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MCN  says:

Bike chooser: Big retros

I fancy a good-looking air-cooled retro bike, what are my options? I’m looking at spending around £4-5,000 and need one that is practical as I’d like to take my wife on the back for Sunday jaunts to the seaside.James, email Suzuki GSX1400, £2,500 - £5,500The GSX is physically the biggest of the air-cooled retro bikes and is a machine with one...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (06 March 2013 16:53)

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Feb 08

Posts: 817

Andy949494 says:

Breva 1100/1200

The Breva 1100/1200 is the real bargain of the Guzzi range. Has strong grunt at low end, good quality finishing and often bought by people with paniers etc. Before the Norge it was the most touring orientated Guzzi having fairly comfortable straight bars.

The BMW R1200R  handles better and has a better top end but its not in the same price range and doesn't have the same cachet - in order to get a good BMW R1200 for 5K you need to go quite old and high mileage.


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Jun 09

Posts: 94

russ8655 says:

Magic Carpet

I've owned a GSX1400 K3 since 2008, what an awesome machine. Bags of grunt, brilliantly comfy (best pillion seat ever according to the missus), superbly reliable and a real head turner, especially in Suzuki colours. To quote the owners club “LIKE A MAGIC CARPET WITH A ROCKET UP ITS ARSE”

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Jan 11

Posts: 8637

snev says:

That black GSX1400....

Looks good...

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Feb 09

Posts: 515

May I suggest something a little older? Howzabout a Kawasaki Zephyr 1100 or similar, cheap as chips and plenty about on evilbay etc. Plus, some of the old bikes now qualify as classics, with cheaper insurance etc. Or a GS1000, Z900, CB900 - get a PROPER retro. Merely a thought. Actually, while I'm wittering, have a look at Adrenaline Motorcycles website. There's stuff they have in stock which makes me feel all funny.........


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Sep 10

Posts: 196

I am a big fan of the  big  Yamaha , had a  F.J 1200 for some time , ridden all year , just the usual  slave cylinder seals for the clutch ,apart from that  100 % reliable . Could not live without the grunt of a muscle bike , have been through most of the air cooled list  ,but ended -up back where I started with another  1200 Yam . a  X.J.R.  ! . Wanted a  later 1300  but  it came off  another old fella who had nursed it & spent a fortune upgrading  just about everything - the  brakes have to be seen to be  believed   , they belong on a missile on Bonneville Salt flats . Parts are easy to get and are interchangable  with other models , with it being a older bike the insurance with  Just  Motorcycle insurance is less than  £ 100 for the year [ I am ancient ] . So  , I find I can usually ride one for 2 - 3 years & keep them right  , and sell  while losing very little or no money , highly recommended  .

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Oct 10

Posts: 189

zoobaz says:

900 Trident ?

I had a new XJR1300, bought new on a '56 plate after Len Manchester Motorcycles in Melton stole my 750 Trident (really!). the Yam never ran right, had a huge flat-spot in the power curve just above tickover, felt cheap and built down to a price (a low price, that is...) it wouldn't start when hot and the finish was a bit poor. Having said that, it was all-day comfy.

if I was looking for another bike like this I'd forget air-cooled and go for either a Honda CB1300 or a 900 Trident. you can pick up a really nice 900 Trident for less than £2,000, use some of the spare cash to upgrade the brakes to Daytona spec (310mm floating disks and 4 pot calipers) together with Sprint or Daytona 3 spoke wheels (17" front and back) to give you a better tyre choice.

mine's also got Speed Trip (old style, 900) rear brake rod and longer gear linkage to allow the footpegs to be moved to the Sprint / Daytona positions - better for my long legs and cost about £20. plus Sprint-Sport lower clip-ons.

55K miles on the clock and no probs. it blew a bulb once, i think.

The CB1300F is also a much better prospect than the Yam, but it's not air cooled.

This is just my oppinion obviously - I've got friends with XJRs who absolutely love them, and I know people who've had Triumphs who didn't like them - fair enough!

Me, I like to be able to tinker a bit and change a bike so it suits me. I love the way the bars and pegs are so easy (cheap!) to adjust on the older Triumphs :)





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Apr 12

Posts: 320

DazLoczy says:


It may not set the world alight as far as performance but it definitely meets the brief "I fancy a good-looking air-cooled retro bike, what are my options? I’m looking at spending around £4-5,000 and need one that is practical as I’d like to take my wife on the back for Sunday jaunts to the seaside." *Good-looking? Yep better finish than a Triumph Bonnie arguably more authentic retro too. *£4-5k 2nd hand bikes just coming on the market in this price bracket. *Practical? If you don't mind looking after it (lots of polishing) yep, and economical to boot. Handles well two-up provided both of you don't like to pig out on large fish, chips, mushy peas each three times a day when you get to the seaside. Definitely turns heads and sparks up conversations. How could you miss this MCN?

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Oct 10

Posts: 189

zoobaz says:

ZRX1200 ??

OK, so it isn't air cooled either but the ZRX is a good prospect too. there was one on MCN a couple of weeks ago with ZX10R wheels and brakes - sounds like a good mix!

I like the W800 but i wouldn't say the finish is better than the bonnie - as good as, but no better?

anyone else here? or am I the only saddo still on this chain....



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