If you’re thinking of a new motorcycle in your future, then there’s a good chance you’ll be looking at motorcycles from the past with modern classic motorcycles very much in vogue right now.
From cruisers to roadsters, scramblers to baggers, whether your budget is slim or hefty, there will be a new-for-2023 Modern Classic model coming your way over the next few months.
Headliners include the funky new Ducati Scrambler, the chilled new Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 and the absolutely bonkers 2023-rendition of the Harley-Davidson Breakout.
So settle back, take it easy and get a good look at which new machinery is heading your way in 2023…
Ducati’s dinkiest model ‘scrambles’ into 2023 with a Ducati Scrambler overhaul more substantial than you might clock initially.
With its frisky dynamics, youthful vigour and unmistakable charm, while Ducati prefers to consider the ‘Scrambler’ as its own separate sub-brand, you don’t have to go far to appreciate the Italian firm’s quality and attention to detail.
With the latest generation focusing on the smaller 803cc model line, the 2023 Scrambler comes in three flavours initially: Icon, Full Throttle and Nightshift.
Whichever you choose, the firm hasn’t deviated far from its signature looks, with the entry-level Icon - priced at £9,995 - a bargainous way into Ducati ownership, while the Full Throttle - which adds a quickshifter and sportier riding position - and the Nightshift - with its more demure appearance - coming in at £10,995
Honda turns its attention towards Harley-Davidson with a ‘Touring’ bagger version of its popular CMX1100 Rebel cruiser.
Sprouting a pair of spacious luggage cases to the rear and a broad ‘Batwing’ fairing on the porthole nose, the CMX1100 T Rebel cuts both a dash and the air to ensure a less buffeted riding experience.
Retaining the same 85bhp 1084cc engine as its standard sibling, the Touring retains the same torquey set-up to ensure plenty of low down grunt and pulling power.
With prices starting at £10,449, the Honda CMX1100 T Rebel is just under £1k pricier, with the DCT automatic a further £900 more expensive at £11,349.
The so-called Power Cruiser category of ‘cruiser’ may not be terribly populated in the UK with its narrow lanes and potholed highways, but it has a mighty behemoth of an option in the brand-new Ducati Diavel V4.
The latest model in Ducati’s range to receive the firm’s superb V4 engine architecture, the Diavel boasts a muscular 126Nm of torque @7500rpm from the 1158cc rendition of the ‘Granturismo’ engine, while a 240-section rear Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyre and a host of electronic goodies - including four riding modes, three power models and launch control - ensure it has lost none of its weight-belying agility.
With a contemporary refresh for the handsome and masculine looks, complete with flared ‘nostrils’ and turbine-like rear wheel trims, the Diavel V4 may still be difficult to categorise - and pricey at £23,595 - but it remains one-of-a-kind in the segment.
The long awaited third spin-off from Royal Enfield’s hugely popular 650 Twins range, the Super Meteor 650 brings a dash of laid-back cruiser charm to the firm’s flagship line-up, alongside the Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650.
Looking to build on the success of the smaller Meteor 350, Royal Enfield has dusted off the Super Meteor name to appeal as a more powerful Honda CMX500 Rebel rival, or a cheaper competitor for the Kawasaki Vulcan S.
Generating a leisurely 47bhp and weighing in at 241kg, the Super Meteor 650 may not be designed for riding thrills, but it’s comfortable, smooth and cool in an honest kind of way, while the £6,799 makes it a very tempting proposition.
New Norton gets back to its roots with the Norton Commando 961, which has been given a reboot and refresh to bring the retro model up to date and - thankfully - ensure it now meets quality standards.
Two versions are available - Sport and Cafe Racer - with the Commando 961 to be retaining the same traditional appearance to ensure it will continue to be won and sold on its classic looks.
Not the most modern roadster under that vintage skin, the Commando 961 pootles along with gusto with peak torque at 81Nm and a peak power figure of 76bhp.
While certainly more accessible than the £44,000 V4SV sportsbike, the Commando 961 remains a touch expensive for its positioning at £16,499, but few motorcycles deliver the same emotions as a Norton.
A homage to the great hot rods of decades gone by, the funky Harley-Davidson Breakout has been updated looking meaner than ever with its low-slung seating position and high-set handlebars looking every inch the modern-day Easy Rider.
Making use of the biggest version of the Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin engine usually reserved for CVO and ST models in Harley’s range, the Breakout may not ooze power at 101bhp, but with 168Nm of torque it pulls like an ox.
Other additions for the 2023 Breakout include standard cruise control, and traction control is an available option, while it now comes in Harley’s signature Baja Orange.
The top-selling Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650 twins receives a cosmetic nip-and-tuck for 2023 with new graphics and colours to help that modern classic look pop.
The ideals of the 650 twins remain intact though, so they’re still trendy, great value with prices starting at £6,599 and easy to ride.
The Indian Sport Chief gets a bit of FTR1200-inspired fizz added to it as a new addition to the American firm’s range.
Cut from a similar cloth to the Dark Horse with its matte paint finish, Indian refers to the Sport Chief as the ‘ultimate performance cruiser’, one that makes great use of its mammoth 1890cc engine, while features include sportsbike-inspired components, from upside-down forks, beefy radial brakes and a nose fairing to the taller, hump-backed ‘gun-fighter’ saddle and remote-reservoir shocks.
The Harley-Davidson Nightster gets the ‘Special’ treatment with a new edition of the Milwaukee firm’s latest sport cruiser.
For the most part, the Nightster Special is a more lavishly equipped upgrade over the standard model, with new cross-spoke wheels, a pillion seat, orange inserts on the engine casing and exhaust, plus a retro-style for the badging.
It will set you back an extra £1,200 over the standard Nightster at £15,395, which pushes it into Sportster S territory…
Following on from the Yamaha XSR900 reboot, the Yamaha XSR700 Legacy has also been given a refresh, even if it falls just short of a full overhaul.
Designed around Yamaha’s so-called ‘Faster Sons’ philosophy, the XSR700 Legacy eschews some of its retro detailing in favour of cleaner, more contemporary lines, a Scrambler-esque silhouette and new ‘heritage’ colours options.
Powered by the same 690cc CP2 engine as the MT-07, the XSR700 Legacy may lack some of Royal Enfield Interceptor 650’s charm, but - as with all Yamahas - it feels like a quality product if you can stretch to its £8,900 price tag.
Triumph is on a roll at the moment and it looks set to snowball furthermore when it launches its much anticipated new range of small capacity models in collaboration with Bajaj.
A bold dive into a more affordable market space, though Triumph has been cagey about which models will be built on a fresh new platform - which is expected to be around 250-400cc - a Street roadster (pictured, credit Autocar India) and Scrambler have been spotted undergoing development.
While we had to wait a long time between the Interceptor/Continental GT 650 and the recently launched Super Meteor 650, it seems we won’t have to wait long for the fourth spin-off from the Indian firm’s flagship platform.
The model in question will be the Shotgun, a sportier bobber version of the Super Meteor, that was previewed in 2020 by the SG650 concept.
While we’re unlikely to see the steampunk-style concept reach production in its entirety, expect it to stay fairly faithful nonetheless.
With the fanfare around its big return to the market after a 50 years hiatus, the time has come for BSA to decide on its future direction. While it has previously toyed with the idea of focusing on electric motorcycling, BSA did offer a preview of a Scrambler based on the Gold Star 650.
Though simply a design project at this stage, the Scrambler was well received with its chunky, utilitarian looks that shift into a more contemporary space for BSA compared with the vintage-style Gold Star 650.
Having kicked off its new era with overhauls for its V4SV and Commando 961 ranges, Norton is also now looking to move ahead with its first all-new model under TVS ownership, with the V4CR likely to come first.
Presented in 2021, the V4CR - which stands for Cafe Racer - borrows its design from both the V4 sportsbike and Commando 961 roadster for a final result that is both pleasantly modern-looking, yet drizzled in plenty of traditional signatures.
Dressed over the V4 running gear, it remains to be seen whether the final version will get updated mechanicals or whether it could even form the basis of Norton’s first promised electric model…