– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Classic Style With Modern Performance

With the surge in popularity of ‘retro’ products (of all sorts) in the last decade, we’ve seen a host of auto and motorcycle manufacturers take a crack at producing a modern vehicle with the appearance of a classic. Some, like Ford’s GT40 supercar and Ducati’s ‘Sportclassic’ line, have ended up extremely close in appearance and character to their ancestors, while others (Volkswagon’s New Beetle comes to mind) carry little but shape to remind you of what came before.

While browsing through the latest issue of Road and Track magazine (if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a car enthusiast too), I came across a small blurb about a German company called Mechatronik ( Mechatronik restores classic Mercedes-Benz automobiles to like-new condition, at the same time updating their performance by installing a modern M-B motor, automatic trans, disc brakes with ABS, climate control, and more. From the outside, nothing is visible to hint that the vehicle is anything other than a classic Mercedes.

The same concept could be applied to classic motorcycles, although it might be somewhat more difficult – most of those old frames weren’t very rigid, and the powerplant and suspension components of most classic motorcycles are readily visible. However, it seems distinctly possible that a very close replica could be produced, with only a few small details hinting at the modern nature of the bike’s performance.

Kenny Dreer at Norton West ( is already doing something very similar – his Commando 961 SS looks like a vintage Norton Commando at first glance – that is, until you notice the Brembo brakes and modern suspension. Certainly it is possible to apply a similar technique to other lost classics of a prior age? If our readers know of any other companies doing similar work, please e-mail me and let me know.

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