Classic motorcycle guides

 

Road tests | Reviews | Specifications | Buyers guides | Modern classics

 

 

Decide which classic or modern motorcycle to buy

So what are the pros and cons of owning classic bikes?  And what do you need to watch out for when buying your future pride and joy? Or maybe you're still deciding which one is the one?

Either way, we ain't promising to give you all the answers, but dip into these FREE classic motorcycle guides and you just might find exactly what you need to know.

Note, to give you a better chance of finding what you want, we've included some more general news items and shorter reviews. And we're slowly updating the list to include what we think are, or will be, modern classics. So come and take a look. And if we've got it wrong somewhere, or somehow, help set us right...

 

 
AJS
Aprilia
Arc

Ariel
Ascot Pullin
Benelli
BMW
Brough Superior
BSA
CCM
Confederate
Crocker

Croft Cameron
Čezeta
Ducati

Flying Merkel

Grigg
Harley-Davidson
Henderson

Herald
Hesketh
Honda
Indian

Janus
Kawasaki

KTM
Maico
Matchless
Morgan
Moto Guzzi
Mutt Motorcycles

MV Agusta
Nimbus
Norton

N.U.T
OK-Supreme
Panther
Pannonia
Pierce
Royal Enfield
Sterling Autocycle
Sunbeam
Triumph

Suzuki
Velocette
Victory
Vincent
Voxan
Yamaha
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AJS motorcycle logo badgeAJS

 

AJS Model 18

The quintessential English post-war heavyweight single. Matchless G80 owners and fans can check this guide too.

 

AJS Model 31

A few intro words and some specifications regarding these staid and stolid 650cc four-stroke Shire horses.

 

AJS Model 31 buyers guide (see also Matchless G12)

These 650cc British roadsters never quite had the kerbside appeal of rival Triumph and BSA. But fans of these bikes simply accept their frills and foibles for what they are, and consequently doff their lids to no one. Find out why...

 

AJS Cadwell

The shock of seeing an AJS badge on a cheep Chinese import has for most of us worn off. But the intended motorcycle learner market that this bike is designed for won't much care. The future, after all, starts now.

 

AJS Tempest Scrambler

If you can't see the appeal of this bike, you're just not looking hard enough. In our youth, we would have lusted after this pseudo off-roader. And even now, there's a distinct twitching in the loins.

 

AJS Tempest Roadster

It's cheap. It's cheerful. It's classically styled. And it's Chinese built. This reworking of the 125cc AJS Cadwell is aimed at the 17-year old market. But does it have any appeal beyond that?

 


 

Aprilia motorcycle logo badgeAprilia

 

Aprilia Dorsoduro

Is this 900cc supermoto a series challenge to Ducati's Hypermotard?

 

Aprilia Shiver 900

Middleweight roadster returns to production with a power hike from 750cc to 900cc.

 


 

Arc Vehicles logoArc Vehicles

 

Arc Vector

This very ambitious crowd funded project has run into financial difficulty. But how does the bike shape up?

 


 

Ariel motorcycle logo badgeAriel

 

Ariel Ace

Ariel by name, but Honda by nature. Here's the story...

 

Ariel Arrow

The Rocker's other bike...

 

Ariel FH Huntmaster specifications

These 650cc parallel twins are BSA A10s by another name. And badge. So what's the full story and specs?

 

Ariel Leader

Ultra stylish British two stroke.

 

Ariel Square Four

Selly Oak's flagship superbike.

 


 

 

Ascot Pullin motorcycle logo badgeAscot Pullin

 

Ascot Pullin Sports Utility

The new wonder motorcycle? We think so, but check our guide and make up your own mind...

 


 

Benelli Motorcycles badges

 

Benelli

 

Leoncini Scrambler

Brief news item on a proposed Chinese built

499cc street scrambler.

 

Benelli Leoncini and TRK500

A street bike and an adventure bike ready for production.

 

 


 

BMW motorcycles logo badgeBMW

 

R nineT Scrambler

Like the standard, road-oriented R nineT, this is an instant modern classic. Straddle our review and see what the big deal is.

 

R1200GS Adventure

There are reasons why this motorcycle has for years been the leader in its class. We think we've found most of those reasons. But did we miss some? Better check...

 

BMW RnineT Pure

Back-to-basics roadster for the more esoterically minded?

 

BMW RnineT Racer

Simplified, no frills cafe racer straight from the box.

 


 

Brough Superior motorcycles logo badgeBrough Superior

 

Brough Superior SS100

The future is here: The new 2013 Brough is unveiled.

 

 


 

BSA motorcycles logo badgeBSA

 

 

BSA B33 & B31

It's a plodder, not a rodder. But it will plod
on for the longest time...

 

BSA B50

Punchy middleweight. Point and squirt riding, but they're not for the faint hearted.

 

BSA A7 Star Twin

Easyriding Beeza - quick guide.

 

BSA A70L Lightning

BSA's biggest capacity twin. There ain't too many around, and most went west to the USA. But a few have come home to Blighty, and if you hunt around, you just might catch a glimpse of one in the wild. Come and see what they're all about...

 

BSA A10 Golden Flash

One minute pros & cons guide to one of the most successful models ever devised by the Birmingham Small Arms Company Ltd.

 

BSA A10 Spitfire Scrambler

Yankee Beeza - quick guide.

 

BSA Bantam

Well-loved classic perennial. Many of us started out riding these, and a few of us end up downsizing to one. But for a lot of guys and girls, it's never been anything but the humble BSA Bantam, come rain, come shine, come whatever.

 

BSA D1 Bantam

The first of the many.

 

BSA Gold Star DBD34

Money in the bank.

 

BSA Golden Flash

Solid, surefooted twin - full guide.

 

BSA M20 & M21

Britain's favourite sidevalves. We own one and ride one and love every minute. There's something special about a flathead.

 

BSA Rocket III

The Birmingham Small Arms answer to the Triumph Trident was just as pretty, and just as much fun. Check our Triumph T150 Trident guide for the lowdown.

 

BSA Y13

A few words on these classy pre-war 750cc British V-twins

 


 

CCM

 

CCM Bobber

Bobbers are an old idea made new. We didn't expect to see Clews Competition Motorcycles
get into this particular style race. But the firm has,
and this is what it looks like...

 


 

Confederate motorcycles logo badgeConfederate

 

Hellcat Speedster X132

News item on the Confederate Hellcat.

 

P51 Combat Fighter

News item on the Confederate P51 Fighter.

 


 

Crocker motorcycles logo badge

 

Crocker

 

1938 Small Tank

Any Crocker is beautiful. But there's something
very special about these Small Tank models.

 

Three Crockers headed for Stafford

News item on a trio of Albert Crocker's

finest visiting the UK.

 


 

Croft-Cameron logoCroft-Cameron

1924 Super Eight

A few words on these very rare
998cc OHV V-twin

 


 

Cezeta scootersČezeta

 

Cezeta 506

These stylish Czech scooters have revamped an old idea. Here's a brief word to the wise.

 


 

Ducati motorcycles logo badgeDucati

 

Ducati Monster 1200S

News item on Ducati's monster Monster.

 

Ducati 1100 Scrambler - 2018 model

Three models to choose from. This is quite simply a very handsome bike with as much sophisticated cool as most of us will ever need.

 

Ducati 1100 Pro Scrambler - 2020 model

A few words on these warmed-over Standard and Sport models

 

Ducati Monster 821 - 2018 model

The Monster is back on form with new bells and whistles.

 

Ducati Diavel Diesel

We're talking fashion, not fuel.

 


 

The Flying Merkel

 

 

1910 V-twin

Joseph Merkel was a pioneering
motorcycle engineer. Today, his bikes
are highly sought after and prizes.
Here's a little background on the man and his machines

 

 


 

Grigg

 

Grigg

Just a couple of words on this little known marque

 

 

 


 

Harley-Davidson motorcycles logo badgeHarley-Davidson

 

Harley-Davidon Bronx

Revolution Max Streetfighter for bare knuckle riders

 

Harley-Davidson KR

This 750cc flathead factory racer was launched in 1952, and it's still a formidable force on the classic racing circuit. Think Model K with attitude...

 

Harley-Davidson FLSTF Fat Boy

The Fathead has been around for almost a quarter of a century, and it's still in production. It bigger than ever, it's badder than ever, and Harley is knocking 'em out faster than you can lay your money down.

Come and and see what makes fat so beautiful.

 

Harley-Davidson FLSTFB
Fat Boy Lo - 2014 Model

Quick guide to Milwaukee's twin cam, 103 cubic inch rolling monument to two-wheeled excess.

 

Harley-Davidson FL Panhead

The 74-inch successor to the 1936 Knucklehead further refines a solid and generally dependable H-D platform. Check out this guide and see if you're tempted to try one.

 

Harley-Davidson Pan America

2020 Revolution Max adventurer. It's different, but is it too different?

 

Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

The fabled Low Rider gets the monster 114ci Milwaukee-Eight engine. Check out this "aggressive" Sports model and see if you can put yourself in the saddle...

 

Harley-Davidson Softail Standard

2020 model. 107-inches. Back to basics.

 

Harley-Davidson Sportster

The first-of-type Evos are top value Hogs and, arguably, are a credible rival for any BSA, Triumph or even Norton. But check our buyers guide for the devil that's always down there in the detail...

 

Harley-Davidson Street 750

News report on MoCo's new Revolution X entry-level platform.

 

Harley-Davidson Street Rod - 2017 model

Introduction, colours, specifications.

 

Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod

When you absolutely have to have a two-wheeled state-of-the-art hot rod with a Harley-Davidson badge on the tank, there's only one place to go, and that's the divisive V-Rod. We love it. We hate it. And we love it all over again.

 

Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle

If it ain't broke, why fix it? To make it even less broke, of course. That's always been Harley's philosophy. For 2014, the factory did a little cutting, did a little smoothing, and put a different shine on what has become a very successful Hog. They call it the muscle. We call it another result.

 

Harley-Davidson XLCR Cafe Racer

A factory built cafe racer straight from Milwaukee. It sounded like a plan, but it didn't go according to plan at all...

 

Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron
- 2014 model

The same old story? Or a new twist on a satisfying motorcycling tale? Our quick guide to the Sportster Iron will help separate the facts from the fiction.

 


 

Henderson Motorcycle logo badgeHenderson

 

Henderson, Indian and Ignaz Schwinn

Some information here on these wonderful Yankee fours.

 

 


Herald Motor Company badge logo

 

Herald

 

Brat 125, Café 400 and Brute 500

Oriental power, British style.

 

Herald Rambler 125 - 2019 model

Suzuki GN125 powered lightweight

 


 

Hesketh motorcycles logo badgeHesketh

 

Hesketh 24

Paul Sleeman's new aristocrat takes shape.

 

Hesketh 24

News item on the continuing saga.

 


 

Honda motorcycles logo badgeHonda

 

Honda Monkey Bike - 2018 model

It's back, and it's better than ever.

 

Honda Benly

A few words on the CB92. It's not a feature
or a news item. But it will give you some
background on these great little bikes.

 

Honda CX500

Honda's first V-twin was a revolution. And we viva la revolution with a few words on this near-iconic shaft drive. You'll find some useful info on our CX500 garage sign page.

 

Honda CX500 specifications

Check out the numbers and explore some back story

 

Honda Fireblade for 2017

The Blade is a quarter of a century old. Three new models are on the way to mark the occasion.

 

Honda CB1100EX

Muscle-bound retro gets a facelift, a nip
and a tuck for 2017. But it it headed for classicdom?

 

Honda CB300R - 2018 model

It's got modern angles, a claimed 31bhp, 17-inch wheels, and Honda's badge on the tank. Starts well, but does it get any better?

 

Honda CB750

Review, buyers guide & specifications

 

Honda CB750-Four

Check our CB750-4 metal garage sign (with a few words on this seminal 60s bike)

 

Honda Gold Wing - 2018 model

The same but different. And arguably superior.

 

Honda Rebel Bobber - 2017

Small in stature, but with big ideas.

 

 


 

Indian motorcycles logo badgeIndian

 

Brockhouse Indian Brave

News item on the British built 250cc sidevalve.

 

Indian Model 442

A little history on the Indian Fours generally, and the Model 442 specifically.

 

Indian Scout Bobber - 2018 model

A few words on Indian's musclebound 69 cubic incher.

 

Indian Scout Sixty two tone - 2017 model

Colours and specifications.

 


 

 

Janus Motorcycles

Halcyon 250

A brief introduction to these interesting up-to-the-minute flat tankers from the USA

 

 


 

Kawasaki motorcycles logo badgeKawasaki

 

1972 Kawasaki Z1-900 and the 2017 Z900RS

The original and the successor. A brief recap...

 

Kawasaki W800

Classic Brit-style clone updated for the 21st century.
Check our review on what makes this bike interesting.

 

Kawasaki W800 - 2020 model

Back in production, this convincing retro challenges Triumph and Ducati

 

Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Practical all-weather transport that's small on capacity, but big on presence.

 

Kawasaki Z650 and Z900 for 2017

Sugomi-themed concepts pick up the hallowed "Z" torch and run with it.

 

Kawasaki 650 Ninja - 2020 model

Warmed-over middleweight. Nice but no great advances

 

Kawasaki Z900 - 2017 model

New colours and brief model update info.

 


 

KTM

 

KTM 790 Adventure Rally R - 2019 model

Slick suspension, limited edition

 


Maico motorcycles logo badge

 

Maico

 

Maico Mobil

... a few words on Germany's uber cool
two-stroke scooter.

 

 

 


 

Matchless motorcycles logo badgeMatchless

 

Matchless G80

1946-1965. 498cc OHV air-cooled heavyweight single

(Quick Guide).

 

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80

They're the same, but different; separated
at birth, yet ever joined at the hip. Puzzled? Read our buyers guide and find out what's going on.

 

Matchless G12 buyers guide (see also AJS Model 31)

These 650cc British roadsters never quite had the kerbside appeal of rival Triumph and BSA. But fans of these bikes simply accept their frills and foibles for what they are, and consequently doff their lids to no one. Find out why...

 

Matchless G12

It's the same bike as the AJS Model 31, but don't let that spoil the ride. Get acquainted here, and read some specifications.

 

Matchless G9 bobber

Foundry Motorcycle has its own idea of how a Matchless G9 should look. Take a peek...

 


 

Morgan motorcycles logo badgeMorgan

 

Morgan EV3

We know it's not a bike. But it's a kind of honorary bike. And this one's electric ...

 

Morgan repurchases Pickersleigh Road site

The firm didn't move away, but it's moved back. Here's the story...

 


 

Moto Guzzi motorcycles logo badgeMoto Guzzi

 

Moto Guzzi Le Mans

This 850cc V-twin shaftie helped put Moto Guzzi back on the motorcycle map and gave Ducati and Laverda something else to worry about. Read our buyers guide to the Mk1 and get yourself up to speed.

 

Moto Guzzi MGX-21

A news introduction to the MGX-21 bagger. It's clearly gunning for Harley-Davidson, but does it have the right ammunition?

 

Moto Guzzi Audace Carbon

"Darker" and "meaner" cruiser with scratching pretensions.

 

Moto Guzzi V85TT Travel - 2020 model

All terrain adventurer

 


 

Mutt Motorcycles

 

Fat Sabbath

The 125cc single cylinder Fat Sabbath follows closely in the tracks of Mutt Motorcycles' Blackest Sabbath. Its heart is Chinese, but its soul is British. That's the concept anyway.

 

Mutt Mastiff 125

Cool-looking knobbly knockabout

 


 

MV Agusta

 

2020 Rush 1000

Limited edition Italian hotrod, yours for £30k

 

 

 

 

 


 

Nimbus motorcycles logo badgeNimbus

 

Nimbus Model C

2017 news item on an ex-Steve McQueen Nimbus
including some technical details.

 

 

 

 


 

Norton motorcycles logo badgeNorton

 

 

Norton Atlas Ranger and Nomad

A news report on the 2019 650cc bikes
from Donington Hall.

 

Norton California

It's 50 years of the Commando.
Norton marks the moment.

 

Norton Commando 750/850

Ride it, love it.

 

Norton Commando 961

News item on the "Mick Grant Replica."

It's real, but is it true?

 

Norton Hi-Rider

Some lowdown on this high flyer.

 

Norton P11A Ranger

A few words on the short-lived desert racing hybrid.

 

 


 

 

N.U.T Motorcycles logoN.U.T

 

Small news item

1925 700cc V-twin sold at auction, plus some information on this little known northern British company.

 

 


 

 

OK-Supreme motorcycles logo badgeOK-Supreme

 

Small news item

Rare Flying Cloud model at Beaulieu.

 

 

 


 

Csepel Pannonia badge

Pannonia

Pannonia T5

Rare Hungarian two-stroke and Duna sidecar.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Panther motorcycles logo badgePanther

 

Panther M100 & M120

Phelon & Moore's tour de force.

 

Panther S180 concept bike

Big Cat fans might check out this flight-of-fancy...

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pierce motorcycles logo badgePierce

 

Pierce 1912 3.5hp single

News item on this rare sidevalve single.

 


 

Royal Enfield motorcycles logo badgeRoyal Enfield

 

 

 

Royal Enfield Bullet (UK)

Classic survivor.

 


 

Sterling Autocycles motorcycles logo badgeSterling Autocycle

 

Sterling Autocycle flat tanker

News item on the Black Douglas Motorcycle Company.

 

 

 


 

Sunbeam S7 and S8  badgeSunbeam

 

Sunbeam S7 & S8

Gentlemen only...

 

Sunbeam Model 9

A few words on this stylish, high-quality pre-war single

 

 

 


 

Suzuki logoSuzuki

 

Suzuki GSX1100S

The Suzuki Katana has been updated for 2019,
but is this a new legend in the making, or simply
an obvious and lazy re-hash?

 

Suzuki Burgman

The UK Metropolitan Police has been evaluating

7 fuel cell powered 2017 models.

 

2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000

A concept bike? Or production ready? You decide

 

2018 Suzuki SV650X

Suzuki calls this "a neo retro cafe racer". We call
it as we see it ...

 


 

Triumph motorcycles logo badgeTriumph

 

 

Triumph Bonneville T140

"The legend".

 

Triumph Bonneville

Hinckley, not Meriden.

 

Triumph Hurricane X-75

 

Triumph Speedmaster - 2018

First the solo Bobber, then a motor-bicycle made for two...

 

Triumph Speed Triple R

Top British street muscle bike.

 

Triumph Speed Triple model/timeline

Check here for the speedster back story.

 

Triumph Speed Triple

Review, road test and specifications.

 

Triumph Speed Twin
Introducing the 1200cc 2019 model.

 

Triumph Speed Twin & Tiger 100

Turners 1938 seminal 500cc twins. The 5T and the T100.

 

Triumph Street Triple RS

A quick look at the 2020 model updates

 

Triumph Street Twin

A 900cc street bike purpose built for urbanites. Check the specifications...

 

Triumph Street Cup

Silly name, but a very cool pair of wheels.

900cc. ABS. Traction control. Hinckley Triumph has spoiled us rotten.

 

Triumph T25SS

A couple of words on an auction example...

 

 

Triumph Tiger Cub T20

Pricey and pretty.

 

Triumph Tiger  800

Check out this cool cat. It roars...

 

Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200

Stunning globetrotting adventurer.

 

Triumph Tiger - 2018 model

New colours, new toys and a low saddle.

 

Triumph Tiger Specials - 2020 models

Alpine Edition and Desert Edition

 

Triumph Trident T150

Meriden's hot rod.

 

 

Triumph TR7T Tiger Trail

On-roader with off-road pretensions.

 

Triumph TRW

Cool & unstressed sidevalve twin.

 

Triumph T140W TSS

 

Triumph TSX

 


 

Velocette motorcycles logo badgeVelocette

 

Velocette Thruxton

Pedigree performer. We'll guide you through the pros and cons.

 

McDeeb Velofield

It looks like a Velocette, but the power is by Royal Enfield. Velo purists look away now...

 

 


 

Victory motorcycles logo badgeVictory

 

Victory Ignition

It's a concept bike. So how seriously should
we take this? Confusion is the watchword...

 

Victory Octane

News story on the launch of Polaris Industries' new cruiser for 2016.

 

Victory Vegas, Hammer, Cross Country and Magnum X-1

Numerous models are being axed for 2017. Here's the story.

 


 

Vincent motorcycles logo badgeVincent

 

1938 Vincent Series-A Rapide

Sold for £267,696. Find out what was so special.

 

Vincent Comet Series C

Even half a Vincent twin is double the class you get with many other 500cc Brit singles.

 

Vincent world record set

Check here for 10 Vincent V-twins at auction.

 

Vincent Uniflow engine

Rare two-engine designed for RAF rescue launches.

 

Maughan Vincent

Need a Vincent engineering expert? Try here...

 

Herb Harris Vincents

Texan Vincent aficionado disposes of collection.

 

Vincent Series A Rapide project

See here for details of this highly desirable £270,300 V-twin.

 

Vincent HRD

A few words on the company, and a look at Sump's HRD metal sign

 


 

Voxan motorcycle logoVoxan

 

The Wattman

French "200hp" electric gave us
a shock.

 


 

Yamaha Motorcycles logo badgeYamaha

 

 

Yamaha RD20LC

A few words on this classic 1980s two-stroke

 

Yamaha YS125 - 2017 model

A perky upgrade to the outgoing YBR125.

 

Yamaha YZF-R6 - 2017 model

News item and specifications.

 

Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

News item on the limited edition 847cc retro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Sump Magazine 2014

 

 


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BSA M20 & M21:
World's Greatest Sidevalves T-shirt

 

 

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Pioneer Run eBook:

What's it all about? Well, it's a photoshoot of the world's greatest veteran motorcycle run with poetry and quotes from Ixion to John Masefield to William Shakespeare to William Wordsworth. It's unique (as far as we know) and has been downloaded thousands of times from both the Sump website and the website of the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club. Think of it as poetry in motion. It's a treat. Sorry, it's not available in hardcopy or for Macs.



 

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirt

 

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Triumph Bonneville:
World's Coolest
Motorcycle T-shirt

 

 

More info...