You may not look as good as James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, but the right motorbike can definitely boost your sex appeal. Whether it’s a model made by a major manufacturer inspired by a superbike, a whimsically retro design put together by a boutique brand or even a bike that seems to come from the future, there are plenty of modern motorbikes to transform you from bland into Brando in The Wild One. We’ve picked 10 of our favourites.
Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The Triumph 1200cc Bonneville Bobber is the latest in a long line of Triumph bobber customs stretching back to the 1940s. It’s described as encapsulating the iconic brand's minimalist styling principles and muscular stance. It boasts classic features such as a stripped back, low single seat, wide flat bars and hard tail look with creature comforts like a new frame, chassis and suspension plus an adjustable riding position for a comfortable ride.
The bike also boasts rider-focused technology including ride-by-wire torque assist clutch, switchable traction control and road and rain full power riding modes. Powered by a 1200cc high torque engine, as fitted in the Bonneville T120, there is a dedicated ‘Bobber’ tune for more torque and the magnificent motorbike comes in a choice of four colours.
Price: £10,500 | Buy Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The Ronin motorbike was conceived out of the demise of Harley Davidson’s Buell brand in 2009 and the concept is now available to buy as a limited release of 47 bikes. The front end of the Ronin has a fork designed to improve the handling of the Buell chassis and tunable suspension to suit a rider’s weight and the road conditions, while the aggressive-looking front fender is made of lightweight carbon fibre.
The bike boasts a powerful Rotax engine that’s cooled by a radiator perpendicular to the airflow upfront. The distinctive motorbike also has stacked low and high beam headlights, an RFID chip that works as a key, an immobiliser and speedometer housed within a single cast aluminium nacelle and a digital display for showing the speed, water temperature, voltage and mileage.
Price: £31,343 | Buy Ronin
BMW HP4 RACE
This year, BMW will launch the ‘most exclusive model in its history to date’ – the HP4 RACE. There is very little information to date. The only definitive details provided by Stephan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad, are about the bike’s the frame and wheels. He said: ‘The HP4 RACE will feature the full carbon fibre main frame and carbon fibre rims…We will reveal more about this model next spring.’ What is certain is that the luxury motorbike will be manufactured by hand and available as a limited series in the second half of 2017. While no price has been revealed, the ‘exclusive’ vehicle will surely not come cheap.
Price: TBC | Buy BMW HP4 RACE
Triumph Street Cup
Triumph has bolstered its in-demand Bonneville family with the roll-out of its striking 900cc Street Cup. The cafe racer-style bike has the same tank as the company's Street Twin, but with a new bullet seat, higher riding position and two-tone paint, perfect for racing. It's sportier than the Street Twin and has sporty fork protectors, a liquid-cooled 900cc engine, switchable traction control and shorter exhausts for a great noise. And there's a handy extra - a USB socket for charging phones and other devices hidden under the seat, with more than 120 accessories also available.
Price: £8,600 | Buy Triumph Street Cup
Bandit 9 EDEN
It's as if the Bandit9 EDEN has sped from the paged of a Sci-fi novel. Based on the 1967 Honda Supersport, the EDEN looks futuristic and is available in either gold or platinum. The motorbike has a handcrafted steel unibody and even the fuel tank and exhaust boast elegant, flowing lines more befitting of a sculpture than a motorbike. Little details such as integrated LED brake light, 'cognac brown' leather seat and a black marble gas cap for an arty and luxurious touch.
Price: £9,823 | Buy Bandit 9 EDEN
Honda 2017 VFR800X Crossrunner
Honda's VFR800X Crossrunner first went on sale in 2011, combining a touring platform and an upright adventure-orientated position to create an exciting all-rounder. The latest revamped model features refinements to the V4 engine and is chock full of advanced technologies including LED headlights, Honda's Selectable Torque Control system and automatic turn signal canceller. Designed to work unnoticed by the rider, the bike compares front and rear wheel speed differential when turning (via the ABS wheel sensors) and calculates when to cancel indication when going straight again. Built for the streets, it's said to follow a theme of 'tough sophistication' balancing adventure with comfort, thanks to an ergonomic, adjustable seat. There's also a charger and adjustable windscreen.
Price: £10,739 | Buy Honda 2017 VFR800X Crossrunner
Type 9 EVO
The Type 9 EVO by Zero Engineering is a beast of a bike. With its stable geometry and the linked suspension, it may look like an old school rigid frame but the Type 9 EVO is a soft tail. The bike has rugged springer front forks that are also smooth and controllable and a V80 S&S Evolution BigTwin engine for power. It has 5-speed transmission and a large tank to give it a 100-mile range -perfect for cruising - which can be customised with arty designs. For an unfussy look, the bike's instruments are displayed above the Springer Front Fork and its forward controls are designed to be easy to use to ensure crisp brakes and shifts.
Price: £23,675 | Buy Type 9 EVO
BMW R nineT Racer
A popular style in the 1970s, BMW's retro-inspire R nineT Racer will be available in March. Crouched and compact, the nostalgic motorbike is intended to have 'a sense of old-school sporty aspiration' thanks to its short half-fairing, hump seat, stub handlebars and set-back footrests, with modern technology fitted as standard. It packs a powerful 1,170cc boxer engine with an output of 100 horsepower and has aluminium wheels and fork bridges as well as a non-metallic white and silver paint job.
Price: £11,538 | Buy BMW R nineT Racer
Bandit 9 EVE Liquid Black
Another masterpiece from Bandit 9, the EVE motorcycle, which burst onto the scene like a streamlined bullet in 2014 has got a slick modern makeover in 'liquid black'. Its futuristic shape is rumoured to be inspired by HR Giger’s biomechanical paintings. Like the original, which became an instant design classic as well as a collector’s item, the revamped motorcycle is based on a 125cc Honda Supersport. It has a handcrafted steel unibody coated in reflective black chrome for understated elegance, a streamlined black beacon cowl, sculptural handcrafted exhaust, dualshock rear suspension and inverted front suspensions. It even has a quirky black denim seat.
Price: £8,544 | Buy Bandit 9 EVE Liquid Black
Honda’s balancing motorbike
For motorcycle novices, balancing on a bike in busy traffic can be daunting. But Honda has come up with a solution to this problem – a futuristic self-balancing bike unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Using Honda’s robotics technology the vehicle reduces the possibility of falling over while the motorcycle is at rest. It uses Honda’s Moto Riding Assist Technology to achieve this instead of relying on gyroscopes, which add a heft weight.
While the bike is currently a concept as was unveiled as part of Honda’s Cooperative Mobility Ecosystem, connecting the power of artificial intelligence, robotics and big data, its hoped the idea will catch on to improve motorcycle safety in the near future.