Mark my words, the next big trend in the custom motorcycle scene is going to be a revival of the 1980s. I am not sure why anyone would want to remember this awkward time in our species’ history, but when it comes to motorcycles, there is quaint intersection of modern and retro that resides in this forgotten decade.

We have already seen a prelude to this from a number of custom builds, bikes like Walt Siegl’s Bol d’Or line or Praëm BMW S1000RR showing us the happy marriage of a modern sport bike platform wrapped up in the 1970s. Here, we see the thought taken to its next logical progression.

If I am being real honest, there is just something pleasing about the 1980s aesthetic, especially when its mashed together with modern chassis and engine design. Don’t take my word for it though, dust off your Air Force 1’s and check out these renders from the folks over at Speedjunkies.

Source: Speedjunkies

  • Michael K

    Nice, but nothing screams ‘2016’ like that massive can on the Katana.

  • NortNad

    that Kawasaki looks bitchin! I never thought I would say that about a GPZ900. it doesn’t have a kick stand thou….

  • Shawn Kitchen

    Look no further than the genius that is AC Sanctuary for some absolutely jaw-dropping examples of what can be done with 80’s sportbikes.

  • Jon B.

    Bring it on, I’m in. But you should mention the Icon built Old Ghost, Major Tom, and Thunderchunky bikes as well.

  • Paulo Rosas

    Jensen you mean for production bikes? Because as you pointed out it is already one of the themes in the customs scene, XTR Pepo has a few as well etc.

    I am in if they could just “take off” the ugliness about them 80’s bikes like them Huge tails!
    This Daytona does a good job at it! and so did Walt with his MVs :)

  • DC
  • Jake Boggan

    Come on 1982 Yamaha XJ750 Maxims . . . that stacked rectangular headlight, nothing uglier or prettier after you get used to it.

  • Aaron Mezger

    I like big cans. :)

  • Aaron Mezger
  • Nicko55

    My perfect world includes 80’s superbike replicas from every manufacturer.

  • Michael K


  • Racing Enthusiast

    They need “Bad Boy Club”, “Ultra Hot”, “Local Motion”, “No 55 mph” and “Oakley Thermonuclear Protection” stickers.

  • Eric

    Loved that bike! I always figured that bike would sell in the US, if the price was right.

  • Eric

    Nice. I’m old, too. I had an Oakley sticker on my ’84 v45 Interceptor. Great bike, fun times!

  • Peter

    If it gets us away from the ‘designed by transformers’ angularity that we seem to be currently stuck in and back to some machines with smooth lines, I’m all for it. Actual round double headlights in a smooth contour 1/2 faring please.

  • madchilli

    I’m sure Katana’s would still sell if Suzuki made them.

  • Racing Enthusiast

    One of the locals had “Rebel Yell” painted on his 500 Interceptor’s fairing.

    Almost forgot the “Body Glove” stickers…


    Funny, whenever Im traveling overseas Im always taking pics of old school sportbikes. The shape, loud colors, and overall aesthetic just appeals to me for some reason. Whether it’ll become a trend or not, everything is a cycle no pun.

  • Shut your damn face!

  • It’s a thing, but not a thing…you know?

  • NortNad


  • appliance5000

    You can pick up a pre-gen ninja 250 for $1800.00. Such a tidy little machine.

  • Eric

    Having missed out on buying an original, but having ridden the original, it’s a bike that’s hard to forget. Truly an iconic design. It would be a great idea for Suzuki to build something like this.

  • wolfie

    akshuli , they do , for the japanese market in 250 , 400 and 1100 cc Flavoursbut with modern -R motors , I understand that the US market still gets the old GSX1100M EFE although with dodgey high clipons happy hunting!

  • Starmag

    I’m thinking of starting a Super fours for America lobbying group.

  • madchilli
  • It’s really hard to think of an iconic 80s Honda that would be worth replicating now with current Honda tech. Superdream? ;)

    But yes, R1-> FZ1000, GSXR750/1000 -> Katana, ZX10R -> GPZ1000R would all be awesome. Now what about Ducatis? Ducati Scrambler -> TTF2-803?

  • Eric Meyer

    Hawk GT?

    Okay maybe not iconic but I have one, haha

  • n/a

    Gpz900, lol.

  • transistorplanet


  • Mak Kah Heng

    Oh…..2 stroke……sweet !!!

  • Mak Kah Heng

    They need to bring back this !!!

  • Mak Kah Heng

    My first proper hike was a ’89 GSXR750. The sound and fury of it… unforgettable machine.

  • Good shout. So what’s the 2016 equivalent?

  • Eric Meyer

    Imagine this, but with a bigger tank, EFI, and all the little bits that separate a custom bike from an OEM bike. Definitely keep the V-twin, aluminum frame, single-sided swingarm, round headlight.

  • Bruce Steever

    “Jensen Beeler: Projecting the future of tomorrow, yesterday.”(TM)

  • Ryan Donahue

    We are in the age of nostalgia, so it’s only fitting that this would eventually bleed into motorcycles. The vintage R1 bike looks rad.

  • and you can not lie . . .

  • Yes, great, but there’s no current model that could be customised to look like the Hawk/Bros 650 used to. The RC30, VFR400, CBR400, VF750 were all exceptional but there’s nothing current in their range that could be customised to look like they used to look. And that’s the point of the original post isn’t it? Starting from where we are now and going for 80s style to create something that looks like it might have been made then.

  • Jeram Mallis
  • Eric Meyer

    Well this is embarrassing. I completely misread everything.

  • eracer_x

    The FZ looks great. Keep the price and the weight down, don’t make the seating position to extreme, make it a 750 (or even a 400) and I’d buy one.

  • AHA

    I think Jensen is right. Just not sure if Suzuki will benefit from the trend. They’ve been so weakened that their model development is much reduced. Other manufacturers & style houses will likely exploit this instead.

  • Jim

    Sweet….. there’s a lot of Photoshop going on there.
    This reto styling sure looks better than the bodywork designs and graphics on most of the current Japanese sport bikes.

  • Spurdog1

    AC-Sanctuary in Japan have been upgrading 80’s classics for donkeys years and making a fantastic job of them. Their RCM machines are just beautiful and so well engineered. Custom work at its best.

  • Spurdog1

    Definately not a GPZ 900. Looks like a re-envisioned H2R

  • Spurdog1

    A new Katana or something that really stands out is just what Suzuki needs. Bikes these days no longer have to be particularly practical or even mimic race machines. People hardly ride them far and the new lease contracts dont allow new bikes clock up big millages. Most people only pop out for a 50 mile potter so a retro/custom bike makes sense. a lot of riders in their 50s and 60s will hanker after a modern ‘classic’. I would love a GPZ 900 that actually went around corners and had good tyres!

  • tony

    i’m in! and btw look at what i’m sitting on in my in my little portrait. currently in the garage is a gsxr1000 lucky strikes 05/85 hybrid, and i have up for sale an 84 gpz750 wayne rainey superbike replica. and no, that’s not a typo…

    btw, look at what james compton is doing with the zrx kawasaki’s. all the bike you’ll ever need…

  • Starmag

    My stock ZRX1200 is actually more than I need which is why I suggested a CB800SF in a previous thread. I’d like to keep my DL and my life so I can rarely WOT where I live.

  • Gary

    For those who were actually riding motorcycles in the 1980’s, it was anything but awkward. I’d even contend that this decade was the pinnacle of innovation and design for motorcycling.

  • Singletrack

    Nice photoshop work. Realziing the designs will be another matter, but I kind of like where these are going.
    It’s cool that in the 80’s, bike technology and performance was so far ahead of the auto industry. I think that’s part of the appeal of 80’s bikes. Anything and everything was being tried, with fairings, turbos, linkage suspension, exotic materials etc.

    Cars have caught up dramatically as bikes hit a performance ceiling in the 00’s and 10’s.

  • Jack Meoph

    I thought it was a back door manufacturers collective decision on limiting performance due to the fear that the EU and other governing bodies around the world were going to bring the hammer of regulation down on the industry. And then the H2………eh.

  • Jack Meoph

    Nostalgia, to me, always seems to be either a lack of ideas or an avoidance of risk. I lived through the 80’s, don’t want to return. These are all standard MC’s, so why not tone down the full retro of yesterday and the origami of today and deliver something that actually has functional styling that is timeless. It’s been done before.

  • AndrewF

    I think anything to do with the 80s should be buried and forgotten, including motorcycle designs of that era. But the cyclical nature of fashion fads makes this revival inevitable; there is not much I can do about it other than grin and bear it… and console myself with the thought that the revival of the 90’s isn’t far behind.

  • BBQdog

    Instead of buying a retro buy better buy an original. No problems with Euro4, EFI mapping, catalysts etc etc. Bought myself a Yamaha SR 500 and I enjoy riding, maintaining and restoring it.

  • Joshua Campbell

    That’s because you’re compensating