Anyone that knows me, knows that I live with one foot in the past, and one in the present. It’s no surprise that I love the vintage-inspired style that’s overtaken that riding world the last few years.
So if you’re like me and you long for classic old-school bikes that invoke fond cafe racer memories, you’re bound to find a fleet of motorcycles in any showroom you choose to visit. Although going retro can sometimes be expensive, there are plenty of budget-friendly choices to go for. The good news is vintage-inspired bikes are just as cool to be seen on as they are comfortable to ride.
With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of our top 7 vintage-inspired new motorcycles to look out for in 2021…
1. BMW R 18
The BMW R 18 is as vintage as it gets. It may not be the cheapest compared to its counterparts but it looks amazing and makes a remarkable statement. This motorcycle brings the 1923 R 23 back to life with its shape, engine configuration, as well as shaft drive. The 1802-cc flat-twin engine claims 91 hp and 58 NM at 3,000 rpm.
This is the same torque as a Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight engine! The BMW R 18 has 3 different ride modes: Rock, Roll, and Rain. Rock is the default setting while Rock plays up the performance. While the difference between the two is not all too big, it is still noticeable, especially when it comes to throttle response.
2. Ducati Scrambler
The Scrambler made its debut in 1962 and is Ducati’s most affordable motorcycle to this very day. You can get a Scrambler for as low as $7,990 before the destination charge (though it does add up if you opt for more options). This motorcycle is the perfect combination of modern and retro with its air-cooled desmodromic engine that produces impressive power.
The bobbed fenders, the sleek tank, the unobtrusive exhaust, and the comfortable chassis all elevate the riding experience all while bringing that vintage touch into the 21st century. The Scrambler is definitely a great option if you’re considering a more budget-friendly purchase.
3. Indian Scout Sixty
Indian is a brand renowned for its vintage and retro models. The Indian Scout Sixty is a perfect example of that as it harkens back to the roots of Indian and its founding in 1901. The starting price is listed as $8,999 (without the destination, so just under a grand with the destination fees). This bike is very easy to ride with a seat height of 25.6 inches and a 1000-cc 60 ci liquid-cooled V-twin engine claiming 78 hp and 65 lb-ft of torque.
4. Kawasaki W800
The Kawasaki W800 pays homage to the special 1966 W1 in the best way imaginable. The 1966 W1 has become an icon synonymous with Kawasaki and the essence of the brand. This was the most powerful Japanese bike of its time and inspired the creation of many sportbikes.
The retro-modern version is yet another strong contender in our top 7 vintage-inspired motorcycles list. It has a 773-cc vertical twin four-stroke engine with shaft and bevel gear for smoother transitions and throttle positions. The estimated power is 47 hp at 6,500 rpm and a claimed torque of 44 lb-ft at 2,500 rpm.
5. Royal Enfield Continental GT
While it may not produce much power from its 648 cc engine, the Royal Enfield Continental GT provides you with a lot of retro-cool for its price. This is a very retro cafe racer-esque and is almost identical to the Interceptor, save for higher bars and pillion option. The power is at 47 hp and 39 lb-ft of torque. You can now get a smoother riding experience for much less with the starting price for the Continental GT being $5,799.
6. Triumph Thruxton RS
The Thruxton RS is an acclaimed bike racing icon. This model was designed with the Thruxton 500 and the Isle of Man TT in mind. Triumph’s most successful motorcycles have inspired a generation of cafe racer aficionados and the Thruxton RS is definitely a worthy successor.
With a 1200-cc liquid-cooled upright parallel-twin that produces 103 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, this bike rides on adjustable front forks and rear twin shocks. While the riding position may take some getting used to, the Thruxton straddles comfort and performance perfectly.
7. Yamaha XSR900
The XSR900 comes with an exciting 847-cc cross-plane crankshaft Concept liquid-cooled inline 3-cylinder that provides the rider with incredible range power at a peak of 115hp. This is one of the most powerful packages in its category not to mention ABS and 3 modes of traction control.
If you’re looking for a comprehensively modern vehicle with a touch of old-school then the XSR900 is definitely the right option for you!