan revels in its retro cool. It is styled to look like a 1970s beach bike, complete with chunky tyres, low seat and high-level exhaust.
The single-cylinder air-cooled four-stroke engine delivers 8.5 kW of power, which makes the machine ideal for riding around town and cutting through traffic jams. At just £3,135 and with low running costs, this little Suzuki is a great choice for a first motorbike.