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5 All-Time Classic British Motorcycles

Nothing kills the mood like finding out that the gorgeous classic bike you’ve been drooling over is actually just a modern reproduction. It’s not that the off-the-shelf retro replicas aren’t nice, but sometimes what you really want is a vintage-looking bike that’s actually vintage. Today, we invite you to drool over these five classic (actually classic) British motorcycles:

Favourite Classic British Motorcycle #1 – Royal Enfield Bullet

The Royal Enfield Bullet is now produced in India, but the original Royal Enfield company called England home. And here’s why it’s a classic: the Bullet has the longest production run of any motorcycle, having remained continuously in production since 1948. Even in its current incarnation, the Bullet retains many of its original features, including drum brakes at both ends and an extra lever above the kickstarter.  (WWW)

Favourite Classic British Motorcycle #2 – Norton Manx

The Norton Manx is a British racing motorcycle that was produced between 1947 and 1962. And here’s why it’s a classic: Norton contested every Isle of Man TT race from the inaugural 1907 event into the 1970s, a feat unrivalled by any other manufacturer. Following the 1970s, and the rise of the Classic Motorcycle Racing movement, a large number of Manxs have returned to the track to capture glory once again.  (WWW)

Favourite Classic British Motorcycle #3 – BSA Lightning

The BSA Lightning, born in Birmingham, was designed to be the all-round sportbike of the 1960s. And here’s why it’s a classic: a gold-painted BSA Lightning outfitted with missiles featured in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. The bike was driven by UK motorcycle champion Bill Ivy, who was wearing a blond wig in order to make it appear that Bond girl Fiona Volpe, played by Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi, was driving.  (WWW)

Favourite Classic British Motorcycle #4 – Vincent Black Shadow

What’s not to love about a vehicle with such a mysterious name? The Vincent Black Shadow was a hand-built motorcycle produced by Vincent HRD beginning in 1948. The bike earned its name because every inch of it, including the engine, was coloured black. And this is why it’s a classic: Journalist Hunter S. Thompson once wrote that, “If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die.”  (WWW)

Favourite Classic British Motorcycle #5 – Triumph Bonneville

The Triumph Bonneville is named after the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, where motorcycle companies made attempts on motorcycle speed records, but beyond the name the bike is all British. And this is why it’s a classic: the stunt man Evel Knievel chose the Triumph Bonneville for his attempt at jumping the Caesars Palace fountain. It’s also closely associated with Henry Winkler in his role as the Fonz on “Happy Days,” though his bike was actually a different model.  (WWW)

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