Young and old at heart: The beauty of vintage motorcycles

A rider sitting proudly on a vintage motorcycle.

A look at vintage motorcycles and the retro models they inspire

It’s one of the most classic scenes in cinema history. Steve McQueen races along the rolling German countryside with German soldiers in hot pursuit. Interestingly, this scene is a great way to start this story. Through a touch of movie magic, the motorcycle Mr. McQueen rode was not actually the WWII era BMW75s it appeared to be. It was the newer 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy modified to look like the older German classic. So in a way, it was both a vintage and retro motorcycle – a great way to begin a conversation on the way vintage and retro motorcycles have captured the imaginations of many riders over the past few years.

Revving up enthusiasm for the classic bikes

What is considered a vintage motorbike machine? To some, if it’s 25 to 30 years or older, then it’s vintage. Since motorcycles have been around since the late 19th century, there are more than a century’s worth of classics that have been made out there. Plus, unlike their pricey automobile counterparts, motorcycle collectors can get into the market without busting major bank when they shop for a bike. Check out some classics and average prices from Hagerty. You’ll be surprised how affordable it can be to get into collectible motorcycles.

What’s for show and what’s for go

Speaking of Steve McQueen, if you happened to have snagged any of his bikes on auction, you might consider showing more than going. Some of his bikes have been sold for over a quarter million. If you plan on riding your vintage motorcycle, you’ll need to check with your provincial ministry of transportation vintage vehicle regulations to ensure that your classic motorcycle is road-worthy. Plus, your motorcycle will have to be properly insured. In some provinces, you may also be eligible for a motorcycle discount. You’ll also want to keep in mind that vintage bikes don’t have the same safety features as today’s motorcycles. Extra precaution with your motorcycle is highly recommended.

Old school looks, new school performance

It’s always great to give a nod to heritage and show respect to motorcycle history. Auto manufacturers have been resurrecting old  motorcycle models, but with hints of a past look. Motorcycle manufacturers, on the other hand, have reproduced old models that are nearly identical to the originals that inspired them, and often with matching historical motorcycle names to boot. They’re a cool homage.

Tradition and speed with a touch of tech

Retro motorcycles not only bring today’s safety features to a classic look, but they also offer neat technological touches. From GPS navigation, traction control, improved brakes and tires, cruise control, to adjustable fuel maps, you can rely on a safer, more comfortable motorcycle ride, while still looking old-school cool.

Riding today with a touch of yesterday

From off-road, touring, to sport motorcycles, there’s over a century of heritage...defined by a spirit of independence and personal expression. A motorcycle reflects its rider, and it’s encouraging to see so many riders reliving the history of a very rich motorcycle culture.

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