The 12 Best Retro Scrambler Motorcycles For 2023!

The 12 Best Retro Scrambler Motorcycles For 2023!

so look you want a super cool looking retro scrambler in 2023 but you don’t know which one to choose well here are 12 of my picks and we’re going price order ascending and I’ll score them along the way and at the end I’ll tell you my winners now first up the most affordable bike in the list at under five grand is the Royal Enfield scram411 now I wrote this one plenty on the launch last year and I have to say its standout feature has to be the looks it’s Loosely based upon their Himalayan adventure bike but they’ve stripped it back and removed some of the hardware and given it some more bright and Vivid color schemes now I actually think this is quite a nice looking bike so I think I’ll give it a B for that and

you also have to say it’s quite authentic in its retroness it’s got the air cooled engine a single cylinder and it’s quite an old school and simple riding experience it genuinely has a bit of the feel of riding an older bike and so I’ll give it an a for the Retro category but performance is probably where this bike comes up a little bit short you know while that engine does have a lot of arm it’s not great on power at just over 20 horses and it does weigh in at nearly 200 kilograms so to say it’s a little sluggish on the throttle is a bit of an understatement now they have given it a smaller 19-inch front wheel versus the 21 on the Himalayan and that’s in a bid to improve the road handling But ultimately it’s got Budget Tires Budget Brakes and budget suspension and so it does feel for me a little bit of budget all round on performance and so I have to go I’m afraid with a c now where it does far A little bit better is with its off-road ability so I’m going to give it a b here because it does stand fairly tall it’s got plenty of chug in torque way down low and it’s so cheap that you don’t really need to worry too much about dropping it and as such I think I’ll have to give it an A on value for money because look two wheels and an engine for less than five grand is pretty impressive and it’s nice looking too and it probably has a little bit more pride of ownership than you’d expect for that much money that gives it a total of 11 points so three for

an A2 for a b one for a c and we’ve got a benchmark now for the rest of the list not a direct competitor for the Enfield is the new Honda CL500 and I went on the launch for this a couple of weeks back and I’ve got to say I really grew to like the looks especially with the accessorize fly screen and hand guards that are finished in White and the high front mug guard that sort of throw back to the plain white fiberglass accessories of the 60s and 70s I guess but the thing is I think I’m probably alone on liking the looks of this bike because of the comments that I’ve seen on my YouTube and Instagram when I’ve posted about it I think it’s a bike that really does polarize people and a lot of people are saying it’s not great looking especially for a retro Scrambler so I think probably this one’s got to be a b I’ll go halfway

The 12 Best Retro Scrambler Motorcycles For 2023!

between my own opinion and the public but I think most the problem stems from the fact that it shares the same platform as their Rebel 500 Cruiser so the same engine and some of the frame as well and that really shapes how it looks and it doesn’t necessarily lend itself that easily to a retro Scrambler I mean there are a few styling keys but back to the original CL bikes in Honda’s lineup and you can kind of see what they’re doing there but fundamentally because of the way it looks and also the fact that the parallel twin engine comes from their modern cb500 so it’s quite revvy and it’s got a 180 degree crank it doesn’t really feel much like you’re riding an old school bike at all now the flip side of this is it makes much more decent power than the Enfield so 46 horsepower Peak which is a lot more appropriate for its 191 kilogram curb weight and then you’ve got decent Nissan brakes show a suspension Dunlop tires and it’s all a bit of a step up from the M field and so I’ll give this one a b and I was actually quite surprised at how well it did when you give it some gas on some twisty roads it was a lot of fun off-road well it does get the 19-inch front wheel and some sort of semi-off-road looking tires but really those are just styling

cues in my book and we did get to test it out on some easy gravel roads and it did okay but I think I’d have to go see because I probably take the Enfield on anything slightly more challenging than an easy the back road this is a road bike primarily and that’s where it does best and then for Value I think I have to go for b as well it’s about a grand more than the M field but it’s about a grand beta on the road now before we get on to the next bike I just want to say a massive thanks to quad lock for sponsoring this video mounting your phone on the bars is the quickest and easiest way to add navigation to your bike and for me quad lock make the best motorcycle foam mounts in the business now on my personal bike I use a range of their products so I’ve got their handlebar mount Pro which is CNC aluminum and looks super premium I use their vibration dampener which helps to protect your phone’s camera from those unwanted harmful Vibes there’s a wireless charging head so if your phone is wireless charging compatible you don’t need to worry about keeping it Juiced up and also you can run that to your battery

with their smart power system which will deliver the power but also switch off when the bike’s not running to make sure it doesn’t drain your battery plus they’ve got a whole ecosystem of other great mounts so things like desk mounts Car mounts bicycle mounts and armbands for when you go out running and so you should be able to find a mounting solution to suit your specific needs genuinely I love quad lock products and you’ll find a link in the description to their website where you can find them all and down there you’ll also find a discount code specifically for my viewers so once again a massive thanks to quad lock for their support and with that back to the bikes next up the fan take Caballero 500 which has been around for a few years now but it’s still a great option and a fantastic looking design you’ve got the little bench seat the number boards on the side the spoke wheels with the

knobbly tires and it all combines for something that looks almost like a custom build but straight out of the factory and you’ve got some nice color schemes too and you’ve got the deluxe variants which add a little bit of class to it there’s also a rally variant and so everyone should be able to find something that pretty much fits their taste in terms of the Scrambler Niche looks wise this one’s definitely an a for me but from a retroness perspective well visually is based upon the old line of Caballero bikes that Fanta used to produce so there is some kind of history and lineage there but ultimately this is built upon like a modern dirt bike that’s what fantic primarily do they make Enduro bikes and motocross bikes and so it kind of feels like one to ride you’ve got that big single cylinder it’s plasticky it’s lightweight it’s tall in the suspension and it’s just like riding a dirt bike on the road and I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly nostalgic experience so I’ll probably go for a bee here it looks a little bit retro it rides like a current day dirt bike now performance wise if we’re talking on the road which is where these bikes will do most of their riding then I think I’ll have to go for another B it’s totally fine in fact it’s quite a lot of fun and it makes just shy of 40 horsepower and it’s very slender 150 kilograms dry so it’s very chuckable and agile and there’s plenty of low down grunt there but I just wouldn’t primarily choose to ride a dirt bike on the road it’s not really what it’s built for and that’s what this feels like it’s not very refined compared to something like the Honda where every excels though as you’d expect is its off-road ability so it’s way more lightweight and it’s taller and it’s easier to get on with than most of the other bikes on this list and you’ve also got to consider the fact that the Bodywork is made of plastic so it will more often spring

back where metal would bend and also if you do damage it Beyond reuse then it should be a little bit cheaper to replace plus you’ve got the torque of that big single cylinder engine you’ve got Pirelli scorpion rally tires as standard and so clearly this one’s an a for off-road value for money well for me it’s another B it’s a Chinese built engine so that’s how they keep it relatively affordable and it isn’t the most luxuriously finished bike on the list stuff like the switch gear feels a little bit on the budget side but it is under seven gram which is still pretty unrumble and does make it a very tempting proposition now another bike that’s been put to the test just recently we reviewed this one in the studio this year it’s the Moto mourinhi semetso scr now again we’ve got a Chinese built bike with a historic Italian brand and Italian design on top of it as well and so it looks wise I think this one comes out a little bit like a b it’s not the best looking bike on the list it’s not classic Scrambler but also it isn’t too bad and it’s quite interesting I admire that they’ve done their own Moto Marine thing rather than just copy like um you know the Bonneville style scramblers retroness I’m not sure it has that old school feel apart from the spokes and the bench scene but otherwise it’s pretty modern looking also the engine is based upon a

Kawasaki parallel twin and so it feels quite recent liquid cooled the 180 degree crank and it doesn’t really give you the feeling that you’re riding an old bike and you’ve got that big TFT display in the cockpit so I think it’s a c for retro nurse performance wise it’s not bad we’re starting to get to decent power figures here I put a 650 parallel twin so it makes about 60 horsepower but they’re very solidly built to the point where it is quite plump so the dry weight they’re quoting is about 200 kilograms and then when you’ve got it fully fueled up and full of oil and cooling you must be looking at about 220 230 kilograms so 60 horsepower isn’t a great deal for that amount of mass breaks a decent note from Brembo you’ve got adjustable suspension as well and it does handle surprisingly sweetly it’s a very nicely set up bike it’s just not gonna ever blow your mind and so I’ve gone for a b here C for off-road it’s very low slung not much protection underneath so it looks a bit vulnerable and I don’t think it’s a bike you’d want to take off-road apart from like easy trails and then value for money let’s say B it’s a good bike you get a lot for your money especially with the dash and all the functionality it gives you and the Finish is pretty good too as well lots of little motor Marine logos dotted around the bike it feels like there’s attention to detail but of course it is Chinese built and then you’ve got the Kawasaki Clone Engine and you’ve got to factor that in next up we’ve got the xsr 700 Legacy from Yamaha which isn’t really a Scrambler you know through and through but it’s the closest thing I could find in their lineup

and they’ve got some sort of intention of making it appeal to the Scrambler market so the xsr 700 is their middleweight naked retro and then this version The Legacy gets a bench seat some high Scrambler bars some off-road style foot pegs and then the semi-knobbly Pirelli mt-60rs tires well they’re kind of more like flat track style tires and so it looks wise I think I’ll give this a b it is a nice looking bike but it is also a bit utilitarian and sort of industrial looking and then retroness I’ll have to go for a c i mean it’s built upon the cp2 parallel twin platform so the same engine as the mt07 modern looking naked and there is always something that doesn’t really look or ride old school apart from the round headlight and the throwback speed blocks on the tank but that’s pretty much it performance though I’ve got to give this one an a just for the pure liveliness I mean all the cp2 bikes are always complete wheelie monsters and the xsr is no exception despite the slightly you know Heritage bias styling sure the suspension is a little bit basic and bouncy and the braking is totally fine but they’re just so lightweight and flickable and the throttle response is so Lively and fun but in terms of of fun delivered on the road this will be one of the best on the list off-road isn’t really a thing with this bike so I think we’ll go for another C again it’s low slung vulnerable underneath so it’s really primarily made for the street and then another beat on value I do have some bikes that aren’t bees but yeah it’s a little bit more than the mt-07 but it does basically the same thing just in a different styling package and so really it’s up to you as to whether you think that extra thousand pounds or so is worth it just for Aesthetics much more beautiful in my book is the Triumph Scrambler 900 formerly titled the street scrambler and this thing basically oozes that classic Scrambler stance and look and it’s one of those bikes that will constantly trick non-bikers into t

hinking you’re riding an actual classic now the Steve McQueen scramblers of the past are constantly used by Triumph in their marketing materials and they sort of use it as a visual standard for this category of bike but to be fair to them I don’t think any other does it better than this especially in the Khaki green paint job a for looks in my book and I think go a on retroness as well it’s a really simple bike to ride it does have a few little mod cons like traction control and abs and a couple of riding modes but the cockpit is so stripped back and simple that you don’t really notice that stuff working beneath the surface and it really does feel simple and like you’re riding something older than a current day bike performance wise again they’re a little bit tier about 223 kilograms wet and there isn’t a great deal of power for a 900 CC parallel twin so it makes 64 horsepower but what it does have is plenty of torque so 80 newton meters Peak and it delivers it super low in the Rev range at 3250 RPM so it’s not really about chasing those top end revs it just chugs down low and pulls really hard even if it dies off a little bit at the top and can’t make up for that weight handling is fine it’s sort of nice and stable and neutral and so on the road I think I’ll give it a b because it’s like really Pleasant and torquey even if it’s not an absolute blast off-road this bike will be all right you do get the 19-inch front wheel you’ve got a bit of protection

under the bike and the high level exhaust even if the whole bike does sit a little bit low and so I think I’ll go for a b again here certainly not your first choice but not the last either and then value is another basically you’re looking at 10 grand for this bike and although it’s not the most Thrills you can get for that sort of money it is all about style and character this bike and it does delivers both of those in Spades now just a couple hundred quid more though will get you one of the new Ducati Scrambler icons now they’ve updated it for this year with a new visual design that still references the old Ducati scramblers with the yellow tank and the side panels but you’ve just got some more modern shapes and there’s also details like the new wheels and the new headlight personally it’s grown on me very quickly and I think I really like the styling on this bike so I’ll go for an a here although they have sacrificed a little bit of the Retro flavor especially in the cockpit where they’ve now kitted it out with a big rectangular TFT display so while it is still air cooled and I do love the engine on these bikes I think I’ll have to give it a B for the Retro nurse but the engine does come to the fort on the road and that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy riding these 800 scramblers decent power and torque for Road riding so 73 horsepower and 65 newton meters a peak torque and they’ve also got rid of quite a bit of weight this

year so 10 kilograms or so and that’s 185 kilograms curb now so pretty light and agile for the Retro Scrambler category and also Tim went and rode this one on the launch for us in Spain earlier this year and he says one of the big advancements is the new ride by wire throttle which has really improved the throttle response and smoothness so it’s a really sweet handling little bike which is perfect for Scrambler style riding which I reckon is majority Country Roads and back Lanes as well as a little bit of City work and commuting and so I’ll give this one an A on the road off-road while it does get quite High handlebars so you can just about stand up on it it does get the flat track style Pirelli tires that we’ve already mentioned but really is majority Road bias the only thing I’m thinking about though is watching Moto Geo on his channel he really thrashes his off-road and makes it look pretty impressive and so I think I’m a bit torn on this one I’ll probably go like b i buy one mainly for the road but if you do want to try out you know like I say back roads gravel roads fire roads that kind of thing it can probably do it just about it is the first bike though to come up as a c for Value though because they used to make a Black Version I think it was called the Scrambler dark and and it was about eight grand it was the previous gen so simpler Electronics but what it was was a nice characterful easy to ride Soulful but not

too expensive bike and now it’s gone from the lineup and so now the entry point is just shy of 10 grand which seems a little bit steep because although you do now get the extra electronics I’m not convinced you really need phone connectivity on a retro bike also it’s now less than two grand up to its bigger capacity sibling the 1100 Scrambler so you can still get the dark model here for just under 12 Grand and I think it’s a really great bike and perhaps a little bit underrated I’ll go beyond looks because it does look more chunky than the 800s and perhaps a little bit worse off for it but I’ll have to go aeon retroness because that awesome big air cooled L twin engine that gives it some real character and then you don’t have all the electronics that do distract a little bit from the Retro riding experience on the road this bike really surprised me it really hit the spot for me so a bit more power than the 800 so 86 horsepower quite a lot more talker 88 newton meters more weight I will admit it is a little bit more chunky but it does feel really planted and cushy and then also you’ve got the twin discs up front and better suspension and so all round I thought this was a really nice bike to ride on the road you’ve also got a bit more beefiness to the exhaust note there’s lots of shove in the mid-range and it handles a bit better than I expected to and so I think I’ll have to go for an A on the riding experience and that might be a little bit against the grain because most people seem to prefer the 800s but I really like this C for off-road there’s absolutely no intention for it to be an off-roader it’s got flat bars it’s low slung it’s scrambler in name and styling only and then B for Value because it’s not that much more than the 800 and you do get a more substantial bike in terms of power torque sound and stature now next up we’ve got a pair of bikes from BMW both on their r9t platform and we’ll start with the Scrambler so this is a typical flat boxer twin that they’re so well known for and it does make kid distinctive both in terms of the engine’s character and how they

feel but also the looks now I’ve gone for a b here just because it’s a bit of an acquired taste and also the bike doesn’t look that tidy around the back of the cylinder blocks again a bit like the Yamaha where it looks a bit industrial whereas something like the Triumph it feels like every little detail has been considered I’ve gone for a on retrainers here again because it’s an air-called boxer twin that gives it that unique feel in this market and of course harks back to many BMW boxes that have gone before it and they’ve also kept the rest of the bike quite simple so while it does get some tech options and ride arrays in the accessories catalog if you want to you can keep it pretty clean and simple in terms of gadgets now performance wise these bikes are surprisingly quick so up over 100 horsepower bags of mid-range and they really do pick up quite quickly and it’s surprisingly power wheel is going out of corners and the other thing with the boxer twin engine is it keeps its weight so nice and low that they feel super stable and they go through corners surprisingly well now I guess that’s the website of building it purely for the road and that’s exactly what this bike is for so I’ll go for an a for Road performance but again it’s a bit too low and exposed for proper off-roading and so I think I’ll have to go for another C value for money well we are getting towards the top of the price range here and it’s not that feature Laden I mean the fundamentals are good and it’s a really distinctive bike it’s got its own character versus the V Twins and parallel Twins or the rest of this list but all the little extras do add up so things like it comes on cast Wheels which don’t look that scrambler-y and so you’ll be paying 400 quid just to get the spokes and then it’s getting on for like 13 Grand so another C here for value now the urban GS is the same sort of thing but with a slightly different styling package so there’s another option there if you like the look of

it but basically it’s the same bike underneath and so I’ll give it the same score across the board apart from an a for looks because I think it just looks that little bit more special but we’re only talking another 300 quid up to the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC and I’ll tell you straight up this is a very strong Contender so the XC is the more affordable base model which is a little lower slung and slightly more Road bias or you’ve got the jacked up XE model which also gets a few extra gadgets like lean sensitive Rider raids but I think either way they’re both beautiful looking bikes and perhaps the most desirable on this list and so straight away I’m going for an A on Lux it’s a bit like the Scrambler 900 but it’s just on steroids it looks more aggressive and off-roady because of the big 21 inch front wheel and also the generally bigger stance and stature as for retreness well it does get similar levels of attention to detail and the Bonneville twin really does give it a meaty feel and a great note at the exhaust but they have added a lot of features to it like phone connectivity and lots of Rider modes and so you need a TFT display to manage all that and so while overall it does feel quite retro I think I’ll score it a b just because you do feel like you’re on something that’s basically equivalent to a modern adventure bike in terms of capabilities just with a super cool looking styling kit now for me these bikes are an a out on the road

The 12 Best Retro Scrambler Motorcycles For 2023!

you get so much guts in the lower mid range but where the 900 dies off at the top this just has a little bit more and for Road speeds you’ve got plenty of punch to keep you entertained so it’s 90 horsepower Peak and 110 newton meters of peak torque I mean yes they are a little bit tall and gangly and you’ve got that big 21 inch front wheel so it’s not going to feel super crisp on the handling and it’s not exactly that light either at 230 kilograms but just the engine character and tone and the fun you can have with it on little twisty Gravelly Backroads it’s a real joy to ride in my opinion anyway now the weight does become a bit of an issue if you want to ride it off-road 230 kilograms wet for both models it’s not exactly light and so you’d be absolutely gutted if you dropped here because it’s such a beautiful looking bike they’re not that cheap either and also it’s going to be tricky to pick it back up on the flip side it does get this nice tool stand so you’ve got appropriate wheel sizes and tires and also the suspension travel on the XE version you’ve got 250 mil front and rear which is like rivaling some pretty serious Adventure bikes so I think on balance we’ll go B for off-roading and I think I’ll go beyond value too it comes with way more spec and features than the BMW for example as standard and you’ve also got great equipment like the wheels the Brembo brakes the shower and Olin suspension you know it’s all pretty

impressive and as you’d expect at this price point but the thing is if you want the XE model it’s more like 13 and a half Grand and then anything but the black paint job adds another 350 quid so really if you want the most capable version of this bike you’re starting to look at about 14 Grand and so yeah it’d be hard to score it a on value but top of the list they’re just under 15 grand is the Indian FTR rally so this is based upon their FTR flat track platform but jacked up a bit and made to look a little bit more rugged with the spoke wheels and the knobblies on this rally model now it is a cool looking bike you can definitely see the flat track inspiration but it’s not exactly a classic Scrambler because you’ve got that trellis frame and the tank shape and so I think I’ll go be here and also B for retro nurse I mean it does look a little bit bit old school but the riding experience with the liquid cool V-Twin and the new TFT display just makes it feel very current now these things do really have a proper kick probably the quickest bike on this list I mean I have one as a long timer last year and it’s got 120 horsepower Peak

120 newton meters a peak torque a really Lively throttle response and so they always deliver the Thrills pretty much anytime you go out you get a great soundtrack at the exhaust plenty of ground clearance great Brembo brakes and so it’s rare that you come back not grinning from ear to ear even if it’s not the most practical or refined bike and so I’ll have to go for an a purely for the Thrills off-road well it’s taller than the other ftr’s you’ve got to give it that it’s got a bit more travel in the suspension a bit more ground clearance it does get the bigger Wheels it gets the spokes and the knobbly tires but the thing is the foot Peg position is still quite sporty and tucked up and high that’s what gives it decent clearance on the road but the downside is it’s super difficult to actually stand up on and so really if you’re going to ride it off-road you got to be fairly committed to riding on gravel and dry flattish trails and riding it in more of a seated flat track style and then you can probably have quite a bit of fun so I’m gonna go be here and then C for value of course I mean American bikes always come up super pricey in the UK I guess because of import costs and so while it might be okay on value in the US really here it’s hard to justify the extra Grand over for example the fully kitted out Triumph XE so that’s all the bikes scored and here are my recommendations based upon those final scores so if you want something that’s the cheapest possible Scrambler looks quite cool then probably go for the Royal Enfield especially if you’re not that

bothered about going fast if you want something that’s really off-road biased then super lightweight then the fan take Caballero 500 could be the bike for you the Scrambler 900 from Triumph in my eyes offers the most old-school simple riding experience in a great looking design that really hits that retro spot the Ducati scramblers are also a great option I mean they have become a lot more modern lately with the tech and the TFT display but still it’s a great road bike with a little bit of Scrambler attitude it’d still be high on my list but if you’ve got the budget and you want the most feature-laden bike with decent off-road ability and a sweet engine for Road riding and for me the most desirable in terms of looks and retro styling cues then it has to be the Scrambler 1200 from Triumph as always though let me know what you’d pick down in the comments below and if you want to see a full review of the 1200 Scrambler Tim took one out last year I’ll link to it here on the screen give it a click give it a watch let us know what you think many thanks

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