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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Best Looking Retro Standard: Readers’ Choice 2015


A few years ago, we published an article showcasing photos of some of the best looking retro standards available at the time. Pictured here are recent photos taken by MD of two test bikes, including a Moto Guzzi V7 Stone and a Triumph Bonneville.

We want to know what you think.  Tell us in the comments section below which retro-styled standards you think are the best looking. Feel free to link to photos off-site. We will publish a follow-up story with photos of the models found most popular by our readers. If you need some ideas, look back at our original story.



  1. Scorpio says:

    This is a rich field! The new Ducati Scrambler, Ducati Sport Classics, and new Norton Commando are all pretty, but I just can’t get over the streetfighteresque rear fenders, sorry. My personal favorite for authenticity would be the Royal Enfield Classic, but it’s less of a retro-expression and more of a quasi-modernized vintage machine like the Ural. Leaving every classic-styled cruiser out of the running as this thread has largely done (the new Indian Chief models take my vote in that category for sheer beauty), and notwithstanding my personal preference for the new Bonnevilles (who IMO win when beauty of function is added), I would like to add a vote for the new Brough Superior SS100 as the epitome of retro gorgeous:

  2. Paul Warrick says:

    I really like retro bikes and it’s hard to choose between them. Performance wise, the CB1100 wins unless we’re calling the ZRX1200 a retro. The CB is beautiful too. I love the unavailable W800 and the latest iterations of the Bonneville T100. The new and improved 6 speed Guzzi V7 looks good also, but like the T100, it doesn’t have an adequate power to weight ratio, though the Guzzi is significantly lighter. The deal killer for me on those two (and some others) is the ugly bluing that occurs on the headers. I know many of you don’t care about that. Honorable mention goes to the Triumph Scrambler which is a very cool looking bike. Anybody for a Ducati Scrambler? It was fun chiming in.

  3. Sromano says:

    The CB1100 has authentic styling, first class fit & finish, with modern performance & reliability. I own a 2013 and it’s the most fun I’ve had on a motorcycle! My vote is the CB1100 all the way!

  4. Darrell says:

    Honda CB1100 hands down, followed by the Triumph Thruxton.

    • jeece says:

      Do all you guys have CB1100’s? I did not think they sold worth a dime. Its refreshing to know that bike has such a following…or does it?

      • mickey says:

        I bought a 2103 and a 2014 DLX. Great motorcycles. 17,000 miles so far, not 1 issue. Bikes are outstanding. We have almost 2000 members from 21 countries over on

        • jeece says:

          I was thinking maybe the same guys were repeatedly praising the big Honda. I have not seen one on the road since they came out. I am in the impoverished south, though, and we fail to see much of anything that the billy bobs of the world don’t own.

          • mickey says:

            There are lots of models of motorcycles I have never seen on the road. Took me 2 years to spot my first ” new Indian” on the road. Never seen a multistrada or Panigale . Seen some monsters ( son and nephew each have one). Saw my first Norge about 3 weeks ago. See lots of Harleys but can’t identify them by model. Have only seen 1 FZ-09 and they are supposedly Yamahas biggest seller.

      • Dale says:

        I think it must geography. I live in North Georgia, above Atlanta, and there are at least a half dozen CB1100’s I see regularly when riding Dawsonville/Dahlonega/Blairsville/Blue Ridge. Plus with a big Guzzi dealer near me, there are a ton of clean Norges as well. Even saw the new Royal Enfield a couple of weeks ago. Regular Harleys all over, but no where near the concentration as when I lived in IL and rode in WI.

        Best retro – my Brooklands Green Thruxton wins hands down…

  5. sliphorn says:

    To me the Kawasaki W800 is the jewel of the bunch. Beautiful finish, lightweight (relatively), and a true long stroke motor with that gorgeous bevel drive. Too bad it’s not available in the states.

  6. Pete Voros says:

    Honda CB1100EX without a doubt.

  7. Petev says:

    Without doubt the Honda CB1100EX.

  8. Montesa_VR says:

    Can’t believe people pick the Triumph for looks. The ugly seam in the fuel tank should be enough to disqualify it. Some publication should post photos of a real Bonnevile along side the new remake so people can see what horrible job Triumph did with the visuals. A practical, useful motorcycle, yes. Beautiful? Go get your glasses checked.

    I’ll take the Guzzi. It’s true to its 70’s roots and has improved on them rather than gone backwards.

  9. CharlieC says:

    This is so subjective but for inline 4 fans how can the Honda CB1100 not be the choice? Has to be the prettiest looking motorcycle I’ve own and the ride is just incredibly smooth. Feels like you’re riding with an old friend.

  10. NRHRetro says:

    Triumph Bonnie has the look, but build quality and performance simply are not up to par. R9T is a great bike, but NOT a retro, what did BMW ever sell in the past that is remotely like it? The Guzzi is just not for me. You could call just about any Harley a retro, that’s what they do.

    CB1100 has them all beat in looks, build quality, performance, finish, nothing else is even in the game. My vote goes for the CB1100.

  11. Jan says:

    V7? Too weak, bad brakes. W800? Too “vintage” for me. Triumphs? I don´t like the fake carbs! BMW 9? What´s so retro about it? Norton? Very nice but also very expensive. SR400 – the price is a joke. Still, CB 1100 comes out very well in all departments!

  12. TrumpetGuzzi says:

    If the triumph were a hundred pounds lighter it would be a good retro and the guzzi has 70s power but is kind of tiny. If I were spending my money on a retro it would be hard not to buy the cb1100.

  13. Mike says:

    The 2014 Honda CB1100 is the most beautiful, hands down. When I saw the red Deluxe model at the bike show I put a deposit on one, even though I had no intention of buying a bike that day. The beautifully detailed castings, lustrous paint, and deep chrome are a magnet for passers-by every time I park the bike. And it is thankfully devoid of the dreaded flat black paint that every manufacturer seems to cover bikes in these days.

  14. Jason says:

    The Bonnie is the best looking, but for function and #2 in the looks… It’s the cb1100, hands down

  15. Tom says:

    The Triumph Bonnie is far and away the “retro standard”.

  16. Tom says:

    The Triumph Bonnie is far and away the better one. It captures the “retro” look perfectly!

  17. The Spaceman says:

    The CB1100. I liked it so much I bought the first one sold in South Florida. I enjoy the looks now as much as I did the day I bought it.

    • Gary says:

      They put a SUPERB finish on that bike, too. Just beautiful. Amazing what the Japanese companies can do in mass production.

  18. Gary says:

    I vote for the modern Bonnie. If they’d just amp up the power a bit, I’d prolly buy one.

  19. Philip says:


  20. VForce says:

    The Triumphs have become very generic looking. Look at the level of detail on a current modern classic and then back just a few years ago. The Scrambler doesn’t look right with the ginormous excuse for an exhaust, and its on the wrong side.

    I agree that the CB1100 is one of the best looking retros. Guzzi has done an awesome job with the V7 Racer and that one gets my vote.

  21. Bones says:

    Something about a Honda CB750 that always got my attention, so I’d go with the CB1100.

  22. mcpotd says:

    sorry. that should have read CB1100 doh..

  23. mcpotd says:

    Honda CB1000. Because for one it’s actually, you know, retro.

  24. DaveA says:

    Triumph Scrambler by a considerable margin.

    If the modern Norton was available in numbers I’d go with that, but it isn’t.

  25. Josh says:


    Preferably in silver.

  26. Josh says:


    Preferably in silver. Classy.

  27. Mark R says:

    I like the Harley Davidson road king myself.

  28. Sean King says:

    The Triumph is a far better looking motorcycle.

  29. Roberto says:

    Guzzi V7 Stone

  30. Silent Majority 69 says:

    I am restoring a 1978 Suzuki GS1000 and enlarging it to an 1100. Clean styling, cast wheels, lots of shiny bits and the best handling bike of it’s time. Nothing like the real thing.

    • Silent Majority 69 says:

      Ok, sorry. Best handling JAPANESE bike of it’s time.

    • Provologna says:

      GS1000 motor shares crank case dimensions and frame mounting points with the GS750 2-V. Of course the 1000 has larger bore and stroke for 1/3rd greater displacement. The 1000 makes considerably more peak power, even with a softer cam profile for much stronger torque throughout the range (same cam as the GS850 shaft). 36mm carbs were also kind of small, further favoring torque over peak power.

      One of several GS1000s I owned (including two Wes Cooley replica “S” models) was a ’78 (first year) E model, black fuel tank with white horizontal stripe, cast wheels, dual front disc. That bike had forged Wiseco 1100cc piston kit. The only other engine mod I can recall is HD clutch springs.

      The combination of the soft, mid-range heavy OEM cam and carbs + 10% larger displacement yielded the strongest mid range pull of any of the 75 or so bikes I owned. I would estimate the second strongest mid range pull was a stock silver 1980 GS1100E 4-V, third likely a black Honda CB1000 “Big One.”

      Comparing mid range pull of the GS1100/Wiseco vs. the 80 GS1100 was night and day. The 2-V Wiseco kit pulled away from the 4-V like it dropped a boat anchor. I was in my 20s and big and strong, and I still feel the pain in my shoulders! If you hammered it in second gear at slow speed the bike would flip faster than you can blink. It was like a 500 lb open class moto cross 4-stroke race bike.

      I long thought the perfect big bore 2-V GS motor of that era is the GS750 chain drive with 850cc kit, the same cylinder, head and cam from the GS850 shaft. Not sure about carbs: the latter CV carbs consume less fuel but might be more difficult to tune vs. the earlier slide needle type. The 750/850 motors are considerably smoother vs. the 1000s (my 1100 kit vibrated more than stock and of course was noisier).

      Cosmetics are a wash, 750 vs. 1000, like ’em both. Frame wise, the 1000 kills the 750 in every way, no contest. Wheel wise I’d probably do alloy/spokes ala 1978-1979 GS1000 with single front disc. It’s not too had to retrofit the GS1100 4-V alloy swingarm, a huge upgrade from the tubular steel.

  31. Buckwheat says:


  32. VJ says:

    In my books Triumph Thruxton is on the top. The pictures of yet to be released Guzzi Audace also is very attractive.
    Wish I could have one of each, well, don’t we all? 😉

  33. SausageCreature says:

    1) Guzzi V7.
    2) Honda GB500.
    3) Tie: Triumph Scrambler/Bonneville T100

    The one I’d actually buy however, is the Honda CB1100, even though it’s not the most convincing retro out there. I need a bike that can do some two-up light touring. My wife and I are both fairly tall (I’m 6’2″, she’s 5’10”) and long-legged. So far, the Honda fits us best. The others on the list would be somewhat cramped, and the GB would be woefully underpowered for the task.

    I see a lot of comments about the ZRX1100/1200. Even though I like those bikes a lot and wouldn’t mind owning one, they don’t really say “retro” to me. I think it’s the modern sportbike type wheels that throw it off. Same thing with the R NineT…no doubt a great bike, but I’m not sold on the “retro” part.

    • todd says:

      My wife and I used to do quite a bit of two up touring and camping trips on the GB500. We even got it up around 100 mph coming across the San Mateo Bridge one time. Sure, it has less power than most bikes these days but it’s perfectly adequate – and fine for two up touring (with a dual seat added). It was a bit cramped though…

  34. slipjoint says:

    My vote is for a used zrx with all the bells and whistles with 50 more rear wheel HP than the Honda and one third the price.

    • kjazz says:

      I’d forgotten about that bike, Nice !!!! Eddie Lawson replica would be nice to have.

      • mickey says:

        Kawasaki had 2 retros, a 750 Zephyr and an 1100 Zephyr here in the states that never sold. Very KZ 900 looking and very nice bikes. Ahead of their time as far as the retro craze goes.

    • jeece says:

      No doubt in my mind, the ZRX is at the head of this list. If you don’t count it because its not in production, then I would say the V7 Guzzi, and then Thruxton. The Royal Enfield is a sweet looking bike in the café style. From reading, though, it seems to have too many question marks.

  35. DG says:

    My vote is for the Honda CB1100 Deluxe.

  36. 70's Kid says:

    My vote goes to the 2010-2013 CB1100. I simply dig the aesthetic of this bike above all others mentioned here.

    I could find plenty of visual details to pick apart with all of these bikes. But everyone likes what they like and it’s cool to have so many choices in this particular category. The reality is that from the standpoint of looks, almost all of these bikes are more appealing to me than the other more modern styled bikes these manufacturers produce.

    The CB1100 just happens to appeal to me the most.

  37. tla says:

    triumph bonnie, thruxton, or scrambler.

  38. Think all the response to this has slowed down your server.

  39. kjazz says:

    I’ve got a GB500 Honda and a Thruxton. I love em. Didn’t expect them to be state of the art in all respects; especially the Honda (which I’ve owned for over 20 years).

    I just like the aesthetic of the “retro” designs.

    I noticed nearly no one mentioned the BMW R90t as a retro. I think it has elements of a retro design. The damn engine has lineage for sure !! But the semi-dished tank and cool tailpiece are very retro elements.

    I agree with the notion that the new Norton Commando is the baddest thing going with respect to genre. Awesome, slender body, dished tank, killer tailpiece, old looking lump……and then current running gear. Nice mixture.

    The Kaw W650 is a cool piece, but there’s a Suzuki and a Yamana I think that are very old-school looking standards too. They may not be great motorcycles, but the originals weren’t either…!! ha! But we loved em.

  40. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am curious and bored in an airport. This isn’t perfect, but should be pretty close. I used some judgement in a few cases where I *think* a poster cast his/her vote with a particular bike, ignored posters in cases when the poster clearly didn’t express a choice, and didn’t count bikes that are no longer in production. Bikes on foreign shores are in. I regarded all variants of a particular model as the same.

    Best Looking Retro – Percent of Total Votes:

    Moto Guzzi V7 28.2%
    Honda CB1100 21.1%
    Triumph Bonneville 11.3%
    BMW R9T 7.0%
    Kawasaki W800 7.0%
    Norton 961 Commando 5.6%
    Yamaha SR400 4.2%
    Ducati Scrambler 4.2%
    Yamaha XJR1300 4.2%
    Indian Scout 2.8%
    H-D Dyna 1.4%
    H-D Sportster 1.4%
    Royal Enfield 1.4%

  41. Dave says:

    The new Norton 961 Comamndos are the best looking new retro bikes on the market.

    • kjazz says:


    • mickey says:

      It’s the weird rear seat tail combo, mis-fitting side covers, space between rear tire and tailpiece, and gold upside down forks that ruin the look of the new Commando as a retro IMO. Tank and motor look good though.

      I do think it’s good competition for the Griso and BMW9T in a separate category.

    • azi says:

      Has anyone actually seen one in the wild yet? Lots of controversy about supply and delivery around two years ago.

      • mickey says:

        Last I read, they were delivering some bikes to Britain and to California. I tried finding out more info about delivery timelines, but there isn’t much info out there.

    • clasqm says:

      At that price, they’d better be!

  42. Rob says:

    I find these modern ‘retro’ bikes bland and underpowered. A fiend in the 70’s had a scruffy oil-in-frame 650 Bonneville and it would wheelie off the throttle in first and second gear, handled impeccably and was light and flickable. I’ve ridden a tuned up Hinckley Bonnie and it was OK, but heavy and characterless. The faux carburetors, huge engine and garden-furniture frame were also a turn off. The combination of lightness and grunt is now the preserve of ‘modern’ bikes like the MT07 and Ducati Monsters, though the Scrambler looks promising.

  43. Find it hard to believe that Big K does not bring the W800 here.

    • Paul says:

      It sold poorly the first time they brought it to the US as the W650. As I understand it, it was originally designed for the Japanese market, and they decided to give it a try here. There are almost no plastic parts on it and the engine is overbuilt. It probably cost quite a lot more to make than other more modern retro designs. The W800 doesn’t sell in huge numbers in Europe either from what I have read. Our US market is pretty price sensitive for Japanese bikes. It might cost too much when compared to other retros or bikes like the FZ07.

      Kawi only ever used the motor in the W bikes. It’s cheaper for manufacturers to re-use engines like the Ducati Scrambler 800 motor or the Kawasaki 650 in the Ninja/Versys/Vulcan.

      All that said, I bought a used W650 so I will vote for that. I didn’t expect Kawi to bring it back. The 650 is much the same as the 800 except for FI, emissions, and some trim stuff.

      • Kent says:

        My ex-wife bought a W650, and I delivered it from Oregon to the Bay Area for her. I was riding with guys on 650 VStroms (not fast bikes) on back roads.

        The W650 had a hell of a time keeping up, and it was terrible when the road got bumpy. The suspension would bounce a few times, then get rigid. And I hit reserve at 120 miles.

        The W looks good, but the other retro bikes are probably more practical. I can understand why they sold so poorly here.

        • Paul says:

          Strom is a much more modern bike, suspension and engine design, no comparison. It’s not a retro bike by any definition.

          I can get to 170 miles before hitting reserve, Mid to hi 50’s mpg.

          Lots of different reasons why a bike sells or doesn’t.

        • I had a Yamaha SRX600, rode it 50,000 miles, seized it twice, supertrapp pipe, cam, oil cooler, K&N pod filters, stripped everything so you could see through it, youngest son has it now. That bike was available and improved in Europe for a long time.

      • Just that Kaw has sold many models for long periods, even in low numbers, the old Concours, the KLR’s, it was strange that they brought the W650 and dropped it so quickly.

        • Paul says:

          Maybe if they had given it more time, or had more marketing behind it, who knows ?

          The “real” Triumph Bonnie came out about a year later. Most reviewers at the time preferred the Kawi.

      • todd says:

        I remember when the W was new. There was no marketing involved. A number of years later I was with my dad when he saw one for the first time. He said he would have driven right down to the dealership and bought one if he had known Kawasaki made more than just Ninjas. The only place I saw them in print was in Cycle World and, as far as I understand, my local dealer only ever had one on the floor. Maybe those are some reasons why they didn’t sell well.

        Same with the GB500. I visited the Honda/Suzuki dealer often enough in ’89 and ’90 for them to know what I liked. Not once did they tell me about the GB. I bought mine right after they stopped selling them here. Still have it now.

  44. brian says:

    No offense to owners and other posters who favor it, and greatly acknowledging it is a wonderful all-around machine, but I’ve seen and heard the Honda CB and even older CBs have more character. While stronger than the Bonnie or the Goose, it just doesn’t have that character piece the Guzzi has in spades. I put 23k miles on a GT1000 and it is a fantastic bike but suffered terribly from tank issues and too, I just missed the Guzzis ease of maintenance on my wallet and my brain; sold the Duc and happily went back to Geese. I just bought a ’99 Triumph Thunderbird Sport and I must say, it might really indeed beat everything here. 🙂

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The CB1100 wouldn’t be the bike I buy, but the thing is utterly smooth and refined. I consider that among the best character traits one can have in a motorcycle.

      And yes, the Thunderbird Sport is a great bike! I wouldn’t mind one bit if Triumph came out with an updated, fuel-injected one.

      • mickey says:

        Never understood why some people consider excessive vibration, leaks, electrical issues, low power, poor brakes,lousy dealer network and not knowing if you are going to make it home when you take off in the morning a desirable character trait.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I never got it either, Mickey. Now, whenever I read the word “character” in a motorcycle review, I typically just substitute the word “flawed.” If my TV screen starts flickering or gets a distorted picture, I throw it out and get a new one. I don’t keep it because it has “character.”

          • mickey says:

            What’s that saying? What Italians consider character, the Japanese consider design flaws, and the Germans deny to their grave…

            Or something like that lol

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Hah! A lot of truth to that! I don’t mind a bike with a few flaws. That can be fun in small doses. But when it comes to long-term ownership or long days in the saddle, I’ll choose refinement and reliability 10 times out of 10. To me, smooth operation is the epitome of character. That always makes an impression on me when I ride a bike for the first time.

          • brian says:

            You fellars are funny. You and I both know “character” does not mean engineering or design flaws. Nor does having it mean unreliability. Let’s see, I’ve owned Hondas, Kawasakis, Triumphs, 2 different Ducatis, and about 5 different Geese I’ve driven for probably a total of 70k miles – at least twice more than any other brand. Wanna take a guess which brand – the only brand among those I’ve owned – that has never left me stranded? The Eagle flies high.

          • mickey says:

            I call BS that the Honda and Kawasaki broke down and none of the Guzzis have, because that is contrary to everything I have ever experienced, but whatever

            Please if you will enlighten me, and define ” character” cause it only seems like the bikes with the issues I described above are credited with having it.

  45. Provologna says:

    Holy molee! Whoever did NOT reply to this thread, please stand up?

  46. Norm G. says:

    looking…? CB1100. the one I actually like riding…? the Bonnie.

  47. JustANomad says:

    Could one make a vote for the Sportster SuperLow? It’s about as ‘standard’ as it gets.

    • clasqm says:

      standard retro, otherwise we might as well throw in the Ducati Monster. Sportsters made over the last ten years or so, with their hernia-inducing lack of rear suspension, tend towards the “custom” rather than the “retro” camp.

      Except the XR1000.

  48. Dave says:

    I have a Thruxton and it is great

  49. WWWobble says:

    As a long time VFR enthusiast, I was hoping for more in the 2015 release. But…. now I realize, it’s a FABULOUS retro release, and perhaps should be included in this discussion.


  50. thoppa says:

    1) W800 2) V7 3) CB1100 4) Bonneville

    But wouldn’t buy any of them.

  51. Jeremy says:

    I voted with my money a year ago. Matte black v7 Stone.

  52. John says:

    I like the Guzzi, but let’s get real, it is time to update it. It’s a truly old design, not a fake old design. I love that idea of it but it should be modernized more like the Ducati Scrambler or Guzzi’s 1200cc models.

    • todd says:

      What would it take to modernize it? Fuel injection? Disk brakes? Forged wheels? Dual channel ABS? Traction control? Look again.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “What would it take to modernize it?”

        For all of those modern bits to actually perform in a modern fashion.

        • todd says:

          Oh, I see. It’s more power you want.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            More power would be great, sure, but people who like slow bikes are probably just fine with that. Having ridden the V7, I’ll say its stopping power and suspension feel just as retro as the bike looks. The only thing modern those modern components lend to the bike are reliability and less maintenance.

            And traction control on a V7. What a joke! Maybe that would come in handy if you ride it in a sand pit or something.

      • John says:

        New chassis and suspension. Higher revving engine. Monoshock rear. Preferably single sided swingarm. More modern aesthetic.

  53. azi says:

    I’ve had a W800 for a while now. Loving it more and more with long-term ownership. Every component on it hits the spot functionally and aesthetically. It is what it is. Adjustable clutch & brake levers!

    Tried the Bonneville a fair bit before going with the Kawasaki. Positive initial impressions were later tarnished by seeing areas where the Triumph accounting department cut corners, and where the designers were a little sloppy – such as the location of the reg/rec and ignition key. Fake carbs, unlockable loose fuel cap, the seat removal process from hell…

    The Guzzi? too small for a 6 footer, and expensive. V7 in white looks good, but the chrome cafe racer is a bit of a dog’s breakfast.

    SR400 and CB1100 colour schemes for Down Under are/were terrible.

  54. North of Missoula says:

    2015 XJR1300 in Blue.

    I will never get why they don’t sell it here.

  55. Tim says:

    In pictures, the Guzzi looks great. Seeing the bikes in person, I’d personally take the Honda CB 1100. The fit, the finish, the paint, the chrome…it is a step above any of the other retro bikes.

    I also like the Kawasaki W800. The motor looks much more authentic 60’s than the Bonnevilles. To me, the Bonneville engines look bulky compared to the original. The original Bonnevilles had a sculpted look to the motor that the current Bonneville can’t hold a candle to. On the other hand, the Kawasaki W800 has that sculpted look of a 1960’s motor.

    • Tim says:

      I also do like the new BMW R9T. I didn’t like it in the photos I had seen, but in the flesh, it is a beautiful bike, and with the weight down low, it feels amazingly light.

  56. bad Chad says:

    V7 has it over the rest. The Bonnie is nice, the CB is nice, but for my money I give the v7 the golden egg. The V7 has the uninterrupted history to claim real retro, but done with true modern tech. The new v7II on sale later this summer, will add to a already solid package, ultra modern 6 speed gear box, ABS and trac control, not to mention the existing single EFI system that does away with throttle syncing. As to what MD is asking for, no other retro style bike looks quite as good!

  57. Bullet Bob says:

    I’m partial to the Ducati Scrambler even though I haven’t seen one in person, yet. I like that Ducati approached it from the standpoint of what would this bike look like if we had never stopped making it and just kept updating it. I think the others tried to build a modern bike that looked as much like the original as possible and I really like most of them.

  58. Chaz says:

    Regarding the BMW R9T: The question is “most beautiful”, not “most funky”.

  59. Peter says:

    Not available state side, but I think you have to consider the Kawasaki W800. I’ve got one of the rare W650 models in my garage. I think Kawasaki was about 10 years too early on the original release. Now we have plenty of hipsters to help the sales!

  60. Dave says:

    The Guzzi just looks right…

  61. Bob says:

    I’m a Hinckley Triumph guy. On my third Bonneville since 2002. Reasonably good looking, versatile, well built, and good aftermarket support.

  62. Adrian says:

    Honda CB1100. Saw it at the show in Dallas this weekend and its really authentic, though more to late 70’s Hondas than the ’69 models

    • mickey says:

      I added the rubber fork gaiters off a W650, a color matched headlight shell, chrome instrument cup covers and the little rubber lever end thingies ( we call them RLETs on the CB 1100 forum) that all Honda CB’s came with in the late 60’s and 70’s and it really looks the part now. I’m constantly asked what year the clean old Honda CB is when I ride it someplace.

  63. Geopaynne says:

    Wow, there are several retro standards out there that are beautiful. However there are few that really make it to the “bike I want” status. Royal Enfield makes a gorgeous little bike but I wouldn’t want to have to go very far on it. Ditto the Yammy 400. The Guzzi is pretty but it’s underpowered and not really all that retro. Triumph is the best all around retro balance but I could do with a little less retro for the excitement of the BMW 9T… alas too expensive. That only really leaves one in my mind. The Ducati Scrambler has excitement, good looks, custom accessories, and a good price point. It is also a blank canvas for any custom builder and nothing sounds better than an uncorked Duc! Oh yeah, I forgot about the Ural….Second thought lets forget about the Ural.

  64. Artem says:

    Moto Guzzi Centauro. Probably it’s really a retro bike for now.

  65. Michael says:

    Honda CB1100! Best looks, best engine, and it’s a Honda!

  66. Frank says:

    My vote goes for the Triumph Scrambler.

  67. Sam says:

    Both bikes actually look Retro, especially the Gootzie because the design hasn’t changed much in a very long time. I love the looks of the V7 and may buy one soon. I’m a big guy and the V7 is made for the little people but I think I can do a few things to change the ergonomics a little. Don’t expect performance if that’s what you are used to as HP and torque are lethargic. (As was the Triumph discussed below)

    The Triumph also pulls off the Retro thing to the uninitiated or general public. I had a new 2010 Triumph Scrambler and was always complimented on it’s beauty. Everything worked well on the bike but after 60 mph or so, My Burgman 650 would outrun it like it was a 350 or something.


    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Spend a day on a V7, then get back on your Triumph. Your Scrambler will seem so fast that you might just shite your pants.

  68. Daven says:

    I love the look of the Kawasaki W800, but of course it is not available here in the US.

    Of course this scrambler version you featured here on motorcycledaily last year is awesome!

    • ChrisP says:

      Wow Daven, How did I miss the picture of that Kawasaki Scrambler the first time around. I’m not a Kawi guy normally, but that is just beautiful. I’d own it….

    • Provologna says:

      Does that Kawi Scrambler exist! I want one! Please post link with specs.

    • Starmag says:

      I note a lot of love on this comment section for the W800.

      Thanks for pointing out the W800 scrambler, I missed it first time around. Really beautiful. Kawasaki should build it and bring it to the US. I’d probably buy one. It makes the Ducati Scrambler look poorly styled in comparison. Too bad it doesn’t have the Ducati’s power though….

    • todd says:

      Tank seams and all.

  69. mickey says:

    I think the 1000 GT DUC could have been beautiful, however the tank is on a weird angle, being higher in the back, the seat is way too puffy, and there is way too much space between the rear tire and fender. If the tank had been parallel to the ground, a slimmer seat, and maybe 4″ or 5″ of space between tire and fender, it would have been stunning.

    Like VLJ ,I don’t see where the Griso resembles anything from Guzzis past (while the V7 actually does) and same goes for the BMW R9T. They could have made that resemble a R1000/7 or an R90S but they didn’t. It looks more like a street fighter from 5 years ago. How those two get classified as retro is beyond me. The BMW. R1200R classic was much more retro looking than the 9T.

    SR400, Ural, and RE … Now those are so retro they have little appeal for actually riding these days, but they do obviously look the part.

    • Starmag says:

      +1 on all that Mickey. As for the 1000GT, even Egan curses Terblanche. If it had been styled more like the beautiful original 750GT I would probably own one now. Screw valve adjusters like the original would have been a bonus. Ducati could restyle the scrambler into a new 800GT based on the old 750GT.

      Something like The Laverda 1000 three cylinder (more charming than four/ not as lumpy as two) air cooled roadster seems like it’s one of the few things that haven’t been redone. Sure, they only red lined at 7000rpm and shook the rider to pieces but both of those issues could be overcome nowadays. In my view, a really beautiful engine. Yamaha could claim heritage to the XS750 and Kawasaki could do the same for their past triples. For me, that’s what the new H2 should have been. They could have used another name for their supercharged bike.

  70. Morgan says:

    The Moto Guzzi V7 Special in black and orange 750s colour scheme.

    • Martin B says:

      Yes!!! This is the right answer. Everyone else is wrong, wrong, wrong!! The V7 Guzzi is just simply beautiful. And no annoying chains to worry about. There is enough horsepower if you know what to do with it. In New Zealand we have an abundance of tight mountain roads and extremely zealous Police who enforce our 60mph speed limit rigorously. The Guzzi V7 Special in Black/red is perfect.

  71. Breva750 says:

    Need you ask??? 🙂 The V7 of course – the small block Guzzis look the part and seem to be the concept of a single organic thought rather than a pastiche.

    Though the Bonnie is a fine enough machine if you are ok with heavier bikes…. like the W650 in that vein myself.

  72. Mike Bee says:

    Honda CB1100 Deluxe. All retros are cool, but the Honda reins supreme.

  73. Dave says:

    I have been riding motorcycles since 1968 and have owned many models, I am now riding a Kawasaki W650 and consider it the best retro out there, sounds and feels like a motorcycle should, beautiful gages, classic lines, excellent build quality. Can’t understand why Kawi does not bring the W800 to the US.

  74. TTGood says:

    Honda CBR500.

  75. red says:

    SR400. by a mile. too expensive but I want it.

    • johnny ro says:

      Agree on the SR400 being a good looker, none better listed on this page.

      However I am not so sure it is retro. Retro means, styled to look like from an earlier age.

      The SR400 is FROM an earlier age, never really went out of production. Its a 1970’s bike still being produced. A Coelacanth of bikes. Like the Enfield Bullet or the Ural.

      The others listed are all modern creations, from clean white paper.

  76. Cras says:

    V7 Racer

  77. Stephen Parenteau says:

    I’d have to say the Norton Commando followed by the Bonneville.

  78. Gary says:

    For balance, proportion, and pure aethetic the Moto Guzzi V7 series is the clear winner. Runner-up is a three-way tie between the CB1100, Bullet, and SR400. Sadly, the Bonneville lost it with a poorly executed redsign in 2009, otherwise it would be gunning for first. Last, and definitely least, is the Ducati Scrambler. It’s hard to take this bike seriously as anything more than a fashion statement for hipsters.

  79. skybullet says:

    I think most of us would agree the original versions of the bikes in question were the best looking (and sounding). I saw and heard a V7 Racer (must have had aftermarket cans) that absolutely took me back 50 years, it was wonderful. The exhaust note of early bikes was so distinct and enjoyable, they need to duplicate that too.

    • stinkywheels says:

      I’ve not seen or heard the new ones, but, I fell in love with a Guzzis song a long time ago and still want one, even if it’s slow. Might have to get one of these songbirds in the garage. I do wish they’d lean on the motor just a little, lord know it’s overbuilt and understressed.

  80. Tank says:

    If you want a bike to just look at, you can’t beat a Harley. If you want a bike to ride, almost anything beats a Harley.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I find most Harleys and cruisers in general to be quite unattractive. But I am clearly in the minority.

  81. Tom says:

    I liked the orange and black XR 1200 flat track look-alike 1200 Sportster from 4-5 years ago. Also like the new upcoming Triumph Street Tracker.

  82. Michael H says:

    Honda CB1100
    Harley Davidson Sportster Super Low

  83. Jay S. says:

    2014 Honda CB1100 DLX!!

  84. Jeremy in TX says:

    I’d probably have to give the nod to:

    1) Norton 961 Commando
    2) Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
    3) Honda CB1100

    Honorable mentions:
    > Triumph Thruxton
    > Ducati Scrambler
    > Indian Scout

  85. roscoe van jones says:

    i was a guzzi guy for years. now i own one of these. bout as retro as it gets.


  86. endoman38 says:

    The Honda CB1100. I only wish it was about 100 pounds lighter.

  87. Paul says:

    I’d have to go with the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone; the Triumph looks good but the wheels cheapen its overall look. The Guzzi looks sharp. On a side note it’ll be a long time before I look at a Triumph again, my dealer service experience was so bad it ruined a good thing.

  88. Alberta Bootlicker says:

    2015 Yamaha XJR1300, too bad it is not available in North America

  89. beasty says:

    I can’t choose, but the contenders would be the Bonny, the V7 and the CB1100.

  90. Neal says:

    Dyna Wide Glide.

  91. ben a. says:

    zrx1100r not in the list , but pretty ojm……..

  92. Gene says:

    Without a doubt, the best looking retro on the market today has to be the 2014 Honda CB1100DLX. I’m biased because I own one but no other ‘standard’ takes one back to the ’70’s like this bike. Sure it’s updated… but it still pulls on the heartstrings like the old ones did. And isn’t that the point of ‘retro’?

  93. brian says:

    V7 if yr talking strictly retro but if yr gonna call it retro modern I have to also stick the Griso up there as well. I think G looks better than the 9T; I know the price sure does. In pics the Ducati seems nice but I would still put the Bonnie up there 2nd or so to the V7/Griso. Indian Scout very sharp too, maybe coming up behind the Bonnie with Duc 4th or 5th. And if we’re just talking looks, gotta include that new Royal Enfield 500 Cafe with the sharp reservoir shocks and such. So… 1) Guzzi V7/Griso 2) Bonnie 3) Royal Enfield 4) Scout 5) Scrambler 6) SR500.

  94. Ralph says:

    I’m partial to the NLA Ducati GT1000 in the touring version. Chrome fenders, windshield, leather bags. Yeah, that one works. I’ll take the black one with white pinstripes.

  95. PN says:

    Ha-ha, fully restored 1978 Suzuki GS750E! And 1975 Honda CB400F!

  96. Pat says:

    I own a Triumph T100, and love it. But for pure looks, I’d choose the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. Perfection, right out of the box.

  97. Rod says:

    I own a 2013 CB1100. Well made, good looking, fairly quick. At $2000 off msrp it was a simple decision vs the other nice retro bikes on the market last spring.

  98. Aussie Mike says:

    My shortlist:

    Moto Guzzi V7
    BMW R-Nine-T
    Honda CB1100
    Royal Enfield Continental

    They all all gorgeous and simple. The Beemer gets my vote – narrowly. Anyone of these bikes would be welcome in my garage

  99. clasqm says:

    I’m probably pushing the “retro” idea too far for most here, but …


    1. Indian Scout.

    Not one of the bikes mentioned here so far is a bolt-by-bolt reconstruction of an ancient model. At the very least, they have gained electronic ignition and a front disk brake. The Scout takes that principle a bit further. It adopts the basic lines of its 1930s ancestors and then wraps them around a glorious dieselpunk-styled engine.

    2. Honda CB1100

    Not exactly a copy of any one CB model of yore, it mixes and matches elements of them all. If you couldn’t afford a CB750/900F as a teenager, this is your bike.

    3. Kawasaki W800

    If it had kept the W650’s kickstarter, it would have been higher up the list. Out-brits the Bonneville.

    4. Triumph Bonneville range

    I’m sorry, every time I see one, those fake carburettors just glare at me. There is such a thing as TOO retro.

    5. MG V7 range

    Excellent roadbikes, no mistaking that. But apart from the MG racer (which is really trying too hard), the retro-ness is a bit watered down. Mind you, the new accessories catalog does a lot to remedy that. Yes, I know, some bikes are too retro, others not enough. Did I claim this was an objective assessment?

    6. Norton 961 Commando range

    I want one. I’d have to sell my house first, though.

    7. Indian Chief range

    Visually very heavy. Physically, too.

    NOT REALLY VERY RETRO (even if they are nice bikes otherwise)

    BMW RNineT

    That skinny back end belongs on a year 2000+ sportsbike, not on a retro.The two pots sticking out to the side are ALL the visual elements it has in common with the R90S.

    Ducati Scrambler

    Only in Italy is an 800cc 90 degree v-twin a continuation of a 250-450cc single.


    Ural and Royal Enfield

    They are not retro. They are survivors. They are the real thing. The Yamaha SR400 edges into this group as well.

    And let me throw in one more wildcard: Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe. Now there’s a bike you could load onto a trailer, hitch it to your DeLorean time machine and go riding around in 1950 without anyone raising an eyebrow.

  100. Brian says:

    V7 all the way. Where the Triumph could be mistaken for anything, the Goose oozes originality and character.

    Those needing more power should be reading a different article.

    Not on this list, the SR400 is another winner for the category.

  101. Provologna says:

    R9T, by huge margin. Black, baby, black.

  102. Grover says:

    V7 is very slow with those antique “flat” heads. Time to upgrade to modern 4-valve heads producing at least 70 hp. That would be the bike to own.

  103. Jesús Garza says:

    I own a modified Bonneville SE. A nice bike. From what I have read, the new Ducati Scrambler is a much better bike. Can’t wait to see one. I think Harleys and their ilk are also retro. So the new Indian Scout looks like a winner in my eyes.

  104. Martin says:

    I’m a superbike guy for the most part, but in this segment, I would be choosing between the Bonneville or a new Ducati Scrambler.

  105. WSHart says:

    A friend once said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but love is blind.

    I would choose the Goose for several reasons not the least of which is what I perceive to be its better looks. Point – Subjective.

    The gas tank is bigger. Point – Objective.

    The bike has shaft drive. Point -Sub/Objective.

    It now comes (supposedly for 2015) standard with a new six speed transmission, ABS and traction control. Point – Objective.

    I like the way the bike looks and sounds better than I do the Bonnie. Point – Subjective.

    And I do wish they both had dual discs up front. {oint – Lost on Triumph/Guzzi.
    Make mine a goose, thank you.

  106. Tony says:

    Hands down the three most beautiful and functional modern retro bikes are the 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Special in Red/White, the 2013 Triumph T100 in Red/White, and finally the 2014 Triumph Scrambler in Red/Silver. Any one of these (3) bikes is an instant classic, as well as a long-term “keeper”!

  107. Starmag says:

    1. CB1100

    2. Bonneville SE(tank is a bit large looking, 55HP too wimpy)

    3. V7 (weird shapes in tank sides, 45HP even more wimpy)

    4. R9T (unbalanced large tank/small seat, ugly engine)

    5. Ducati Scrambler (weird seat, swing arm, and fender shapes)

    6. Yamaha SR400 (OK style but too small and gutless)

    7. RE Bullet/Ural (TOO retro, though the RE cafe is beautiful but too small and gutless)

    A couple day dreams:

    Not selling my red 2004 ZRX1200R/silver 1982 CB900f Supersport for any of these though.

  108. Aaron says:

    Any of the CB1100 models, but the 2014 DLX with spoked wheels (not available in the US) is probably the prettiest. I am partial to my 2013, though.

  109. Dale says:

    As a Thruxton owner, my vote goes with the….

  110. Bill Wolk says:

    Just saw the Triumph Thruxton Ace Cafe at the Miami motorcycle show and it’s a great looking retro:—$10,19. Also a big fan of the BMW R nine T and the Guzzi V7 racer.

    If I had to buy just one, it would be a tough choice between the Thruxton – which looks great but weight a ton — and the Beemer, which is state of the art but costs a mint!

    • Tommy D says:

      Saw the Ace at the winter motorcycle show in Bosotn. It was a stunner. Even my girl friend commented on how great it looked. Classy paint and decals really pushed that bike to the top of my list.

  111. VLJ says:

    Between those two, the Bonnie wins. The V7 Racer would be the best MG to use for this comparo, just as the T100 Bonneville would be the most nostalgic offering from Triumph. The R-Nine-T or whatever it’s called, that’s probably the best-looking bike of the lot, but it isn’t really ‘retro’ since it doesn’t much resemble the R90S or any other old BMW model. Otherwise, the CB1100 Deluxe is nearly spot-on. Ditch the dreaded tank seams for a proper smooth finish, and that’s a perfectly styled air-cooled UJM. As exquisitely detailed as it appears to be in the glossy pictures, the CB1100 Deluxe is even more convincing in the flesh.

  112. Bill Barnier says:

    I own a 2013 T100 Bonneville. Cranberry Red and White. Best looking retro by far.

  113. Rich says:

    Having just seen most of the new bikes this weekend, it has to be the BMW R9T. I looked at the new Ducati Scrambler, the Triumph Bonneville, the Honda CB1100, and more. The R9T is exquisite compared to the rest. The detailing is amazing for a production bike. I really wanted to like the Honda – I’m a big fan – but the BMW is just stunning.

  114. Matt says:

    Honda CB1100 gets my vote. I would have voted for the CB1100 DLX, but the dual exhausts make it too symmetrical.

  115. ZenRider says:

    The Ducati 1000 GT was the best looking new retro bike until the BMW R9T came out (seat cowl and Akra pipe look better than stock).

    Between the Guzxi and Bonnie I think the Guzxi looks better but both bikes bore me frankly.

  116. Montana says:

    Great way to do some free market research.
    I’m my biased opinion, the best looking, mass-produced bike of all time is the Norton Interstate. I find the shape and size of the Interstate tank much more pleasing than the Commando.
    I’d love to see a technically modern version true to the original’s aesthetics at about 425 lbs., 65 HP, and high torque down low.

  117. oldridertom says:

    I’ve owned an ’03 T100 and a W650. I liked the T100 but loved the W650. The only bikes I think look better are any of the V7’s. They have a simplicity of design yet look like a motorcycle should.

  118. mickey says:

    I owned a 2003 T100, and test rode a Moto Guzzi Breva before buying the Triumph, but currently own a CB1100 DLX which is a far better machine than the other two. Better looking IMO, more horsepower(nearly twice as much as compared to the Guzzi), 6 speed transmission, hydraulic clutch, dual disc front brakes with standard ABS, larger capacity fuel tank, more complete instrumentation, larger dealer network, and yes it costs a bit more but not by that much. I really enjoyed the Triumph for 20,000 miles but some of it’s styling cues were just off, fuel tank too bloated, pipes with improper curve at front and kink in back, improperly shaped mufflers. Still I’d rate the Triumph as the second best retro. I think the Guzzi V7 is tied for third with the W800 Kawasaki.

    The CB1100 is often compared to the BMW9T and the Guzzi Griso, neither of which I consider a retro as neither resembles anything from the mfgs past.

    For the spoke lovers, Honda makes the CB1100EX which unfortunately is available only over seas.

    • mickey says:

      Forgot to mention centerstand is standard on the CB 1100 something I had to pay $250 extra for on my Triumph. And BTW even with the $420 accessory Triumph Off Road Mufflers which I bought, the T100 still didn’t sound like a proper Bonneville.

  119. Ed Chambers says:

    Always had a soft spot for the Bonneville, the Guzzi’s a good looking bike for sure but in my eye’s the Boni’s it.And I also think the bonnie’s a better bike overall but we’re just talking looks.Agree the spokes would look better and of course be more “retro” but if I had to ride it every day I’d take the cast wheels, I hate cleaning spoke wheels.

  120. paul246 says:

    I much prefer the Triumph, but wouldn’t the Bonneville T100 be a better example?

  121. Larry C says:

    The Triumph T100, which was not pictured and should be considered over the (now) standard Bonneville get’s my vote. The chromed cases, 19″ wire spoked front wheel and premium instrumentation make for a far prettier (IMO) bike. I have a first year 01′ Bonneville that actually lis styled like the T100 (which was released a year or two later) except it has no tach. It’s seen many miles and has a few nicks but it’s still a beauty. It just looks like a motorcycle should.
    That said, I absolutely love the look of the Guzzi and think it’s a great looking machine. Oh, and then there’s the Thruxton and………

  122. loggerjack says:

    I am buying a Bonneville this spring, it is the better bike. I really like the look and size of the V7 but it has several issues. It shakes to much, Quality control of electrical components is to low, low on power, way to much money for what you are getting. I am 61 years old and have been riding since 1964 and currently own 14 motorcycles.

    • Larry C says:

      Loggerjack – Go for it. It’s a gentlemen’s bike that’s a pleasure to ride. 83,00 miles later my bike still runs like a champ. All my service has just been replacing the parts that wear out. When I first bought it there were maybe ten accessories available. Now there’s a whole world of performance mods and pretty things to be had. Start with suspension.

  123. TimU says:

    Honda CB-1100 would get my vote, but…. If I had to vote for one of these two, it would be the Guzzi.

  124. Randy says:

    Personally I don’t think any bikes with cast wheels should be on the ballot. Both these bikes are available with spokes and look better for it. (I didn’t say spokes were better, I said spokes LOOK better on retro bikes). In this case I have to go with the Triumph. The tank styling has always nailed it for the Bonnie. I don’t care that the naysayers are calling for updates to the Bonnie, Bloor should continue it as is. As much as I have a soft spot for Guzzis, MG would be allowed to evolve by their customers and the Bonnie would not be allowed to evolve by its customers. I think that proves my point.
    The purists demand something specific in their retro bikes and Triumph supplies it. And..well…that’s why I bought one.

  125. Vic F. says:

    I’m guessing the MG will get twice the votes of the Triumph.

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