The increasing love for things of the yesteryears has caught the biking community as it seems. With companies rolling out retro styled bikes and some companies even coming out of hibernation, there are lots of such bikes to choose from. And we look at some of the interesting options currently available in the market.
The FZ X is a product of Yamaha giving the already tried and tested FZ S a retro do over. And since it is based on the FZ S, there are few to no changes in terms of technical specifications and performance. The changes are specifically in how the bike has been stylized evident by the shape of the tank and side covers as well as the seat. The headlamp and tail lamps are LED with simple shapes to keep up with the overall design.
The engine is the same 149 cc unit from the FZ S producing 12.4 PS max power and 13.3 Nm of torque. The chassis and the suspension are more or less the same however the bike is a bit heavier than the FZ S. All of this makes the FZ X very familiar and predictable in its performance and handling characteristics and the bike is easy to ride as a daily.
The characteristics though aren’t really inspiring or unique in a sense but for the budget it gets the job done and can be appealing to people who want to stand a bit out from the crowd. It’s a shame that it’s bigger brother, the XSR155 isn’t being made available yet and how dearly we want to see that happen.
Royal Enfield Meteor:
The Meteor is an all new motorcycle from the Royal Enfield with their effort at modernizing their ageing lineup of classic motorcycles. The Meteor is inspired by the RE Thunderbird with similar design cues pretty distinct. The engine on the Meteor, however is all new. It’s a 349 cc air cooled single putting out 20.4 PS max power and 27 Nm of torque.
The typical long stroke configuration of the engine gives plenty of bottom and mid-range rather than a peaky top end. But the high refinement levels and lack of engine vibrations is unlike Royal Enfield and is a very welcome change. And it’s efficient too. Tipping the scales at 191 kg though, the meteor is heavy and the weight does translate to a slightly effort-intensive handling but it’s not much to complain about.
Ride quality and the overall experience is much nicer compared to the old Royal Enfield bikes and the Meteor shows the path they are headed to. The riding ergonomics allows effortless cruising which is what the bike is purposed to do and will be put through by their buyers. The bike also gets Dual Channel ABS as standard for safety. While it’s not as thoroughly modern a bike as the technology that we have around us today might suggest, it’s certainly a modern Royal Enfield that is every bit capable as the other classic/retro bikes in its class.
Honda CB 350 RS/ H'ness:
Honda surprised us when they announced the H’ness and their plans for the CB 350 RS since they would be building the engine and chassis from the ground up. Just like the Jawa twins, the two bikes also share their underpinnings like the engine, chassis, transmission and suspension. And while the H’ness is more of a classic take on a technically modern motorcycle, the CB 350 RS is sort of like a street/scrambler machine.
Powering the bikes is a 348.3 cc air cooled single that produces 21 PS of max power and a max torque of 30 Nm. Now the power and torque figures are made fairly low in the rev range which means that the bike feels very torque from the very beginning. The engine is very smooth and lacks any vibration despite its size, typical Honda, and the thump from the engine is reminiscent of the Royal Enfield Classic.
The chassis is also top and the bike feels balanced, giving it a very neutral feeling and really easy to adapt to. The suspension setup and the ergonomics are also spot on making for a pretty comfortable riding experience. The bike also gets ABS, slipper clutch as well as a traction control system which, we’d say are very welcome features which add to the riding experience furthermore.
Now Honda have made the bike to slot in to that market of classic/neo retro bikes and staying true to their cause, the bike does not have the mind blowing performance figures one might expect of a 350cc motorcycle. Instead what the bikes give is a laid back feeling as you ride along with road presence. The H’ness and the CB 350 RS do everything other classic/retro bikes in the segment do with a step above in terms of quality, riding experience and smoothness and that is very much appreciated.
The Jawa classic and the Jawa 42 are pretty much similar, differing slightly on the styling and colours to cater to different people. The brand has seen a revival after a long time and it’s been a thorough comeback. The Jawa 42 is quite a looker with classic shapes being adopted in the design, especially with the blacked out engine cases and exhaust. The rounded headlamps and neat little LED tail lamp really compliment the overall aesthetics and the bike looks every bit a retro motorcycle.
The bike is powered by a 293 cc engine that sounds quite nice to be honest and develops 27.3 PS of peak power and 27 Nm of peak torque. There is torque all the way from the bottom end to the top and the engine doesn’t mind being revved up. The 42, weighing in at 172 kg is not exactly lightweight but given the category it falls in, it’s a fair bit lighter than its rivals.
The rider ergonomics is relaxed and comfortable allowing effortless cruising. Along with the cruising capabilities, the lower weight and powerful engine ensures that you can actually engage in a spirited riding if you’d wish to do so. All in all the Jawa is a handsome bike that will grab attention as it goes along the road while having the brawn to match the go with the looks.
Husqvarna Svartpilen/ Vitpilen 250:
The Swedish brand Husqvarna, who are known more for their off road/dirt riding machines teased the concept of an urban/street bike back in 2017. The production models soon followed and what we get here are the 250 cc models from the various lineup of models. And on a similar not like the Jawas and the Hondas, both the Svartpilen and Vitpilen share the same platform, the differences lying in terms of styling and a few equipment.
Interestingly, since the KTM group owns Husqvarna, the huskys are based on the successful KTM Duke 250, borrowing it’s powertrain as well as the chassis. Power figures from the liquid cooled 248.7 cc single producing 30 PS of peak power and 24 Nm of torque. The styling is vastly different as the bikes are more neo/retro than the sharp and aggressive design of the Duke. Even in the concept phase, the huskys looked smashing and the same goes with the production models.
The Svartpilen is more of a street scrambler with higher handlebars, chunky tires as well as a tank rack, the Vitpilen is more of a modern take on cafe racers with low slung clip-on handlebars. The minimalist body work with slim panels, a tapered tail section as well as the rounded LED headlamps compete the neo/retro look. The details are also present all over with the neat instrument cluster, LED indicators and Husqvarna badging all over the bike.
All in all, the bikes look very premium and kind of futuristic, grabbing a lot of attention. Performance and riding experience is so much similar to the Duke’s engaging and fun characteristics except for the fact that the seating position is a bit higher. Worth mentioning is the fact that the wheels are also lighter than the Duke.
The bikes get all the standard equipment like ABS with a supermoto mode and a slipper clutch. Also, they are priced lower than the Duke so the huskys make a very interesting prospect. With an interesting take on the neo/retro styling the Svartpilen/Vitpilen look really cool, are very fun to ride and tempting. Our only wish is that they brought the bigger 401’s, based on the Duke 390 here as well.