In motorcycles, retro is all the rage
It's been said that if you wait long enough everything old will be new once again. That sage idiom was readily seen at last week's Progressive International Motorcycle Show held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Numerous bike brands had spanking-new products on display that hearkened back to a time gone by. Here's our roundup of some two-wheeled rides, which are thoroughly modern machines but ones that aren't afraid to show off their retro roots.
2016 Royal Enfield Classic 500
Royal Enfield has quite a storied past. It started off in 1893 as a weapons manufacturer before transitioning in 1901 to make motorcycles. During both World Wars, many British soldiers could be found riding their reliable machines across the European front. They even had an ultralight bike that was dropped in with paratroopers.
Paying homage to that battle-tested heritage is the Royal Enfield Classic 500, available in either Desert Storm or Military Green paint schemes. Each machine is hand-built using no computer-controlled devices. They feature a 499-cubic-centimeter engine and a load of character, thanks to its abundance of nostalgic styling cues, such as a unique air filter, mudguard and toolbox.
2016 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
The Ducati Scrambler first burst onto the scene in 1962 and was an all-purpose bike that had no trouble appealing to younger generations. They were small, light and custom tailored to the American market.
Production ceased in 1974 and after a four-decade hiatus, the brand rebooted the name in 2015, launching an all-new model. This new Scrambler is powered by a 803 c.c. engine and sticks to its roots, built for the cost-conscientious customer who doesn't want to give up performance and fun.
Now, for 2016, Ducati is building on that momentum by releasing the Scrambler Sixty2 (relating to its release year). This offering is even lighter, powered by a 399 c.c. engine. To help it stand out, the Scrambler Sixty2 comes in unique colors, including eye-popping Atomic Tangerine. Other goodies include LED lights, special graphics and blacked-out components.
2016 Honda Africa Twin
Long distance endurance races were becoming all the rage in the 1980s and Honda wanted a tough-as-nails competitor. Honda found it in the NXR750, which dominated the Paris-Dakar Rally toward the end of the decade. Taking all it had learned, Honda manufactured a production motorcycle built for long-distance touring, calling it the Africa Twin.
The bike was released in 1988 and was capable on and off road, thanks to its tall ground clearance. The model continued through 2003. Now, just like the Terminator, it's back -- and looks to be as rugged as ever. Power comes by way of a 998 c.c. engine. The Africa Twin features a very compact design to help make the bike maneuverable. There's minimal bodywork, allowing it to slip down narrow trails. Both anti-lock brakes and traction control are available. Two colors are offered: Dakar Rally Red and Digital Metallic Silver.