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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

What am I Missing? Has Motorcycle Design Come Full Circle?


No, this article isn’t just an excuse to post photos of a beautiful AC Sanctuary custom. These photos, together with the photo of the Honda CB1100 at the bottom, are simply here to illustrate a point. Designs from the 60s and 70s are the hottest designs of the current market … aren’t they?

Take a look at Ducati’s popular Scrambler, as well as the custom Scrambler that previews BMW’s own expected production bike. Together with Yamaha’s interesting “retro”, the XSR700, manufacturers are banking on big sales from modern production bikes that mimic the styles of the standard motorcycles (both UJM and European) that predominated 40 years ago.

There is nothing new here spawned by the aesthetic surrounding the youthful “hipster” movement. These are designs that have been appreciated by older riders for quite some time … including those who clamored for the importation of Honda’s CB1100 several years ago.

I’m not sure what all this means, but if the manufacturers can bring younger riders into the sport, let the younger riders take the credit for the designs that are drawing them. We know differently, however.





  1. nickst4 says:

    It always amuses me the way you predominantly-US riders use the term UJM! To my recollection, it was coined as a derogatory name for the identical soul-less four-cylinder bikes that came from the Orient: efficient but lacking in character. To my mind, that still holds good. Make mine a twin, from anywhere!

    Nick, UK

  2. kjazz says:

    Lord have mercy !!! That KZ is the stuff….. !!!

  3. matt says:

    Just please bring back the CB900F B’oldor. Just saying… AKA the CB1100R prototype they showed the same time this ‘retro’ CB1100 did the fashion show rounds.

  4. Noah Key says:

    YOU – JAY – EMM!!!!
    YOU – JAY – EMM!!!!
    YOU – JAY – EMM!!!!

  5. Mike says:

    Good article….good comments

    As a rider that rode most of the bikes way back then that are showing up today as new retros….count me in big time for this trend.

    My view is any retro new bike has to perform and have the looks to back it up in order to attract riders across all the age ranges in my view….you know, pretty much the criteria all of us old guys now used in buying them back then!

    Related to the bikes featured in the pictures it is a Yea to the Kawasaki….Nay to the Honda using these criteria ….. again noting the Honda is a production bike and the Kawasaki a custom.

    We all understand Honda building a four cylinder retro…but present with other manufacturers and missing with Honda it seems to me is is the will win, be the best and dominate the market segment that Soïchiro Honda and engineers like Shoichiro Irimajiri demanded.

    Maybe a Honda retro like in the link below…. or a V5 variant

    • NRHRetro says:

      Nay to the Honda using this criteria???? I assume that you are refering to the so-called lack of performance? The 11.7 quarter mile time attributed to the Honda by another publication would make the Honda the fastest bike around in the late ’70s. This is not a super sport, it was never meant to be, but that is not a slow time, considering it is already on the speed limiter before the quarter is over.

      Have you ridden the Honda? I doubt it, if you had you would know that its a very well executed design. It handles well, has plenty of torque all across the range, is smooth, comfortable, is absolutely the best looking of all of the retros.

      I own one, and I was there in the ’70s with the H-2, CB-750, Z-1, XS-11, all of the superbikes of the day, the current CB-1100 is quicker, faster (with a cpu flash to remove the limiters), smoother, and all around better than any of them.

      If you have a beef with Honda, that is your business, but you clearly do not know the CB-1100.


      A proud CB-1100 owner.

      • RD350 says:

        I think he was suggesting that the Honda was lacking in the looks department especially compared to the outrageous Kawasaki. It does look bland. And that is a shame because we all know that with a few simple mods these CB1100s can look awesome. Honda really seem to have their heads in the sand these days when it comes to producing attractive and desirable production motorcycles. If this retro was styled like a ’69 4 piper in original blue or gold or like a Hailwood era road racer it would have captured the nostalgia wave and sold really well imo.

        Instead they played it safe, styling the bike like something from the 80s, and almost completely missing the intended audience. If it doesnt have outright performance then it should at least look dead sexy. Instead its another finish it yourself bike. Why don’t they give the people what they want?

      • Mike says:

        To NRHRetro

        You assumed way tooooo much in your reply which unfortunately did not address accurately much…if anything I actually stated. Reading comprehension ….I also have issues with that all too often here.

        Issue 1 – You stated: “The 11.7 quarter mile time attributed to the Honda by another publication would make the new Honda 1100f the fastest bike around in the late ’70s.” My reply: Incorrect ….and the ole 1983 1100f was also faster in the quarter mile 32 years ago!

        Issue 2 – You stated: I assume that you are refering to the so-called lack of performance? My reply: I was actually referring to the lackluster and boring styling …..admit I did not make that clear!

        Issue 3 – You description Hondas new 1100f fits most bikes on the market today and especially the too numerous “cookie cutter” designs…..just another reason I really “do not want to know the new CB-1100f”

        Need more…….Matt and RD350 have provided far better responses to your post than I ever could…..but I tried my best.

        We are all proud of the bikes we own….and most of those we have owned in the past. We do agree on that for sure.

        Thank you for your reply.

  6. Aussie M says:

    It is not about loving the look of the old bikes. It is about loving and living or re-living the era in which they were produced. Some older riders may still think that these were the best looking bikes ever made but to most of us they look old and out of date, which is exactly the look the younger generation are going for. It is the modern form of rebellion. They are saying to the older generation (my generation) “You had it good but you stuffed it up.” Then, of course, they will proceed to stuff things up in their own way and their offspring will find some new way to rebel. And so, retro bikes have become fashionable and many more people have joined in just because it is the current fashion without understanding how it became that way. Manufacturers are happy to produce anything that will sell profitably so now there are plenty of retro bikes to choose from.

  7. Mr.Mike says:

    Death to gratuitous use of plastic.

  8. silentmajority55 says:

    To those asking why younger riders are liking “retro” styles I may suggest that they simply are BEAUTIFUL, clean designs. I am 59 and started riding at age 15-16 (1970 or so) My first riding was on a 1966, pressed frame Honda Dream. I thought, at the time, that was the height of design. I still looked clunky to me, even though I had never noticed a motorcycle in my life up to that point. Then about a year later I looked at a motorcycle approaching my school parking lot that blew me away!! It was a gold new 1969 Honda CB750. That machine might as well have come from outer space as Japan! It looked so different and modern and HUGE compared to the stuff I was learning on. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. It was an epiphany for me. Beautiful design is beautiful design and I think it is ageless and that appeals to all ages and generations.

    • GFW52 says:

      Was that a RED 1966 Dream?! Mine first ride was! $300 used. Wasn’t that thrilled about the style but hey, freedom… Sold that when I went to university, and on graduation rewarded myself with the real deal, a brand new 1976 KZ900. That was amazing, and scary. That AC Sanctuary custom looks so good, and I can only imagine how much better it handles.

      • GFW52 says:

        ps $300 was about how much I earned at my full-time summer job that year…worth it!

  9. Max Frisson says:

    I’m 60, I’ve been riding for over 40 years. I have owned some seriously exotic street bikes including a Bimota SB6R, the first 916 and two MV Agustas. Know what I bought last month? A clean, low miles 2002 Kawasaki ZRX1200R in bright green. I took what I would have paid as a down payment and paid cash and bought a year’s worth of insurance too. The bike will run with most superbikes on the street and it’s darn comfortable too.

  10. Simon Evans says:

    For me there is an intrinsic difference to owning a retro or roadster, versus a sportbike:

    I have never wafted a sportsbike, on a lovely summers day, down a country back lane, well within the speed limit, whistling country tunes. They just wont lend themselves to anything other than Car! Attack! Bike! Overtake! MuHaHaa! crapocity.

    While one can tour on anything, try touring a standard or retro and you come to realise that it’s about the `me love you loooong time` fun of the ride, not merely the shortest time between two points in berserker mode. Regular stops on retros are to take in the magnificent view, rather than get the crick out of your back.
    Two very different riding experiences on the same tarmac.

    The fun comes when you encounter a spurtbike ditherer on your Grandad Carriage… and stuff `em. Oops, perhaps not quite `Totally Retro` after all. If you overtake me on your sportbike, what do you expect? You’ve got 100 hp more than me. I overtake YOU on my gentlemans conveyance, I am a superior human being with greater riding skills than you will ever possess.


    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I have never wafted a sportsbike”

      should give it a try, the smell of race fuel has no equal.

  11. Nuck Chorris says:

    Design of every type always goes through cycles. In machines it’s always “futuristic” vs. “retro”, and those two options have always been around. A few years ago, MotoGuzzi made a very successful line of retro machines. Cruises have ventured in some daring designs, always to return to the classic look.
    In the sport and super sport category, the look usually comes from racing, and in racing form follows function.
    But as you get older, you are no longer under any illusions that you are riding a racing bike every day to work, so the racing look is no longer needed. So you can go for something in between or look back to a design which speaks to you emotionally. I’m not surprised at all.

    • RD350 says:


      You and several others here make some valid points about the perennial appeal of retros to older riders. Part of the question posed however is what is the appeal of retro or classic design to new riders or younger riders? Why are these classic styles being embraced by fashion conscious urban types the world over?

      I posited below that this interest for young folks is not about comfort or practicality as many here are arguing but that it is instead about an appreciation for good design and timeless style and a rejection of current modernist styling trends which tend toward space creatures, insects, hard origami shapes and a hangover of streetfighter fashion which is evident in the headlight shapes of most current naked bikes like the fugly FZ-09.

      Few if any here have tackled the original question … are young folks driving some or a lot of the current interest in all things old? If so, why now? And its not just retro UJMs, its cafes, scramblers, street trackers, bobbers, brat style etc. Is it all just fashion? Or is it a Renaissance of interest in motorbikes by a new generation of enthusiasts? I hope its the later …

      • mickey says:

        RD over on the CB 1100 board we have quite a few younger riders, maybe 20% of the membership, and they often state “this is the kind of bike my dad had when I was growing up and I always liked the looks of them”.

        • mickey says:

          Just went and looked it up. Out of 500 responders in the age poll
          16-25 yo 19
          26-35 yo 64
          36-45 yo 76
          46-55 yo 155
          56-65 yo 150
          66-75 yo 36
          75 + yo 5

          so about 18% were not alive when the original bikes were produced in the late 60’s early 70’s

          • RD350 says:

            That’s interesting Mick. So for them its a connection to their dads and thier own youthful bike dreams. That makes sense. Do they seem interested in classic bikes in general or just specifically the CB1100 because it resembles dads old CB750 or whatever?

            Still, I wonder how many 20-somethings had dads that had 1960s-70s Ducati Scramblers in their garages? Or any form of classic cafe racer? Probably very few ..
            So I still wonder what accounts for the popularity of styles that most young folks never knew growing up.

          • mickey says:

            RD they go gaga over any of the old classics..RDs, Buffalos, CB’s, KZ’s Bonnies, ZRX’s any old bike really. Many are guys who have/had the new Bonnies, or 750 Nighthawks and wanted to step up to more performance and brakes while retaining the classic style. Anything with dual shocks and dual round analog gauges, and with the motor showing.

      • dman says:

        My daughter is 22 and recently bought a bike (her first motor vehicle). It’s a Honda CL175 sloper, pre-1970 . That was slightly old technology even when I started riding in 1974 and 30 years older than anything she’s seen me own. I think she likes the old bike for its style and image, but sometimes she wouldn’t mind if parts were more readily available!

        • RD350 says:

          CL175 slopers are rare .. one year only I believe. Your daughter has good taste. Those are sought after by the F-160 class racers for the 5-speed bottom end which will accept the 160 top end. When she gets ready to move up, market it to the Group W vintage road race crowd. PS .. I used to have a really nice CB160 Sport!! Loved it.

      • Mike says:

        Reply to RD350 and Nuck

        Young people are not the moving force for the new retros in my view. Just one reason….if they were, one of the greatest retros (Kawasaki ZRX 1100/1200) would still be available at dealers in America instead of arriving here in 1998 or so and departing seven years or so later. Additionally for everyone to consider….just how many emails do you think Ducati got from young or any buyers for that matter …..specifically wanting a retro scrambler

        I think the new retro trend is not age driven, but manufacturer driven as simply another path to additional sales. Some companies excel at offering bikes that fit the “new retro” market…… Ducati especially…..along with Triumph, Moto Guzzi, HD and Victory and Indian for example.

        Not saying I am right on this…but I hope you consider this a possible answer to your accurate comment >>>>> “Few if any here have tackled the original question … are young folks driving some or a lot of the current interest in all things old? If so, why now? And its not just retro UJMs, its cafes, scramblers, street trackers, bobbers, brat style etc. Is it all just fashion? Or is it a Renaissance of interest in motorbikes by a new generation of enthusiasts? I hope its the later” …<<<<<

        As far as the new Honda 1100f….so many neat Honda retros have been featured here….designs by Honda that would have appealed to ole timers and also young/new riders….you said it and I agree “Honda really seem to have their heads in the sand these days when it comes to producing attractive and desirable production motorcycles.”

        Thank you for your comments

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “Few if any here have tackled the original question … are young folks driving some or a lot of the current interest in all things old? If so, why now? And its not just retro UJMs, its cafes, scramblers, street trackers, bobbers, brat style etc. Is it all just fashion? Or is it a Renaissance of interest in motorbikes by a new generation of enthusiasts? I hope its the later …”

        I think young people are definitely driving some of it, but one of the great things about retro bikes for manufacturers is that retros are appealing to a large audience, young and old. I don’t really get the fashion vs. new-gen enthusiast question. Motorcycles have always had a fashion component to them. They are not hand tools. But the potential new rider shopping these machines is a person curious about or interested in motorcycles and drawn to the design of the bike. True enthusiast have an emotional connection with motorcycles, and the design is a part of that experience. And the design is dictated by function and fashion.

      • Nuck Chorris says:

        RD et all,
        It’s always a temptation to think that we live in a “special” time or a place in history where we see a renaissance of things past unlike others before. My theory is that most esthetic trends are a reaction to the current mainstream, so to your question “why now?? my answer would be: why not? It’s the way it always works in the ebb and flow of styles and designs.
        Now, I do agree even though design is subjective, some designs seem quite timeless and particularly appealing so they are bound to come back into fashion from time to time. Some are patently less attractive, but there’s always some fan of the Bathtub Triumph or the 1980 Katana.
        As far as why there seems to be a renewed interest in motorcycling among youths… Who knons? Many factors may contribute to that, including a disappointment with present times. The promise of a new millennium has fallen short of expectations and people are looking back to better times… But that’s just a theory.

  12. viktor92 says:

    That z900 is beautiful and with great parts (and bring to me a lot of memories), but with that handlebar and without a minimal fairing, it’s a city bike. For me the pinnacle of design was in the ’90. I’m a happy owner of a Zx11 D that has lines more fluid and logical that almost all new faired bikes, and despite it has 20 years, almost all people believe that it’s a much newer bike.

  13. Tim says:

    Please forward this request…
    Dear Honda,
    Make a completely modern CBX.
    Using engine parts from the CBR600rr, make a six cylinder 16,000 rpm redline CBX900 with a central cam chain – so both the left and right sides of the engine look equal.
    Slant the cylinders forward at about 35-40 degrees.
    Paint the engine black and chrome the exhaust pipes. Let the exhaust pipes be prominently visible by supplementing the main radiator with a small secondary radiator under the lower front end of the swingarm or behind the headlight, like on the ’84 VF1000.
    Add fully adjustable fork, swingarm and brake components that match your sport bike products.
    Put a realistic size gas tank on top of the engine – 5.8 to 6.3 gallons (22-24 liters).
    Deleting the fairing that comes standard on a sportbike should offset the cost of the two extra cylinders so that the price will be comparable to a CBR1000rr.
    Thanks – from a patient owner of four Honda motorcycles.

    Dear MotorcycleDaily,

    I do not expect them to take notice of this request since American Honda does not seem to make bikes that appeal to their previous customers(me). After all, they made a VFR without gear driven cams! Historically, all their “Retro Standard” bikes are “wimpified” for Melvin Milquetoast consumers – Heavier, slower, and worse handling compared to their sport bikes.
    Two examples are the ’94 CB1000 “Big One” and the 2011-2015 CB1100 electronically speed limited to 112 mph (180kph).
    Why would I want to purchase that?
    The market for Retro Standards is strong because the manufacturers do not sell enough Retro style vehicles with updated suspension, handling and performance.
    My only recourse is to support the motorcycle products aftermarket and create my own dream bike.

    • mickey says:

      “and the 2011-2015 CB1100 electronically speed limited to 112 mph (180kph).
      Why would I want to purchase that?”

      Well a reflashed CB1100 will run 135 mph, but you are missing the whole point of the’s not about top speed. No matter what you do to it there will be dozens of motorcycles that will be faster.

      BTW ALL motorcycles are electronically speed limited …. except for MV

      • mickey says:

        Surprisingly a reflashed CB1100 is faster than an unflashed FZ09 (which is electronically limited to 132 mph)

    • stinkywheels says:

      I’m with you. Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to not buy one of the new bikes. I really liked the CB but it’s a pooch. Heavy, cheap suspenders, motor tuned to ridiculously low standards, tiny gas tank, un cheap price. They did prove you can still get an air cooled bike into the US. I’d think about a CB, Bandit or ZRX (air cooled this time) but to make my willie tingle I’d have to spend upwards of 2K to right it. I can buy back my old GS1100 and throw 2K at it and have a better bike.

      • mickey says:

        Yea, no you won’t. You might have a FASTER bike, but it won’t have triple discs with ABS, fuel injection, 6 speed transmission, hydraulic clutch etc etc. I had an 83 GS1100E and although a great bike for it’s time the new CB is better in every measurable way by a bunch.

    • Mike says:

      Tim…..I like your request to Honda…..feel your pain…but for many reasons Honda has a predictable recent history of not doing exactly what you/many of us want….by intent in my view….. because as we all know little is beyond the companies capability.

      The new 1100f is the crowning jewel in Hondas seemingly mandated and constant march for the last 15 years or so to their goal of producing the most mundane and boring street bike during this time frame.

      The company that made the CBX, ole 1100F, Interceptor, Turbo 500/650s and many other thrilling and market segment winning bikes sadly is long gone ….replaced by Honda the car company.

      Ohhhh…. to have Mr. Honda back in charge of the company for just a couple of years!!!!

  14. Artem_T says:

    Even those things are beautiful…

  15. Ken says:

    Even the auto makers are going down this path to let the baby boomers relive thief youth. Say Mustang, Vett, Challenger.
    Honda bring back the Mini Trail. 50!
    I want one for the grand kids.

  16. silentmajority55 says:

    I am restoring a black 78 Suzuki GS1000. I believe what was so appealing about those “naked” bikes of the past is that the engine was the centerpiece. Having those beautiful, chromed pipes coming down from the cylinders accentuates the rest of the bike’s lines. Bikes today put no emphasis on the motor, in fact it’s de ri·gueur to cover it up with plastic. Exposed engines gave the look of power and speed. Today, to compensate the power and speed must be expressed in plastic and graphics.
    The Yamaha XJR1300 is a bike that is modern enough but looks fantastic, especially the custom modded version now on sale in Europe. It looks powerful parked on a street corner. Let’s hope manufacturers can meld today’s technology and safety with old-school looks into our future bikes. In the mean time I’ll upgrade my “classic” with new wheels, tires and brakes but no much else and enjoy the appreciative looks and comments.

    • Scotty says:

      Todays engines give the reality of power and speed!! 🙂

      • silentmajority55 says:

        True, true. Having owned a new 2002 Hayabusa, power isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Can’t really use all it on public roads anyway. I have a big-bore kit on the GS that I think will deliver power more than sufficient go juice for my needs, especially for the period-limited handling ;). But it will look nice when done!

    • cyclemotorist says:

      I’m with you! They are “motor” cycles after all. I had a 78 GS1000 I bought new in 78.

  17. Jeremy in TX says:

    Plastic-wrapped bikes were all the rage when I was in my teens and early twenties during the 1990s, but we still had Kawasaki Zephyrs, GB500s, ZRXs. Heck, ANY naked, air-cooled bike looked like it was reaching into the past back then. Then with the turn of the century came the W650, Bonnies, V7s and so on. The aesthetic simply never really went away, at least as long as I have been into motorcycles. There is a timeless quality to a minimalist motorcycle designs with simple lines and features that can be appreciated by all age groups.

    I think a lot of people, myself included, have just grown tired of excess. Bikes are more exciting and advanced (and expensive) than they have ever been before, and yet that XSR700 looks more refreshing to me than a 175hp Tuono. (Gosh, I never thought I would say that.) Since excess doesn’t seem to be so much a part of the culture of the newest generations reaching adulthood, I am not the least bit surprised that they are drawn to these minimalist designs.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I think a lot of people, myself included, have just grown tired of excess.”

      foolishly I once thought that…

      then kawi hit me over the head with the H2R.

  18. RD350 says:

    The current popularity of retro design and the current acceptance of UJMs and naked bikes are 2 different things. Yes there is some cross-over between the 2, but the notion that young people (or anyone) are drawn to retro style primarily because those designs are more comfortable or practical is missing the point.

    People are drawn to retro or classic style because it still looks good … especially when compared to many modern bikes which are horribly styled. Good design is timeless! And timeless design always rises back to the top eventually … and remains there. The age of the rider matters not. All that matters is that they have good taste.

  19. George says:

    FZ09 is the best example of UJM ever made.

    It is inexpensive, great performance and reliable. Can be adjusted to be anything from a hard edged sportbike to an adventure bike with very few tweaks.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I can’t argue with that. For a pretty paltry sum, you get a potent engine, stout frame and enough money left over to make the bike into whatever you want. Well, except a bike with a decent range or ABS. Have to spend your leftover money on an FJ-09 upgrade in that case.

      • Blackcayman says:

        I rode both the FZ-09 via the Yamaha Demo truck recently. That triple is a real gem of a motor!

        at 51 years old, I like the look of the CB1100 better, but I still care too much about the fun factor so the Yamaha would win me over.

        If I was moving to a 3 bike solution however…

        • Blackcayman says:

          I would love an edit button

        • George says:

          I’m 51 as well and the CB1100 looks OK but I think they missed the mark. I have several bikes and might consider an updated version of the ’79 CB900F style in the CB1100 but they went back to the early/mid 70s and I didn’t like that style then and I sure don’t like it now. The ’79 was the best looking naked CB style Honda ever made.

          • George says:

            I am more inclined to find a ’79 CB900-’83 CB1100 bike and then update it with better carbs, exhaust, wheels, suspension rather than buy the new CB1100. Maybe a clean Fast Freddie Replica bike, I could go for that!

    • Gary says:

      I thought those FZ09s had poor fuel injection, causing lean running and surging. Did they fix that? Also … don’t they have teeny tiny fuel cells?

      • George says:

        Fuel tank is 3.8 gallons and that is good for about 150-160 miles. It is not huge but for most people that is plenty.

        Fueling has been mostly fixed by Yamaha and a recall reflash on the 2014 bikes to install the fuel maps used in the 2015 bikes.

        There was no surging that I ever heard of.

        I am 17k miles into my FZ09 and enjoy it more every time I ride – which is about every day.

  20. Gary says:

    I can tell you exactly what it means. A big increase in popularity of so-called “adventure sport” motorcycles has led to some epiphanies among riders: 1) “Adventure sport” bikes are really road bikes made to look they might be able to go just about anywhere, and 2) You don’t have to tie yourself into a pretzel knot to enjoy riding a high-performance bike. Old timers like me were raised on big, comfortable, fast bikes, and we’ve been waiting patiently for people to realize how miserable modern sportbikes are for everyday riding. So bring on the standards and the high-performing “adventure sports.” Life is good.

  21. takehikes says:

    The less insect looking, less beaks and less plastic tacked on the better the bikes will look. Look at those side covers on the KZ….sexy and simple.

  22. Grover says:

    You can pour $10,000 into an old KZ or walk into a dealership and buy a Kawasaki 1000 and get 10X the bike. Just say’in.

    • Blackcayman says:

      everyone knows that, and yet there’s no denying the point of the article.

      What it looks like “IS” important. Heritage of design is important, especially if one is searching for authenticity / legitimacy.

      What’s old is new again.

      and you thought HD was the only one making bikes that harken back to bikes of the past…

  23. John says:

    As nice-looking as the latest cycle of neo-standards are, I’d say that ADV bikes are really the new “do everything” motorcycles. As long as you have enough inseam, that is!

  24. beasty says:

    Except for the rearsets, that Kaw is nice. If you’re gonna make a “retro”, put the pegs where they oughta be.

  25. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I don’t mind the retro look, just as long as it doesn’t go overboard.
    If the bike seems to me to exist solely to attract via it’s styling, I’d probably pass on it.

    By the way, as nice as that KZ looks, I remember a time when it was just a decade-old street bike worth not much.
    Funny how time changes perceived value of material things.

  26. The Spaceman says:

    I bought the first CB1100 sold in Broward County for reasons I cannot explain. And I truly loved it, especially gazing at it resting in its glory in my garage. Three weeks ago I traded it for an FJ-09 because as gorgeous as it was, trying to ride it more than 100 miles was no fun at all. 80 hp wasn’t much fun either.

    As strange as it sounds, today, UJMs are actually a specialty bike. In the era of 8-lane Interstates and 80+ moh traffic, the FJ is a far more versatile, “universal” bike than an air-cooled retro naked.

    • Blackcayman says:

      I just recently helped a 60 year old friend off of a HD V-Rod and onto an FZ-09.

      He can’t stop telling me how much “FUN” he is having. He loved the V-Rod for a multitude of reasons, none of which were having fun while riding. The V-Rod was up for sale the next day.

    • Don says:

      Spaceman – very interesting comment on just what the “universal” bike of today actually is and why the bike we traditionally picture when hearing “universal motorcycle” is no longer it.

      • Scotty says:

        I just avoid 80mph traffic on my Guzzi 750. Its not huge fun, wheras the backroads and twisty roads are lots of fun. Yes there are times I would like to “crush” a motorway like a K16000 would do, or even an FJ 09, but to me they are just “transport sections”.

  27. Gham says:

    While I enjoy riding an original UJM (CB900F) I realize the limitations of a retro craze.I would love to have a newer model with relaxed ergo’s,decent brakes and would except modern tires but…I’m not about to go plunk down 10-11K just to have new one.Most guys like me would wait for one to show up on the used market with low miles then grab it.

  28. todd says:

    These sort of bikes (“nakeds” or “standards”) have been available all along. They just get brushed aside by the regular press. I doubt young kids are interested in any of these at all. Most kids could care less about motorcycles and the ones that have shown some interest in them to me think there are only Ninjas and Harleys. No, retro bikes are styled to spark nostalgia in the remaining geezer market. The whole Hipster thing of “kids” going after stuff their fathers enjoyed are just what we used to call “30-somethings”, trying hard to disassociate themselves from “kids” by portraying a character that is older, more wiser than they really are.

    Most kids I know either think electric bikes are the future or self-driving cars. That or their nanny parents have already brainwashed them into thinking motorcycles are too dangerous. You know, because Danger is set hung everyone is trying to avoid nowadays. Heck, they even outlaws Tom and Jerry!

  29. robert says:

    John I think you just showed your age the CB1100 is styled like the bikes of the 60’s in my early day’s they all had twin shocks

  30. John says:

    And I am not going to buy a bike with two rear shocks. Sorry, that boat has sailed. I’ve never owned a street bike with twin shocks, not going to start now.

    • todd says:

      Don’t start kidding yourself that you’re good enough to exploit the theoretical benefits.

    • Curly says:

      At real (think reasonable) street speeds, twin shocks and conventional forks are just fine. USD forks and monoshocks are better at modern bike track speeds but you don’t need them to be fast. Take in an AHRMA race and see for yourself. If you think you’re at race speed on the street your kidding yourself.

  31. John says:

    I don’t do nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. The XSR700 is a brilliant, if controversial looking bike, as is the Ducati Scrambler. You can take the best of classic design and merge it. But most of these don’t do it for me. Many are just too big. When this look was minted, a big bike was a 750. There’s no need for an 1100cc styling exercise. My only beef with the ZRX was only that the engine was just way to unnecessarily large for a very compact and comfortable bike. Plus in line fours just seem so…..trite. I’d much rather have a twin or a triple. I’d say bring back something like the CX650, but there’s no need, Moto Guzzi never stopped making it. A Honda VT Ascot or Sabre, a CB900F would be cool. Yamaha needs to make a new DT1 scrambler. But they should be practical bikes and reasonable prices.

    • John says:

      Why is this awaiting moderation?!?

      • MGNorge says:

        I’m guessing here but the “Awaiting Moderation” stamp seems to be arbitrary and automatic. Don’t take it personally.

        • mickey says:

          ” Awaiting Moderation” has nothing to do with the content of the posts. My posts have been under “Awaiting Moderation” so many times I thought they were picking on me until I read other posters complaining about it. Crazy how often it happens.

          • Norm G. says:

            just go with it.

          • Mike says:

            We all like it here….or we would not be here.

            Not knowing what prompts the “Awaiting Moderation” or not being able to post to a topic should be known to all of us ….so we can do our best to avoid violations.

            Of course ….the “Awaiting Moderation” or not being able to post to a topic has never happened to me ….haaaaaaa

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Asshat! Won’t get moderated.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            🙂 Will get moderated.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            And if you are replying to a string where one of the comments was moderated, you have a really good chance of getting moderated.

          • Mike says:

            Mickey and Jeremey….thanks for the input and welcome news….

            All along I thought both of you were in charge of “Awaiting Moderation” and the designating the dreaded ….”not being able to post any further replies on a topic”

            Not that this ever happened to me on a topic we were having credible, interesting and valid discussions!


            Jeremy… what is an Asshat.

            Is there a club….if so…I feel I am qualified and not bragging here….over qualified

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Haha. Mike, when you see someone doing something stupid and think to yourself, “that guy should not be allowed to breed,” you have identified an asshat.

            Yeh, I think the moderation queues are mostly arbitrary. I’ve had one-liners like “Awesome!” get moderated while rather boorish comments I wish I could have taken back sail right on through.

            The only real patterns I have noticed is that I am pretty sure that every post I’ve done that has had a smiley face in it gets moderated. And like I said earlier, your chances of getting moderated seem much higher if you are replying to a thread where a previous poster was moderated or if you have already had a post of your own moderated during the same internet session.

          • Mike says:



            They are singing about me at the 1min 48 second mark….also 2min 30 second mark.

            This has to be an auto admission to the a—hat club….right?


  32. Eric W says:

    This is the Honda I’m waiting for. This is a kit available for the CB1100. [img][/img]

    • Eric W says:

      Crud. I thought the pic might show. Never mind.

    • Kent says:

      Perhaps there’s a market for comfortable “fast enough” bikes that are comfortable to ride all day?
      I’m sure that an R1 is fun, and faster than I can really comprehend without riding one.

      However, my wrists can’t deal with clipons and super low bars. My legs are long enough that my knees don’t fit the tank dents in sport bikes, and my knees don’t like being doubled over for 4 to 5 hours at a stretch.

      So, I have a 650 VStrom. It’s fast enough (it’ll hit 100 without any problem, even with camping gear and saddle bags) and it’s comfortable enough that I can ride till the tank runs low at 250 miles. My friends that I ride with all have faster bikes, but I can still easily go way too fast for the street (we have deer here) and ride with all but the “bravest” of them.

      • Blackcayman says:

        As a street legal Superbike, the R-1 is made (primarily) for 20-30 min track sessions/races. There is plenty of pit time to rest your back and wrists.

        Riding one on all day ride is for a small batch of humanity…(I give those who do all the kudos and know how much fun you are having).

        • Kent says:

          That’s what I’m saying – perhaps people want to ride for more than 20-30 minutes and we’re seeing more bikes that are comfortable and “fast enough”.

          I ride in the Bay Area, where the “riding season” is all year long. I see a huge number of ADV bikes, and a lot of them don’t see dirt. They are comfortable, tall enough to see over traffic, and have big tanks (so I can commute all week with a single fill up).

    • Geoff says:

      That….. is the bike I want. Whats with the crap we have been getting offered?????

    • Curly says:

      I don’t know about that. To me it comes off as looking like a kit bike that’s trying too hard to look exactly like the original CB750 but only manages to look not quite right. That’s the danger of copying and old style. I think it’s better to use some elements but not the whole thing.

  33. Tim says:

    The 900 Kawasaki was a great looking bike. Sleek tank and tail…this is the bike Kawasaki needs to base a factory semi-retro on. Strap a Ninja motor to it and it would sell like crazy.

  34. mickey says:

    Speaking from experience bikes like the CB1100 and other retro styles are just fun, easy to ride motorcycles that don’t demand anything from you other than to enjoy yourself. You don’t have to be able to corner like Marquez, you don’t have to launch like Gleason, you don’t have to stay in a narrow power band and you don’t have to row the gearbox like a 125 roadracer. You simply fire it up, climb on and go for a ride, no pressures. They don’t twist your body into weird shapes or angles a very relaxed riding position. Comfortable.

  35. Larry K says:

    Simply these are real-world street-bike usable designs. Repli-racers are great, owned and raced/track-dayed a bunch over the decades but just a frustrating waste on the street. For just regular street riding 75/80 hp and 400-500 lbs works just fine. And stay off my lawn.

  36. RD350 says:

    AC Sanctuary rules! If only new bikes looked like this!

  37. CB says:

    Haha. I’m with tank and while I like retro… Not sure how those spindly frames hold up to more hp and better suspension.

  38. Tank says:

    Harley has been doing this for decades.

  39. John Illias says:

    Great idea.

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