Although going retro can be expensive when buying a new motorcycle, there are plenty of excellent wallet- and credit-friendly choices in the visually appealing genre. The best part is, retro motorcycles are not just cool to be seen on—they’re also enjoyable to ride.We’ve put together a list of 25 retro-styled bikes you can buy in 2020 that won’t break the bank, as they all have an MSRP south of $10,000. We present them to you in order from most expensive to least.
1. 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
The largest-displacement motorcycle on the list, the Iron 1200 has its looks rooted in H-D’s controversial AMF era. While that is off-putting to some, others love the 1970s look. A bobber at heart, the 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 comes with a stylish high handlebar, trendy headlight cowling, and traditionally racing-oriented fork gaiters. The $10k minus one dollar price is only applicable to the Vivid Black version, but we like that one best anyway. With tons of torque on tap, a low-slung chassis, and sensible ergonomics, the Iron 1200 works as a great urban motorcycle. 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Price: $9999 MSRP.
2. 2020 BMW R nineT Pure
This one caught us off-guard. A couple of years ago, BMW was asking $11,995 for the R nineT Pure—now, they’ve dropped the price by $2000, bringing it into the grasp of many more riders who thought they were priced out of a boxer from Bavaria. The 2020 BMW R nineT Pure is the most basic of the R nineT series, and in many ways the most appealing. It has everything it needs to be a great ride, with nothing you didn’t need. Stable handling and that nice air-cooled motor work together to provide a pure riding experience. 2020 BMW R nineT Pure Price: $9995 MSRP.
3. 2020 Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer
Only one of Moto Guzzi’s V9 line drops below $10k, but the Roamer is a good one. The 2020 Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer has the iconic air-cooled powerplant that displaces 850cc. The overall vibe comes from 1960s and ’70s customs, with a raked-out front end and arcing tuck-and-roll seat that’s long enough to accommodate a passenger. Modern features include fuel injection, ABS, traction control, aluminum wheels, and a four-piston Brembo caliper for the 320mm front disc. Put it all together, and you have a motorcycle that is a great ride that gets admiring looks wherever you take it. 2020 Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer Price: $9990 MSRP.
4. 2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon
Recalling the Ducati Scrambler singles of the 1960s, the original basic 2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon gets you into the Scrambler line for less than $10k. It’s a mix of modern and retro, with an air-cooled desmodromic motor that puts out impressive power. The bobbed fenders look great, as does the sleek fuel tank. The exhaust and single-shock swingarm bring things into the 21st century, though not obtrusively. The chassis handles the muscular motor nicely, and the fully upright seating position is comfortable for all-day rides, and you look cool every single moment. 2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Price: $9595 MSRP.
5. 2020 Yamaha XSR900
This is quite a bit of retro motorcycle for the money. Powered by a crossplane-concept triple, the 2020 Yamaha XSR900 is faintly a tribute to the three-cylinder 1976 Yamaha XS750. In reality, it’s a thoroughly modern reskinned MT-09 sportbike, with goodies like ride-by-wire power modes, traction control, ABS, rebound-damping adjustable suspension, and an assist-and-slipper clutch. The paint job on the fuel tank recalls factory Yamahas of the 1970s and ’80s, and the round lighting is another nod to the past. It’s not even close to strictly retro, but we’ll take it. 2020 Yamaha XSR900 Price: $9499 MSRP.
6. 2020 Triumph Street Twin
Triumph has an exceptional grasp of its history, and its Modern Classic line is an engrossing mixture of contemporary and retro. The liquid-cooled motor looks air-cooled, and the throttle bodies are nicely disguised. It has aluminum wheels rather than wire-spoke, but the 2020 Triumph Street Twin does have a traditional seat and twin shocks. Plus, the round headlight looks period-perfect. Handling and power are first-rate, and the suspension is up to modern standards. This is a great motorcycle in all situations. 2020 Triumph Street Twin Price: $9300 MSRP.
7. 2020 Kawasaki W800
The 2020 Kawasaki W800 is a loveable retro motorcycle with a spirit derived from Kawasaki’s W models from the 1960s. The motor remains air-cooled, those are wire-spoke wheels, that’s a bench tuck-and-roll seat, peashooter exhausts, and some very nice paint. The engine is fantastically torquey, and it is a superb motorcycle in-town and in the canyons. The only place we don’t love the W800 is on rain-grooved freeways, where both bias-ply tires wander unpredictably—stay away from that situation, and the W800 is flawless. 2020 Kawasaki W800 Price: $9199 MSRP.
8. 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
Moto Guzzi has a vast lineup of V7 III models. If you want the best-looking and most authentically retro of the eight-motorcycle line, the 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special is the way to go. It has the wonderfully torquey air-cooled V-twin motor that makes Moto Guzzis so much fun to ride. Plus, you get wire-spoke wheels, beautiful splashes of chrome, a brown seat, and a nice round headlight. It’s an extraordinarily easy and enjoyable motorcycle for novices and veterans alike. 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special Price: $8999 MSRP.
9. 2020 Indian Scout Sixty
There are times when less is better, and the 2020 Indian Scout Sixty makes that argument. With 22 fewer horses and just a five-speed transmission, the Scout Sixty turns out to be a better urban motorcycle than the standard Scout. The chassis is agile, and the lower power output is more than enough for blitzing around town or taking on the local canyon, and it is less fatiguing. Remember, the Sixty has a 999cc V-twin with a DOHC architecture, so power is plentiful. The styling is decidedly retro and Indian-faithful, even though the powerplant is liquid-cooled with EFI. 2020 Indian Scout Sixty Price: $8999 MSRP.
10. 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883
If you showed someone the Iron 883 in 1957 when the Sportster line was born, they would immediately recognize it. Yes, it has an updated Evolution motor, cut the 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 still has an air-cooled V-twin powerplant and twin shocks. Updates from 1957 include EFI, disc brakes, and aluminum wheels. The Iron 883 has just the right amount of power for urban barnstorming. The 562-pound chassis is agile, with a sub-29-inch seat height. ABS is available as an option, though at a pricey $795. 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Price: $8999 MSRP.
11. 2020 Yamaha XSR700
In the world of retro motorcycles, the 2020 Yamaha XSR700 is decidedly retro-lite. The chassis and crossplane-concept parallel-twin are absolutely modern designs. Still, Yamaha slips the XSR700 into its Sport Heritage line, and we’re good with that. The tank and paint recall earlier generations of motorcycles, as does the round headlight and taillight. If you want a wholly contemporary motorcycle with a touch of old school styling, the 2020 Yamaha XSR700 is a perfect choice. 2020 Yamaha XSR700 Price: $8499 MSRP.
12. 2020 Suzuki SV650X
Suzuki’s SV650 brand goes back to 1999, with the latest versions upgraded significantly from the original editions. The 2020 Suzuki SV650X is the retro café version of the standard upright SV650. Fortunately, Suzuki didn’t go overboard with the ergonomics, and the SV650X remains a comfortable motorcycle for long ride days in the canyons and city. The brown seat and headlight cowling add to the café clip-ons for retro authenticity mixed with modern technology. 2020 Suzuki SV650X Price: $8399 MSRP.
13. 2020 Yamaha Bolt
It started life as the Star Bolt in 2014, and hasn’t changed much since then, other than adopting the Yamaha brand name. Retro in style with an air-cooled 942cc V-twin motor, twin shocks, wire-spoke wheels, and bobbed fenders, the 2020 Yamaha Bolt has contemporary suspension, handling, and engine performance. Along with the standard Bolt, there is also a Bolt R-Spec, which upgrades to piggyback reservoir shocks (still retro-styled) and mag-style wheels. That makes the Bolt the more retro of the two, while the R-Spec is the superior handler due to improved rear suspension. 2020 Yamaha Bolt Price: $7999 MSRP. 2020 Yamaha Bolt R-Spec Price: $8399 MSRP.
14. 2020 Honda Shadow Phantom
Lean and low, plus dark and mean in appearance, the 2020 Honda Shadow Phantom is the menacing choice in the Shadow line. The basic chassis and 745cc engine are the same as the Shadow Aero, but the drag-style handlebar improves handling considerably. Urban twisties are not a challenge on the 2020 Honda Shadow Phantom, and its slightly oversquare 52-degree V-twin is happy to spin up a bit for sporty performance. The five-speed transmission gets the job done on this 560-pound cruiser. 2020 Honda Shadow Phantom Price: $7899 MSRP.
15. 2020 Honda Shadow Aero
The least expensive of Honda’s current two-model Shadow line, the 2020 Honda Shadow Aero has classic retro styling with twin shocks, wire-spoke wheels, a buckhorn handlebar, a drum rear brake, and deeply valanced fenders. The motor is a bit more contemporary, with liquid cooling, three-valve heads, and EFI. The wide rubber-mounted handlebar gives the Aero front-end a vague feeling in the canyons. However, that flex soaks up urban road imperfections with ease, along with the basic-yet-competent suspension. Front-wheel ABS is a $300 option. 2020 Shadow Aero Price: $7699 MSRP.
16. 2020 Honda XR650L
Just as Suzuki doesn’t like to think of its DR650S as a retro dual-sporter, neither does Honda market the 2020 Honda XR650L that way. In fact, the XR650L has roots dating back to the early 1980s, with the 2020 model very close to the 1993 debut edition. The motor is a SOHC design with a four-valve head, and fueled by a CV carburetor. The suspension travel is long at 11+ inches, but every year the XR650L feels less dirtworthy. It is tall and weighs in at 346 pounds with the 2.8-gallon tank full. On the upside, the 2020 Honda XR650L a great commuter motorcycle that is more than ready for freeway duty. 2020 Honda XR650L Price: $6999 MSRP.
17. 2020 Suzuki DR650S
It’s air-cooled, carbureted, has a conventional fork, and family ties to the 1980s, so the 2020 Suzuki DR650S fits the bill as a retro dual-sport motorcycle. That doesn’t mean it’s not a highly capable ride, however. The torquey motor has plenty of pull and is easily freeway-capable, and the seat height isn’t stratospheric at 34.8 inches. Even better, the well-designed lowering kit brings the seat down to an approachable 33.2 inches without messing up the ergonomics or frame geometry. When you fill the 3.4-gallon tank up, it weighs a beefy 366 pounds, but it carries its weight well. 2020 Suzuki DR650S Price: $6699 MSRP.
18. 2020 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
Aspiring café racers will be instantly drawn to the 2020 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 and its indisputable authenticity. The clip-ons aren’t unreasonably low, so you don’t pay the usual price in discomfort that can come with café styling. The abbreviated seat continues the café racer them. Period-correct 18-inch wheels are shod with fairly narrow Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires. The good news is that the GT 650 is a stable motorcycle in the canyons, with a motor that rewards a smooth riding style. 2020 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Price: $5999 MSRP.
19. 2020 Royal Enfield INT 650
Fully upright and fancy-free, the 2020 Royal Enfield INT 650 is an all-new design that flies the retro flag proudly. The SOHC twin is air-cooled and fuel-injected, bringing along 47 horsepower at 7250 rpm, plus 38 ft-lbs of torque at 5250 rpm. The motor is the star, as it is smooth and builds speed predictably. There’s plenty of power for the freeway, though the Pirelli Phantom Sportscomp tires on 18-inch wire-spoke wheels don’t do well on rain grooves. Instead, the INT 650 is a casual sport motorcycle, that also works great for urban duty. 2020 Royal Enfield INT 650 Price: $5799 MSRP.
20. 2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
The 2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 is arguably the most retro motorcycle sold. The motor is air-cooled and uses pushrods to manipulate the engine’s two valves. Only fuel injection, electric starting, and a front disc brake tips you off that 70 years have passed since its introduction. The best part is, the Bullet 500 remains a fantastic ride. There’s no doubt that the 27 horsepower motor isn’t going to turn any heads, though the 30 ft-lbs of torque at 4000 rpm isn’t bad. Slightly undersquare, the five-speed Bullet likes to be shifted early. It’s all about enjoying the experience, and the attention of countless passersby. 2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 price: $4999 MSRP.
21. 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan
If you’re looking for a retro adventure motorcycle, you won’t find anything that fits the bill in this price range, except for the 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan. A relatively new member of the Royal Enfield family, the Himalayan is designed to do exactly what its name promises—cross the Himalayans. The long-stroke 411cc air-cooled SOHC motor is no powerhouse, putting out just 24.5 horsepower at 6500 rpm. Instead, it is about chugging along to its designation, no matter what. 2020 Royal Enfield Himalayan Price: $4749 MSRP.
22. 2020 Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki might not like us referring to the 2020 DR200S as a retro motorcycle, but that’s what it is. The air-cooled two-valve motor has a carburetor, and the entire package dates back to the 1990s. The suspension is stone age, though the styling of the plastic and seat has enjoyed a few updates over the years. Underneath that, you are still getting a retro dual-sport motorcycle that is great for around-town riding, and light-duty trail riding. Electric start is a welcome update that moves the 2020 Suzuki DR200S a bit farther along on the evolutionary scale. 2020 Suzuki DR200S Price: $4649 MSRP.
23. 2020 Yamaha TW200
Another Yamaha dating back to the 1980s with few updates is the fat-tired dual-sport 2020 Yamaha TW200. We’re looking at an air-cooled two-valve single fed by a 28mm Mikuni carburetor, wire-spoke wheels, and a rear drum brake. The power isn’t impressive, and you won’t be bowled over by the chassis. Instead, the TW200 is a fun way to get around town, and it gives you the option of taking that little dirt trail you spied along the way. Because the low-seat TW200 is also whisper-quiet, it doesn’t intimidate bystanders. That means you can get away will all sorts of shenanigans without being called out for it. 2020 Yamaha TW200 Price: $4599 MSRP.
24. 2020 Yamaha V Star 250
Yes, you can go cruising in retro-style for under $5k, thanks to the 2020 Yamaha V Star 250. A classic beginner’s motorcycle, the V Star 250 has barely changed since its 1988 debut. You still get a Mikuni-carbureted V-twin air-cooled motor, twin shocks, wire-spoke wheels with Cheng Shin tires, a rear drum brake, and nothing in the way of fancy electronics. The long-stroke engine has impressive torque, so acceleration around town is enough to keep you out of the way of traffic. Handling and suspension are up to the job at hand—getting your around town inexpensively. 2020 Yamaha V Star 250 Price: $4349 MSRP.
25. 2020 Honda Monkey
Featuring the same motor as the Super Cub, the 2020 Honda Monkey trades on the dual-sport heritage of the classic Honda Mini Trail 50 of the 1960s and ’70s. Unlike the Super Cub, the Monkey has a fully manual transmission, so you’ll need to know how to operate the clutch. The suspension travel of four inches works fine with the size of the Monkey, and is aided high-profile tires. Handling if agile, though not nervous. The ergonomics are compact, but not uncomfortable. You can even take it on the dirt as long as you are mindful of the limited ground clearance. The Monkey is as fun as the name sounds. 2020 Honda Monkey Price: $3999 MSRP.
26. 2020 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS
It doesn’t get more classic than the 2020 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS. The history of the Cub goes back to 1958, and over 100 million Super Cubs have been sold globally. The Honda Super Cub C125 ABS was new to the US last year, and it is as fun as ever. Purely an urban motorcycle, it’s a cool alternative to a scooter. The four-speed transmission is a semi-automatic design, so new riders only need to learn how to shift—clutch action is automatic. Reliability is as good as it gets, and you can ride all day before having to refill the tiny one-gallon gas tank. 2020 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS Price: $3649 MSRP.
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!