Top 10 Retro Motorbikes

If you want a bike which is full of up to date tech but with stylish retro looks then a retro naked might be for you.

Storage and wind protection are minimal but each model attempts to look like a work of art straight from the factory. What is a retro motorbike?

The Best Retro Motorbikes:

★ Retro Bike of the Year ★

Kawasaki Z900RS

Kawasaki Z900RS For Sale

Brand new for 2018 the Kawasaki Z900RS is a bit of a game changer. It's based on the slightly more angry Z900 but has a de-tuned engine, wheels designed to look a bit like wire spokes, a retro style seat, modern LED headlight disguised as a traditional light and blacked out engine with machined mock engine cooling fins.

The details don't end there though because the dash is truly a work of art. At first glance it looks like a traditional pair of clocks but nestled between them is a modern inverted LCD dash with all the info you would expect from a modern bike. Read the review.

All in all it's a lot of bike for the money and there is also a cafe racer version available in the Z900RS Cafe.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 948 cc
  • Power: 110 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 215 kg

BMW R nineT

BMW R nineT For Sale

Launched in 2017 the BMW R nineT isn't cheap but looks great, makes a statement and oozes quality. The pillion frame is easily detachable for a solo look or you can opt for the pillion hump with hidden storage compartment and the Boxer engine is tried and tested, with a design that keeps the weight low down. Read the review.

There's also a cheaper version available in the Pure and a cafe racer version or you can customise it in almost unlimited ways to create your dream bike. 

  • Engine: Boxer
  • Capacity: 1,170 cc
  • Power: 110 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 805 mm
  • Wet Weight: 222 kg

Triumph Speed Twin

Triumph Speed Twin For Sale

Powered by the legendary Thruxton High Power engine the new Speed Twin is like a sportier version of the popular T120, with some weight lopped off and cooler mirrors. It can be massively customised using the Triumph parts catalogue and should sell really well. Read the review.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,200 cc
  • Power: 96 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 807 mm
  • Dry Weight: 196 kg

Triumph Bobber Black

Triumph Bobber Black For Sale

Following the massive sales success of the original Triumph Bobber the 2018 Bobber Black was inevitable. It improves on the original with a modern LED headlight, cruise control, better suspension, dual discs up front and a smaller front wheel with a fatter tyre.

The result is somehow more retro and cooler but it's one heavy bike at 238kg dry. The super low seat height should appeal to the shorter among us though and it can easily be customised.

If you want to take a pillion the 2018 Triumph Speedmaster is essentially the same bike and well worth a look.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,200 cc
  • Power: 76 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 690 mm
  • Dry Weight: 238 kg

Honda CB1000R

Honda CB1000R For Sale

The highly anticipated 2018 CB1000R is perhaps the odd one out on this list, both in power and looks. The previous generation de-tuned Fireblade engine produces way more power than you need for the road at 143bhp, combined with looks that are genuinely somewhere between a modern naked bike and a modern retro bike. The optional radiator guard, mini fly screen and pillion seat cover finish off the look nicely.

There's plenty of modern technology on offer but this bike is really all about the visual details and virtually all metal construction. Honda have also carried the styling down to the CB300R and CB125R for A2 / learner licences. Read the review.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 998 cc
  • Power: 143 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 830 mm
  • Wet Weight: 212 kg

Yamaha XSR900

Yamaha XSR900 For Sale

Launched back in 2016 the Yamaha XSR900 is essentially the best selling MT-09 with a few mods to make it look a bit retro, in the way of a round headlight / taillight, curvier tank and quite a few parts blacked out.

That's a good thing though because the MT-09 is an excellent bike with nearly 50,000 sold in Europe before it received a small update for 2017. The 60th anniversary yellow and black Speed Block edition looks particularly good. Read the review.

  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 847 cc
  • Power: 113 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 830 mm
  • Wet Weight: 195 kg

Ducati Scrambler Icon

Ducati Scrambler Icon For Sale

The seemingly infinite flavours of the 803cc Scrambler were a sales success for Ducati so for 2018 they have updated the Icon with a new headlight, cornering ABS, lighter hydraulic clutch, gear position indicator and fuel gauge.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 803 cc
  • Power: 72 bhp
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Seat Height: 798 mm
  • Wet Weight: 189 kg

Triumph Street Twin

Triumph Street Twin For Sale

The original 2016 Triumph Street Twin had a really classic look and was super learner friendly with a low 750mm seat, although not the lightest bike out there. It should last a while though because it can be made A2 compliant with a restrictor and can be completely customised with Triumph's massive parts catalogue.

For 2019 it gains 10bhp, a Brembo front caliper, better fork, ride modes, an improved seat with more padding, cool machined wheels and down pipes with a goldish finish.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 900 cc
  • Power: 64 bhp
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Seat Height: 760 mm
  • Dry Weight: 198 kg

Moto Guzzi V7 III

Moto Guzzi V7 III For Sale

The V7 has been slowly evolving since 2008 and is very much about the way it looks and sounds, with quite a following and plenty of customisation options.

It's also a little bit special because the engine is mounted at 90° to most other V-Twin bikes, ensuring you'll stand out wherever you go and the shaft drive means easy maintenance. Read the review.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 749 cc
  • Power: 48 bhp
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Seat Height: 805 mm
  • Dry Weight: 182 kg

Honda Monkey

Honda Monkey For Sale

Honda's Monkey is new for 2018 and channels the styling of the original Z50 monkey bikes. It's actually just a Honda Grom in disguise but that's no bad thing and it's super learner friendly with a really low wet weight, economical engine and low seat height. Read the review.

  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 125 cc
  • Power: 9.3 bhp
  • Licence: A1
  • Seat Height: 776 mm
  • Wet Weight: 107 kg

How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the best retro bikes you can buy new and picked the top contenders, taking into account style, power, technology and value for money.

What Is A Retro Motorbike?

What is a retro motorbike?

Most of the retro models you can buy today started life as a naked bike which has been modified to look more traditional, but without sacrificing all the modern tech and riding experience you would expect from a new bike.

They usually feature a single round headlight, simpler rounded clocks, stitched seats, more subtle colour schemes, rounded exhausts, loads of optional shiny bits and often wire spoked wheels or cast wheels designed to look a little bit like spokes from a distance.

Closely related are modern cafe racers which tend to start life as retro bikes but with the addition of low bars, a headlight fairing and pillion seat hump. They are bang on trend right now.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.