If there is one category of motorcycle that will never grow old, it’s got to be retro.

It’s been a guiding light in the industry for years and, with more and more manufacturer’s creating these styled bikes, it’s only going to shine brighter.

In this new blog we’re exploring the top retro motorcycles that are packed full of up to date tech and vintage looks available for 2021.

Kicking the list off, and creating a look of its own, we have CCM’s Spitfire Six. Stripped down to the bare bones this little beauty nods to the past through an exposed engine, flowing curves, classic colourways, chrome exhaust and spoked wheels.

Now, anything labelled as retro means that it’s a unique piece, and as this model is hand-built with only 300 units available, it couldn’t get any more unique than that. To emphasise this further, you’ll also have the option to reflect your own style through customisable tank colours and complimentary saddle colours and textures.

Weighing in at a tiddly 139kg makes CCM’s Spitfire Six so light it’s basically throwable, and as well as this, a liquid-cooled engine that produces 55 bhp also makes it a commuter with a real sense of fun. It’s the whole retro package, is it not?

Engine 600cc, 55 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 139kg
Seat height 820mm
Price £9,995

Next up we have BMW’s R Nine T Pure, this model was originally created as a limited-edition reboot of the R1200R to celebrate and mark their 90th anniversary (if you couldn’t already tell from the name – Nine T). But, as with anything, if there is the slightest chance you can’t have it you’re only going to want it more, it became so extremely popular that BMW decided to keep the model, create a whole range around it, and here we are still talking about it today.

Though updated for 2020, a compact tank, slim rear end, round headlight, and analogue speedo showcase the R Nine T Pure’s classic roadster looks. Through the addition of modern LED lights, a powerful boxer engine, and double flow exhaust BMW have created a fusion of fashion, tech, and design that pays homage to a time where all that mattered was just getting on your bike and out on the road.

It may be the most expensive model on the list but, really for any BMW, you’re paying for the touch of sophistication and class provided from that world-renowned badge.

Engine 1,170cc, 109 hp, air/liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 17L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 219kg
Seat height 805mm
Price £10,795

Through a padded seat, round headlamp, exposed engine, and front suspension Fantic have worked hard and used their past experience to create a 70’s looker that blends old and new extremely well. In addition to this, its distinctive red and yellow colourway and side pod graphics certainly make it eye-catching and hit that retro brief.

It might not be able to keep up with some of the bigger boys out there, but the fun and highly capable Chinese motor won’t stop you from enjoying a light, accurate and smooth journey through town, down B-roads, or off the beaten track.

This little beauty is garnished with all the cheeky charm, edge, and old-school attitude any retro rider should, and a mixture of European heritage and Chinese affordability make it an overall joy to ride!

Engine 449cc, 43 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 12L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 145kg
Seat height 845mm
Price £6,999

There is one thing that makes a retro motorcycle and that’s simple, no it’s literally simplicity. Less is more and all that you know? And when it comes to Benelli they’ve hit the nail on the head with their Imperiale 400.

The refined aesthetics, teardrop tank and chrome inserts are giving us all kinds of major 50’s feels, and a round front headlight and analogue dials only continue to accentuate this classic design.

It may be the cheapest on our list, coming in at £3,699, but that isn’t always a bad thing. The Imperiale 400 is a bike that’s been designed to trundle around on a Sunday morning or sunny afternoon and look whilst good doing it – being economical to buy and run is just a bonus!

Engine 373.5cc, 20.4 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 12L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 200kg
Seat height 780mm
Price £3,699

Please welcome to the stage: Honda’s CB1100 RS.

Taking inspiration from the superbikes of the 70s', with an in-line, air-cooled, 4-cylinder engine reminiscent of the CB750 Four, sport striped fuel tank, lean and stripped-back styling, chrome detailing, round headlight and mini-indicators, the CB1100 RS is a modern-day street bike with a touch of Cafe Racer and a real edge.

Honda has created a handsome machine that bears its own unique style and is bursting with all the modern mechanics and retro rawness needed for a bike in this category.

In addition to this, Honda are spoiling their retro lovers even more with their new 2021 model – the CB1000F. Now there isn’t much detail about this one but there are rumours so keep your eyes peeled because we don’t think you’ll be waiting long to get the full spec and low down. As always, we will try and keep you up to date with the latest information so don’t forget to check back.

Engine 1,140cc, 88.5 hp, air and oil-cooled
Fuel tank 16.8L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 252kg
Seat height 795mm
Price £9,999

Royal Enfield have stuck to that same people-pleasing, head-turning recipe that worked so well in the ’60s and created a beautiful sleek two-wheeler that reflects its heritage superbly.

Retro-inspired clip-on handlebars, bump stop seat and a stripped-down silhouette fill the Continental GT full of traditional cafe racer flavour that after one taste will transport you back to a time where riding was all about making a statement. The GT is continuing to sell well and is it a surprise when it seems to have it all?

It starts at £6,099 but be aware though prices vary depending on your chosen colourway.

Engine 648cc, 46.8 hp, air/oil-cooled
Fuel tank 12.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 212kg
Seat height 820mm
Price £6,099 (Rocker Red), £6,299 (Ventura Storm, Dux Deluxe & British Racing Green) & £6,599 (Mr. Clean)

In a world obsessed with authenticity, Ducati’s Scrambler Icon may just be the answer.

The updated model has received a restyle that blends together tradition and innovation. The yellow and black colourway, with added chrome details, is spicy, fun, and captures its free-spirit energy perfectly. On to the tech, expect to see improved rider aids and suspension, cornering ABS, 6-speed gearbox, slipper clutch, LED lighting, and Euro 5 air-cooled engine.

But in this category, it’s not about the technical side of things, even though it is nice to have the convenience of modern-day technology, it’s still all about the looks – and this stunner has all that sweet vintage styling, and then some. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: an icon!

Engine 803cc, 73 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 13.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 173kg
Seat height 798mm
Price £8,485

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Moto Guzzi’s V7 lll was released to celebrate 50 years of their classic and loved V7 model. Every detail down to the seat stitching was carefully fine-tuned and revamped to stick close to the original and authentic design that has kept this model around for generations, and it just got better…

How do you ask? A new evolution of V7. Yes, that’s right, Moto Guzzi has waved farewell to the roman numerals and that’s not the only thing that’s changed around here…

Expect to see a new EU5 850cc engine (based on the V85TT), revamped exhausts, a larger rear wheel, and Kayaba shocks.

If you’re wondering about styling, then brace yourself because this model comes in three variations. The first, the Stone, is the more modern option with LED lighting and a new digital dash, whereas the second, the Special, is set to target those who love those classic looks and smooth lines. It’ll be a pleasure riding this vintage-inspired beauty with dual analogue clocks, halogen bulbs and wire wheels – it’s going to be special all right! And we can’t forget about the limited-edition version of the Stone – the Centenario – released to mark the brand's 100th anniversary.

On the tech side of things, expect to see the same as the previous model – a multimedia system, ABS, and Moto Guzzi’s own traction control.

Whether you’re popping round the corner to the shop or cruising down the motorway be prepared to turn a few heads. On a recent road test, Brett took the 2020 model to the street and couldn’t get enough of the styling, explaining that the sideways position of the 750 V-twin lump “really helps to make the Moto Guzzi V7 stand out from its competitors. There really isn’t any other bike out there from another manufacturer quite like a V7 lll!”

Prices vary for the 3 variants with the V7 Stone coming in at £8,000, V7 Special at £8,600, and the Centenario at £8,200.

Engine 850cc, 65 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 21L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 218kg (the Stone & the Centenario) & 230kg (the Special)
Seat height 780mm
Price £8,000 (Stone), £8,200 (Centenario) & £8,600 (Special)

Yamaha made quite the impression in the 1970s with their sell-out XT500 and 50 years later the XSR700 XTribute is set to take over.

On the inside, through a responsive liquid-cooled engine, it rides like you’d want any modern bike to but, on the outside, it’s covered with all those retro goodies that caused the XT to become one of the most popular Yamaha models ever made.

Stepping into its ancestor's iconic shoes, the XSR700 pays tribute and lives up to its legendary status through retro-inspired colours and graphics, scrambler equipment, and off-road components including handlebars and footrests. It’s dripping with rugged good looks, ageless style, and modernity and we just can’t get enough of it!

Engine 689cc, 75 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 188kg (wet)
Seat height 845mm
Price £8,402

The Japanese giants Kawasaki’s have designed a retro motorcycle to keep up with the fast-paced modern world. The front cowl, low handlebars, and pronounced seat throw you back to the 1970s, and the funky and bright colourway with pinstripe detailing allows you to make a statement.

Settle into the saddle and feel that flare promised from the 948cc liquid-cooled engine. LED lights, ABS, traction control, and backlink suspension bring the Z900 right up to date. 

Taking their inspiration from the KZ1000R, team green has succeeded in making a standout two-wheeler that ticks a lot of retro classic boxes and is set to get pulses racing.

The Z900 RS Cafe also features on our top 10 Cafe Racer list, so if you’re intrigued to see which rocker takes first place be sure to check that one out!

Engine 948cc, 111 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 17L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 216kg
Seat height 820mm
Price £10,949

Based on looks alone, it doesn’t get more retro than this. But even when we put looks aside for a second, Triumph’s history has made them leaders in the British retro scene, and their Bonneville T120 is proof of that, and that is why they’re stealing the #1 spot.

Over 70 years ago they created a distinct silhouette we know as the Bonneville that has, and continues, to shape the market. For modern-day use, the timeless character and iconic style have been captured perfectly through an up-to-date chrome tank, grab rail, wheel rims, and peashooter silencer accompanied by a 1,200cc liquid-cooled twin-engine, heated grips, and ABS all as standard.

The T120 is a classic-looking bike that takes all the good bits from Triumph’s earlier 50s-60s roadsters and adds a modern-day, yet still authentic, twist. In my opinion, it’s the best retro-looker on the list that is not only good value but is also a complete all-rounder, and that’s why it takes the crown. 

Engine 1,200cc, 78.9 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 236kg (wet)
Seat height 790mm
Price £10,800

As long as sales keep booming and manufacturer’s keep up with demand then this timeless design will never go out of fashion. What do you think to my choices? Do you agree with Triumph’s Bonneville taking the top spot? Let me know what you think in the comments below.