It’s not going to set your undercrackers aflame, of course; brakes and tyres are basic and slightly crude. But in this retro guise that seems to matter less and the ride was always going to be some kind of pleasing, charming trip down memory lane rather than anything demanding performance. You can quite happily bimble across town on a weekly commute or purr through this green and pleasant land aboard it on a mild summer’s Sunday ride-out.
It’s powered by a simple 249cc, carb fed single cylinder that is based on an old Suzuki design. Seventy-odd mph is the top whack from the air-cooled, 20bhp motor, still, despite its size; it delivers a punchy performance, helped in part by the bikes low weight.
Sinnis have proved with the Retrostar that it was only a matter of time before the much-maligned Chinese-built bikes improved their spec and quality. While the bike is relatively nicely finished, the overall reliability is still unproven as it’s still early days for the machine.
The Retrostar offers good value and comes in considerably cheaper than both Herald’s and Francis-Barnett’s variant models, which are essentially the same bike with mild tweaks in either the styling or consumable parts. It’s a simple bike using technology that is largely out-dated now, making parts cheap and fairly straightforward to fit.
Essentially, it’s a bike built and sold at a low price and as such, doesn’t come with many extras at all. The speedo, though having an MPH dial, is clearly a crudely converted KPH item (the analogue odometer still displays kilometres) while the suspension and brakes are a little crude, too. There’s no denying that you get an awful lot of retro style for your money though.