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The Best Modern Retro Motorcycles

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Best Modern Retro Motorcycles

  1. Bullit Spirit 125

Bullit Spirit stands out as one of the most affordable café racers out there. It might be a bit skittish in bends and lacks ABS brakes, but these are small annoyances considering its price tag. It might not be the best for long-haul riding, but it’s a sweet treat on city streets. Lightweight and easily manoeuvrable, this is a great retro-looking motorcycle for the CBT rookies as well as experienced licence holders in search of a cheap ride.


  • Engine: Air-cooled 4-stroke   
  • Max power output: 11.5 bhp (8.5 kW)  
  • Displacement: 125cc
  • Gearbox: 5-speed
  • Seat height: 840-890mm
  • Weight: 118kg 
  1. Ducati Scrambler Café Racer

The Scrambler Café Racer is one of those bikes designed to deliver both style and substance. It packs the sleek lines café racers are known for with tweaked ergonomics, a detail that makes it liveable for heavier or taller riders while being accessible for the shorter riders too. Its new 17” wheels ensure excellent stance on the road, while the fantastic blue-hued paintjob give it a fresh vintage-inspired appearance. 


  • Engine: Air-cooled V-twin 4-stroke   
  • Max power output: 72.4 bhp (55 kW)  
  • Displacement: 803cc
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Seat height: 805mm
  • Weight: 188kg 
  1. Herald Classic 400

Café racer enthusiasts transitioning from a CBT-compliant to a bigger bike might just fall for the Herald Classic 400. Traditional naked bike looks blend wonderfully with its retro aesthetics enhanced by a superb paintjob and details. Smartly combining an imported air-cooled engine and ABS system with British parts, Herald has managed to create an exciting, A2-compliant platform bike that’s customisable and comes at an eye-catchy price tag.


  • Engine: Air-cooled 4-stroke SOHC
  • Max power output: 27 bhp (20 kW)  
  • Displacement: 400cc
  • Gearbox: 5-speed
  • Seat height: 790mm
  • Weight: 165kg 
  1. Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

Perfect for A2 licence holders who want to ride a bigger bike, the Continental GT 650 has the looks of vintage café racers but a new beating heart. Its brand new parallel twin-cylinder engine is air and oil-cooling capable and delivers a whopping 47 horsepower. Analogue commands and the minimal electronic aids reduced to the mandatory ABS make this bike perfect for those who love full control over the ride. 


  • Engine: Air and oil-cooled parallel twin
  • Max power output: 47 bhp (35 kW)  
  • Displacement: 648cc
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Seat height: 793mm
  • Weight: 198kg 
  1. Triumph Thruxton R

The R version is the model that best encompasses Triumph Thruxton’s capabilities. A café racer built for speed, and that blends classic lines with the finest modern technologies. Its incredible 1,200cc high-performance engine showcases stylish details and integrates perfectly with the retro-inspired frame. Made to become a legend, Thruxton R is a brilliant choice if you’re after stunning style, thrilling performance, exceptional handling, and lead-class capabilities.


  • Engine: Liquid-cooled parallel twin
  • Max power output: 96 bhp (72 kW)  
  • Displacement: 1200cc
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Seat height: 810mm
  • Weight: 203kg 


Café racers are quintessential bikes capable of satisfying all riders with a more thoughtful soul. Choosing the best modern retro motorcycles, though, is ultimately down to you. From small entry-levels to highly performing models, there are plenty of options to satisfy all budgets and needs. All you have to do is pick the one that inspires you the most.

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