Triumph’s Bonnie isn’t the only master of its own history.
Ducati Sport 1000 (2005-2008)
Now widely considered a bike before its time. Ducati’s short-lived Sport Classics were killed off before retro fashion caught on and as a result are only now, ironically, in huge demand. Three original models are all DS1000-powered and styled, exquisitely, by Pierre Terblanche. Öhlins and half fairing-equipped Paul Smart replica is the ultimate, fetching well into five figures. The pillion-friendly and practical GT1000 is less exciting but more affordable leaving the unfaired Sport as the tastiest of the bunch.
What you’ll pay today £6-£7k for a decent GT, £9000 for a good, original Sport but watch out for later Bipostos at silly money.
But should you? Classic Ducatis, great fun, bang ‘on- trend’ and unlikely to depreciate, so yes, definitely.
Royal Enfield Bullet Clubman (2009-2014)
Forget the more recent Continental GT — for proper, retro café racer style, Enfields don’t get more authentic than the short-lived Clubman. Based on the lean-burn Bullet 500 Electra, the Clubman was created by then UK importers Watsonian-Squire with the addition of a proper, hand-polished alloy tank, upswept ‘Gold Star’ silencers, single seat, clip-ons and rearsets. OK, its single only makes 27bhp, but it looks the biz, and with modern switchgear, lights, and brakes has reasonable manners, too.
What you’ll pay today £3500-4000.
But should you? Probably the most authentic of all retro café racers – if you can live with its rudimentary performance.
Moto Guzzi V11 Sport/Le Mans (1999-2003)
Aprilia’s short-lived ownership of Moto Guzzi pushed the ambitious Italian firm to the brink of collapse and ultimately a takeover by Piaggio, but it did result in the glorious, short-lived V11 retro family. Ranging from 1999’s base V11 Sport to 2003’s top spec, Öhlins and half fairing-equipped V11 Le Mans Rosso Corsa, all were classic Guzzi from the 91bhp transverse V-twin shaftie to the relaxed but heavyweight sports-touring gait. Tons of variants and different specs were offered, some simply mouth-watering.
What you’ll pay today £3500 for a Sport up to £6k for one of the fully-loaded examples.
But should you? Like the Triumph T-bird, timeless, rugged, useful enough and, in the right spec and condition, hugely classy.
Harley-Davidson XR1200 (2008-2012)
Harley’s European division led the project to create a sporting Hog for European tastes. Inspired by the flat track XR750 and powered by a tuned, 90bhp sportster V-twin, the XR1200 looked, went and handled OK but failed to appeal to either traditional naked or Harley buyers.
What you’ll pay today As little as £4500.
But should you? Somehow cooler than they’ve ever been, useful enough and great value.
BMW R100R Classic (1995)
Back in 1995 the R100R Classic had everything today’s fashionistas want in a BMW and yet they’ve probably never heard of it. The R was built to celebrate the end of the old air-cooled boxer line and had plenty of retro style but with decent brakes and suspension too.
What you’ll pay today Don’t come up often, but we’ve seen them for £3500.
But should you? Rare and oddly undervalued, it’s arguably the most authentic BM retro of all.
Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)
One of the most enduringly popular of early Hinckley Triumphs, the T-Bird is essentially a restyled Trident 900. It has the same, fruity 885cc triple but with chunky, retro-styled engine cases and block, and monoshock rear and enough charisma to satisfy any retro buff.
What you’ll pay today £2500-£4500.
But should you? Triumph Thunderbirds retain a strong following and it’s easy to see why.
Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport (2006-2012)
For our money one of the best Guzzis in recent years – although it’s no true sportster. Old school, 90bhp transverse motor is held in a decent chassis complete with adjustable forks, wavy discs and nice styling. The 1200 Sport is versatile, decent value and underrated.
What you’ll pay today £4k is typical.
But should you? A lot of bike for the money, it mixes a reasonable amount of practicality with enough retro style.