Top 10 Retro-Style Motorcycles to Purchase 2023

January 5, 2023
By Michael Padway

All Categories

photo of a retro style motorcycle

Are you a fan of both vintage motorcycles AND new-age technology? Motorcycles have been around since 1885. In that time, they have developed from simple machines with the little suspension to complex hyperbikes that can exceed 180 miles per hour given enough smooth pavement.

Since the beginning of the early 1900s, motorcycles have continued to evolve to what they are today. Some motorcycles are considered the pioneers in style, new technology, and leading the charge in old-school cool. But, think about how they started; They were essentially bicycling with a combustion engine powering them. Low horsepower, limited gearing options, and not very easy to maintain. Over the next few decades, refinements made motorcycles better-fitting, faster for longer travel distances, and easier to maintain. Since then, bodywork has become popular and turned into as much fashion as it is function.

What Makes a Motorcycle Vintage, Retro, or Old-School?

If you made a list of what makes a vintage motorcycle distinctive, it would be quite different depending on who you asked. Some would say it has personality, a low seat height, and heritage behind the model. Others may offer that it needs sex appeal, styling that hasn’t been duplicated, or a design that motorcyclists still talk about today.

Whether you’re a new rider looking for your best option, or a seasoned veteran looking to switch up your ride, it’s hard to deny the rule of cool that old-school bikes seem to fulfill.

However, all will most likely agree that modern motorcycles are still as captivating as their retro counterparts while adding new technology that weaves the past into the future. Conveniences such as fuel injection, anti-lock brakes, and storage capacity for cargo are three easy items to identify a modern motorcycle compared to a retro motorcycle. In addition, today’s motorcycle employs more technology than many deem the vintage breeds of yesteryear need.

Which Retro Motorcycle Is Best?

The process of getting a modern-retro can be a very interesting experience, though one that is much more in line with buying a regular new motorbike than it is purchasing an actual vintage bike. This is because contemporary bikes are purposefully done up to resemble like motorcycles of decades past. Twelve of the most important factors to take into account when looking for a retro-style motorcycle are briefly discussed here.

Engine

The heart of every motorbike, whether it be a modern, antique, or modern-retro model, the engine determines the motorcycle’s overall performance and riding characteristics. Modern retros are powered by a variety of engines, ranging from modest displacement singles to some of the largest some manufacturers have ever manufactured, so regardless of your level of talent or expertise, there will be something out there for you.

Additionally, just like with any other type or class of motorbike, it’s critical to choose a bike that is the right size, weight, and power output for your degree of experience.

Genre

Modern-retros come in just about every type of motorcycle under the sun, as was already mentioned before. Because of this, choosing the standard motorcycle genre that best suits your needs and wants should be your first step in your search for a retro-style bike. From there, you can explore the various modern-retro bikes that are offered within that genre.

Style

Quite literally, appearance is the only factor that distinguishes standard new production models from contemporary retros. Therefore, it’s well worth your time to examine the wide variety of styles that are accessible within that category once you’ve decided which genre(s) best suit your needs. A good number of manufacturers also offer huge catalogs full of enhanced parts and accessories to customize and personalize these already highly stylized motorcycles, in addition to the fact that many of these machines are available in a variety of liveries.

Motorcycle Parts for All Makes and Models

Everything from basic to high-end. Motorcycle parts that will fit your bike and budget.

Top 10 Brand New, Old School Motorcycles

There are motorcycles that mix modern conveniences with more vintage styling. Deemed as modern classics, they are a great blend of today’s technology with yesterday’s fashion. We’ve picked out 10 brand new, old school motorcycles that we think are worth considering when you’re ready to purchase a retro-style motorcycle.

2022 Honda CB650R

  • Type: Neo-Sport/Café​
  • Engine: Liquid Cooled, inline, four-cylinder
  • Displacement: 649cc
  • Transmission: 6-speed

It’s hard to go wrong with the new Honda CB650R if you combine the modern hardware with a classic look. Its four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of torque and faster revving than other twins. Add the updated, easier-to-read LCD screen, and you’ve got the perfect, minimalist neo-sport café motorcycle.

$9,199
More Info

2022 Yamaha XSR700

  • Type: Sport
  • Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC inline twin-cylinder
  • Displacement: 689cc
  • Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed

Inspired by the classic Yamaha “XS” series, this motorcycle is second to none in pure style. Its ergonomic fuel tank and tall, wide handlebars ensure a comfortable ride in any conditions. And if that wasn’t enough, ABS, an entire LCD readout system, and 410 lb. wet-weight make this light, sporty bike an instant classic.

$8,499
More Info

2022 Indian Chief

  • Type: Cruiser
  • Engine: Thunderstroke 111
  • Displacement: 1,811cc
  • Transmission: 6-speed

The Indian Chief is still turning heads one hundred years after its debut. The Thunderstroke 111 Engine boasts 108 ft-lbs of torque, and its low seat height and mid-mount foot pegs keep you in control of the bike. Indian hasn’t shied away from modern conveniences, with full LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three available riding modes to ensure you get the perfect, safe ride every time. If you don’t want to choose between modern amenities and old-school cool, you want the Indian Chief.

$14,499
More Info

2022 Yamaha Bolt

  • Type: Cruiser
  • Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC, vertical-twin, four-cylinder
  • Displacement: 942cc
  • Transmission: 5-speed, return shift

If you’re looking for an old-school cruiser, look no further than the 2020 Yamaha Bolt. With LED lighting and a digital LCD meter assembly, Yamaha brings modern conveniences to the classic look of the Sar Cruiser line. With a compact chassis packing a 942cc engine, this bike oozes style without sacrificing performance.

$7,999
More Info

2022 Kawasaki W800

  • Type: Café Racer
  • Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC, vertical twin, four-stroke
  • Displacement: 773cc
  • Transmission: 5-speed

Looking at the features available for the new 2021 Kawasaki W800, it’s clear this bike has been given a modern safety revamp without sacrificing its time-tested look. Its 773cc 4-stroke vertical twin engine ensures you’ll get anywhere you need to go, built-in ABS and assist/slipper clutch ensures you’ll get there safely. In addition, the classic metallic ocean blue body ensures you’ll get there in style.

$9,199
More Info

2022 Ducati Monster

  • Type >>> Sport Standard
  • Engine >>> Liquid-cooled, V2 – 90°, four-valve cylinders
  • Displacement >>> 937cc
  • Transmission >>> 6-speed

When you think Ducati, you think of speed, agility, and style. The new 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ give you all the power and prestige of the Ducati brand in a sleek, retro package. Its new 937cc engine increases power and decreases weight for better handling and rideability. In addition, the traction control and ABS ensure you’ll be safe on the road. So rest assured, this monster packs a powerful punch.

$11,895
More Info

2022 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

  • Type >>> Standard
  • Engine >>> 90° V-twin
  • Displacement >>> 853cc
  • Transmission >>> 6-speed


A black 2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber with green side panels, a brown seat, and a matte grey fuel tank

A combination of complete LED optics, a detachable passenger saddle, and double-channel ABS give you the same reputation and prestige as the Moto Guzzi name with modern conveniences. Its new 850cc engine delivers increased horsepower and torque. Its brown saddle, green painted side panels, and matte grey fuel tank deliver that one-of-a-kind Moto Guzzi style. As far as the rest of the body, that’s simple: Any color you want, as long as it’s black.

As low as $
More Info

2022 Honda CB650R

Motorcycle Type: Neo-Sport/Café​
Displacement: 649cc
Engine: Liquid Cooled, inline, four-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed
Price Range: Price: $9,199

The Honda Monkey was a rage in Asia in the 1960s and has kept a cult following over the last 50 years that continues to grow. The US market is finally getting its version that now comes in a base trim level available in red or yellow and an upgraded trim level with ABS brakes. The Monkey is considered mini with a small seat and could be too small for some more significant enthusiasts. However, it makes a great weekend adventure ride that allows riders to experience both on and off-road sightseeing. It’s also a fun commuter at lower speeds but does not have enough power to keep up in heavy, high-speed traffic.

More Info

2022 Yamaha XSR700

Motorcycle Type: Sport
Displacement: 689cc
Engine: Liquid-cooled DOHC inline twin-cylinder
Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed
Price Range: Price: $8,499

Inspired by the classic Yamaha “XS” series, this motorcycle is second to none in pure style. Its ergonomic fuel tank and tall, wide handlebars ensure a comfortable ride in any conditions. And if that wasn’t enough, ABS, an entire LCD readout system, and 410 lb. wet-weight make this light, sporty bike an instant classic.

More Info

2022 Indian Chief

Motorcycle Type: Cruiser
Displacement: 1,811cc
Engine: Thunderstroke 111
Transmission: 6-Speed
Price Range: Price: $14,499

The Indian Chief is still turning heads one hundred years after its debut. The Thunderstroke 111 Engine boasts 108 ft-lbs of torque, and its low seat height and mid-mount foot pegs keep you in control of the bike. Indian hasn’t shied away from modern conveniences, with full LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three available riding modes to ensure you get the perfect, safe ride every time. If you don’t want to choose between modern amenities and old-school cool, you want the Indian Chief.

More Info

2022 Yamaha Bolt

Motorcycle Type: Cruiser
Displacement: 942cc
Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC, vertical-twin, four-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed, return shift
Price Range: Price: $7,999

If you’re looking for an old-school cruiser, look no further than the 2020 Yamaha Bolt. With LED lighting and a digital LCD meter assembly, Yamaha brings modern conveniences to the classic look of the Sar Cruiser line. With a compact chassis packing a 942cc engine, this bike oozes style without sacrificing performance.

More Info

2022 Kawasaki W800

Motorcycle Type: Café Racer
Displacement: 773cc
Engine: Air-cooled, SOHC, vertical twin, four-stroke
Transmission: 5-Speed
Price Range: Price: $9,199

Looking at the features available for the new 2021 Kawasaki W800, it’s clear this bike has been given a modern safety revamp without sacrificing its time-tested look. Its 773cc 4-stroke vertical twin engine ensures you’ll get anywhere you need to go, built-in ABS and assist/slipper clutch ensures you’ll get there safely. In addition, the classic metallic ocean blue body ensures you’ll get there in style.

More Info

2022 Ducati Monster

Motorcycle Type: Sport Standard
Displacement: 937cc
Engine: Liquid-cooled, V2 – 90°, four-valve cylinders
Transmission: 6-speed
Price Range: Price: $11,895

When you think Ducati, you think of speed, agility, and style. The new 2021 Ducati Monster and Monster+ give you all the power and prestige of the Ducati brand in a sleek, retro package. Its new 937cc engine increases power and decreases weight for better handling and rideability. In addition, the traction control and ABS ensure you’ll be safe on the road. So rest assured, this monster packs a powerful punch.

More Info

2022 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

Motorcycle Type: Standard
Displacement: 853cc
Engine: 90° V-twin
Transmission: 6-Speed
Price Range: Price: 10,690

A combination of complete LED optics, a detachable passenger saddle, and double-channel ABS give you the same reputation and prestige as the Moto Guzzi name with modern conveniences. Its new 850cc engine delivers increased horsepower and torque. Its brown saddle, green painted side panels, and matte grey fuel tank deliver that one-of-a-kind Moto Guzzi style. As far as the rest of the body, that’s simple: Any color you want, as long as it’s black.

More Info

2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC

Motorcycle Type: Standard
Displacement: 1,200cc
Engine: Liquid-cooled, SOHC, eight-valve
Transmission: 6-speed, manual
Price Range: Price: 14,00

The 2022 Triumph Scrambler XC is everything you want for your next adventure. With five riding modes to support road, off-road, and everything in between, you’ll always have the perfect ride, no matter the conditions. ABS, all LED lighting, and even USB charging ports for accessories ensure that wherever the road takes you, you’ll get there safely and conveniently. So treat yourself to the best of classic looks and modern safety standards.

More Info

2022 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC

Motorcycle Type: Standard
Displacement: 754cc
Engine: High Output Revolution X V-Twin
Transmission: 6-speed, manual
Price Range: Price: $8,699

When you thought the Harley-Davidson Street Rod couldn’t get any better, in comes the 2020 model to prove you wrong in the best way possible. The Revolution X V-Twin engine delivers 18% more horsepower and 8% more torque than the Street 750. In addition, the inverted front forks work with the rear shocks to increase suspension travel. Throw in the estimated 54 mpg for city and highway riding, and you’ve got the hot rod urban driving experience you’ve always wanted.

More Info

2022 Triumph Bonneville T120

Motorcycle Type: Standard
Displacement: 1,200cc
Engine: Parallel Twin-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed
Price Range: Price: $12,395

The Triumph Bonneville T120 brings modern safety features into the mix without compromising the classic Triumph style. Cruise control, ABS, and two available riding modes don’t have to sacrifice style for safety. Throw in twin color options and hand-painted coach lining, and you’ve got the perfect modern-day update to the classic 1959 model.

More Info

TAKEAWAYS

After looking back at the evolution of motorcycles in the last 100 years, some common traits have stayed true to the initial concept: Two wheels, a combustion engine, and a simple braking system. Some have offered a small fairing, a la the café racers. In contrast, others have stayed simple, with no aerodynamics to help diffuse the wind around the rider. Whether you want modern or vintage styling, simple brakes, or the most up-to-date anti-lock brakes, it’s all available with a mix of old and new.

Once you pick the perfect old-school motorcycle for your next ride, ensure you have the right kind of helmet, a good sturdy jacket, and any other gear you’re missing. Stay safe out there!

Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

comments

1 Comment

  1. Jane Norman

    Could I buy a picture of the first bike shown? How do I get to use it for a small picture for my child’s room?