Retro-style motorcycles combine best of old, new


The Honda CB1100 looks like a motorcycle from decades ago, but it's brand new. The same goes for the Triumph Bonneville and the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone.

These new bikes look like old ones, recalling a time of great performance and styling in the evolution of motorcycles but skipping the downsides.

"You can't beat modern technology. You want something that's going to start, always run and not leak gas everywhere," said vintage motorcycle expert Kurt Winter.

The Honda in particular pays tribute to the original Honda 750, which came out in 1969 and became a turning point in how Japanese motorcycles were viewed.

"I would say that all modern bikes today, the sport bikes that you see everybody racing around on, they're all loosely based on this design," said Winter.

Element after element of the new CB1100 are touches taken from the Hondas of the 1970s.

British brand Triumph made a comeback some years ago after its extinction in 1983, and the Bonneville recalls the brand's final heyday in the early '70s.

Italian motorcycle maker Moto Guzzi has evolved recently with all kinds of distinctive bikes, but the V7 shows off the company's famous V-twin engine in a true retro way.

There are two primary audiences for the retro-style bikes: those who might have had one back in the day and would like to have another, and then there are people who weren't around back in the day who love the early '70s style.

While the actual motorcycles from the '70s have become bona fide collector's items, owning them takes patience.

"They are a headache, there's no question. Plus finding somebody who really knows how to repair them, that's more and more difficult," said Winter.

These old school motorcycles have more reliable engines, suspensions and brakes that even race bikes didn't have back in the day, and of course, availability. Taking a trip down motorcycling's memory lane is now easier and more fun thanks to two-wheeled machines that combine the best of old and new.

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