Any 3 scoot jockey worth his dipstick will have noticed the recent resurgence of throwback styling from motorcycle manufacturers. With plenty of power and a more upright stance than today’s sportier rides, these bikes represent timeless cool and safety. ¶ “There’s a lot to be said for a bike that will start on the button, comes with a warranty, and won’t leak oil all over your garage floor,” says Mark Gardiner, author of the Bathroom Book of Motorcycle Trivia. “Plus, high-performance bikes are hard to ride well and dangerous when ridden poorly. The new wave of retros are comfortable in real-world settings—and it’s a lot more fun to ride a slow bike fast than it is to ride a fast bike slow!”
Ducati yanked the ghost of the original Scrambler back from 1974 when it introduced the 2015 Ducati Scrambler. Updated from the venerable single-cylinder model, all versions get the Ducati L-twin power plant, with tweaks in tailoring: The Icon goes with wider handlebars and lighter wheels; the Urban Enduro’s extra engine and headlight guard toughen it up; and the Classic’s spoked wheels and aluminum mud guards make for retro bliss.
Not just another Italian throwback, Moto Guzzi’s new V7 line defers to the original’s muscular, robust form but has been transformed into a leaner looker. The V7 was the first Moto Guzzi bike to use the 90-degree V-twin engine that defined the company; but today’s refined V7 engine gives it new relevance. Get it in one of the new models, like the clas¬sically designed Stone or the Special, which bumps up the style with two-tone paint.
Honda arguably kicked off the era of powerful and affordable street bikes in 1969 when it introduced the beyond iconic CB750 Four, with its industry-first four-cylinder engine and disc brakes. Reborn in 2013 when Honda’s new air-cooled CB1100 hit the U.S., the new 1100 has a rock-solid ride thanks to triple disc brakes and optional ABS, plus a super smooth fuel-injected inline 4 that’ll keep you rolling up the miles with a smile.
ENGINE: 1,140cc inline-4 POWER: est. 83 hp WEIGHT: 540 lbs BASE: PRICE $10,399
With a design that’s clean and sharp, BMW’s entry into the retro bike resurgence is a stylistic stunner with attractive aluminum elements. Customization is as easy as removing a few bolts here and there—put on an aluminum tail cover for a café look, or choose the trick titanium exhaust to add a bit of lightweight sportiness. The potent air- and oil-cooled flat twin provides a throaty snarl that will turn heads at every intersection.