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Retro Roar
BMW Motorrad, Triumph, Indian Motorcycles and Royal Enfield launch their iconic designs from the 70's in a new avatar

Vikram Gour

The Bonneville Bobber is powered by the acclaimed 1200cc engine that comes straight out of the Bonneville T120 bike and is combined with a slick 6-speed gearbox

Inspired by classic designs and motorcycles from an era bygone, here are high-end bikes ushering in a new era of tech savvy motorcycling. With a unique combination of performance and technology BMW Motorrad, Triumph Motorcycles, Indian Motorcycles and Royal Enfield display their take on the motorcyle revolution of the '70s. Each of their unique designs, has a direct link to some of the finest heritage models that each company has offered at some point in time. 

Following this line of thought is BMW Motorrad with their R nineT Racer offering, which was recently launched in India. The bike is reminiscent of an era of legendary superbikes of the 1970s. “What BMW Motorrad has created with the new BMW R nineT Racer is a masterpiece. It is an expression of a timeless motorcycling culture that celebrates pure riding, sportiness and yet stands apart in its design and appeal,” says Vikram Pawah, president, BMW Group India. It has that compact look that formed the essence of old-school racers and you also get that short half-fairing and single seat to complete the visual package in true retro form. Under the skin however, the BMW Motored R nineT Racer is a technological masterpiece as it gets BMW's 1,170cc boxer engine that delivers 110 hp of power and is combined with a 6-speed transmission. Priced at 17.3 lakh, this is an impressive handler thanks to the advanced suspension geometry. Besides, the bike also benefits from anti-lock brake system (ABS) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC) as standard.

Triumph Motorcycles, on the other hand isn’t new to the concept of retro offerings and its iconic Bonneville is everything that this segment stands for. The classic Bonneville Bobber — which incidentally is available in India at 9 lakh — takes the Bobber version to a new level altogether. Its bloodline stretches all the way back to the 1940s and is based on the custom work that followed minimalist styling principles and the new version continues in the same vein, while keeping the classic lines intact.

Elaborating on the Bonneville Bobber, Vimal Sumbly, MD, Triumph Motorcycles India states, “Our ambition was to deliver a genuine bobber — without compromising on the ride, comfort or rider control, to have it ride just like a Triumph should.” The bike is powered by the acclaimed 1200cc engine that comes straight out of the Bonneville T120 bike and is combined with a slick 6-speed gearbox. This includes the hidden monoshock rear suspension in order to get that hard tail look. The final touch includes the brushed stainless steel twin exhaust system that has a sawn off peashooter silencer to add that classic appeal and offer a soundtrack that is unmistakable. 

Sticking to a minimalist styling approach of the Bobber fad from the early 1940s and translating the chopped stripped down look in its own manner is Indian Motorcycles with its recently launched Scout Bobber. The look of this stripped down machine is further accentuated by the black headlight nacelle, minimum engine cover and vented exhaust shields. It features a blacked-out styling that gives it a raw look, however, the Scout Bobber’s pedigree clearly shines through. For 12.99 lakh, this is probably one of the most gorgeous bikes currently available in the market. It is powered by a 1133cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine and comes in with a new style, matte finished chrome, attractive colours and better riding position. Sharing his views about the bike, Pankaj Dubey, country head and MD, Polaris India says, “It has head-turning features such as slammed stance, chopped fenders, blacked-out styling and knobbly tires.” 

Built on a legacy of classic styled motorcycles is Royal Enfield. The British era motorcycle brand, which is as Indian as it is British, has held the retro flag high for the longest time and while it already offers bikes such as the Classic 500 in the market, it is the company's latest product launch that has caught everyone’s attention.

Recently showcased at a global motorcycle show, the Royal Enfield Interceptor INT 650 is the result of the company once again looking at its rich heritage to create a modern classic. The original Interceptor was a bike specifically built for the American market in the 1960s. It was quite popular at the time and became a part of the hippie/surfer culture prevalent in California during that period. “The Interceptor INT 650 carries forward the Royal Enfield legacy into the 21st century. While in its essence it retains the design and old-school character, it has all the underpinnings of a modern machine. It combines agility, usable power, excellent ergonomics and style in an unintimidating manner,” describes Siddhartha Lal, CEO, Royal Enfield. Expected to be priced between 2.50 lakh-2.65 lakh, the new bike borrows its design inspiration from the classic version, which includes the classic tear-drop shaped fuel-tank, quilted twin-seat and distinctive wide braced handlebars. It is built on an all-new steel tube cradle chassis and it is also the first bike that will get Royal Enfield’s first modern 650cc twin cylinder engine that is capable of delivering 47 bhp of power and 52Nm of torque.

These exquisite machines that draw inspiration from legendary classics have today, with advanced technology, managed to create a unique identity. For all you bike-lovers, get ready to turn back time to the 70s with these retro-inspired mean machines. 

The writer is an editor with MotorScribes and tweets at @VikramGour

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