Top 10 Hipster Motorcycles

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#5 – Triumph Bonneville


Most anything that associates one with the King of Cool, be it a Great Escape-era bomber jacket, Towering Inferno-era sideburns, or the Scene That Launched A Thousand Schwinns, is hipster gold, baby. The iconic Bonnie was never the smoothest or the most reliable, but few motorcycles have aged this gracefully, recently re-confirmed in our review of the latest Thruxton. Real enthusiasts know that much of that reverence is due to the brand’s new-millennium renaissance. After all, without Triumph’s rebirth, the Bonneville’s reputation would still be buried in the same time capsule as BSAs and Arthur Fonzarelli. Sure, it’s tremendously easy to poke fun at hipsters, but we can’t fault fair-weathered fans for loving an old-school Trumpet, be it a McQueen-era TT or any of the Bonnie’s current forms. To see the breadth of the hipster movement associated with Bonnevilles, we heartily encourage a Google image search for “Triumph hipsters.”

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  • Max Frisson

    What no STAR Bolt?

    • MOEditorial

      Pretty sure this list was posted pre-Bolt, Max.

  • Rikki Erica Portner


    • Marilyn Griffin

      You forgot the Grom!

  • Craig Hoffman

    Hipsters are the future of Harley once the Faithful move on to the nursing home. God help us all.

  • Edward Rodriguez

    Hipsters can’t afford the Harley 72. That’s why they’re buying Iron 883s as fast as Harley can make them.

  • William Wallace

    If a hipster wants it… then I am pretty more that means real motorcyclists will not want it anymore. Then again, a lot of custom builders are making tons of money off building custom CB’s for hipsters.

  • Craig Freger

    You missed the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. Guzzis are cool — Ewan McGregor likes them.

  • Rockers Mods

    Hipsters can’t keep the old stuff running. I put on motorcycle events, they buy an old Bonnie, then six months later they are on Thruxton.

  • Tobias Van Kleeck

    Speaking of “whining.” See: This article. You should thank the target of your petulant ire for this bit of pointless, us vs. them content for your site. If you can’t fully enjoy your passion because other people are “doing it wrong” then you’ve got bigger problems than people in tight jeans on cafe bikes.

  • darthmotors13

    Wow, are we bikers are old people yelling get off our lawn? What does it matter? If you want to hate on hipsters, get pissy about their inability to do laundry or stink up the bar with BO. If someone want’s to ride, let’em ride. And if my little band of cafe/vintage loving friends makes me a hipster, well let me be the first highly paid, 60 hour a week working, home owning, wrench wielding, daily riding hipster to say hello.

  • TraderJoesSecrets

    Gold Wing? No way, although a stripped, spoke-wheel GL1000 is *actually* cool, in a way that no hipster will ever understand. And the Harley? Just because they adopt hipster style in their own marketing doesn’t mean it will catch on with bearded, flannel-wearing denizens of Red Hook. I’d replace one (or both) of those two with something like a ’30s-vintage Brit single, for the uber-hip, desperate to prove they’re not hipsters… Otherwise, you’re on the money. Ask me, sometime, about the editor of the hipster bike mag that I interviewed last year, who told me he’d been riding for three years. Argh. Wake me when motorcycles are not cool any more.

    • swiers

      I’d put XS650 on there. XS650 chops are infesting my area so hard, the average price (like for a CB) is absurd. I actually ended up with a ’78 GL1000 (last year for the wire wheels and big bore carb) for half what I could find either of those for.

  • trawlings151

    I don’t get the vitriol in this article and comments. I’m sure the same things were said about the rockers and the mods, the Steve McQueen’s,1%ers, and the “serious motorcyclists”. Everyone was riding for three years at some point. No one owns the monopoly on being a “biker”. These kids come into my shop all the time, you know what I’ve heard them say about any other biker or subculture? Not a damn thing. Nothing. Just because you can talk shit about another person doesn’t make you superior to them, it just makes you an asshole.

    • Justin Liu

      Agreed. There is nothing more boring and pathetic than snobbery over things people like. Music snobbery – “I liked that band before they were cool.” Now motorcycle snobbery. Guess what? I don’t need a subculture to enjoy motorcycles, and I don’t need permission from a bunch of snide old assholes claiming to hold the approval rights to that which is “genuine” in the world of bikes. Who cares what the method of entry into motorcycle enthusiasm is? So some kid from a more recent generation watched The Great Escape and was inspired? So the aesthetic of the cafe racer appeals more than the flash of the high-chrome low slung chopper fad of the past decade? More motorcycle fans means more bikes on the road, which (by the way) is good for riders and the motorcycle industry, including tools like the one who wrote this article. On behalf of all of us who didn’t “earn” our way in to being able to say we like motorcycles, I’d like to invite the author to kiss my ass.

  • ericalm

    The “vintage” Vespa, an ET, is not vintage. The photo comes from a four-year-old Paste magazine editorial:

    Moreover, no credit is provided for the photographer. Did you guys pay a license for this? May come as a surprise, but things aren’t free to use just because they’re on the Internet.

    • Jonny Langston

      Dude try reading the blurb again. States exactly where the picture comes from.

  • Greg Berg

    This article is a mile off of what real hipsters are. No hipster rides a Goldwing, or a Harley. Do your research Jon Langston! Clearly you only had about 2 hours to write this, and know nothing about hipsters.

    • Jonny Langston

      Spoken like a guy in suspenders. ;)

  • Jonny Langston

    ‘Signature fedora.’ Nice.
    Wonder whatever happened to that hat??

  • Jonny Langston

    That’s the way I wrote it, Ron. It’s my fault a lot of people didn’t ‘get it.’

  • Jonny Langston

    Is this a re-post?!?

  • Jonny Langston

    Wow. I am amazed that people are still commenting on this ….i’m disappointed more of you didn’t get the joke, but that’s my fault.
    Going forward, people, please – don’t take this stuff so seriously. It’s a fluff top 10 list, fer chrissakes!

    • Eric Channing

      Just bought my moved up from a Vespa to a CB350 and hipsters love the bike for many of the same reasons I do. There’s some funny and on point truths in your list and I get the whole being annoyed with new comers thing. I get it man. Everyone can be ridiculous for wanting to be cool and it’s good for the industry!

    • Adam Gibbison

      Bit of a laugh! I thought it was good! Im 27 years old, I have a haven’t shaved for months, wear old hats, suspenders, and leather bowling shoes and I own a 1972 R75… So I guess I’m a hipster? But yeah I still thought it was fun! I Also ride a Husqvarna Nuda 900r, KTM 200 exc, Honda cr250r and I am currently touring Europe on an old 97 model Fazer 600… Hipsters can be pure bred enthusiasts too I guess :P keep it up Jonny Langston, good clean fun!

    • Dadpa1

      6 months later, here’s a new comment for you. I think your “get the joke” line is a piss poor attempt to play off a shit article as “humor”.

      • Jonny Langston

        Whether you personally found it funny or not, the fact that you could possibly believe that article was intended as anything but satire says a lot. About you, of course. To which I respond, “whatever, dick.”

  • Mark

    Hipster here– thanks for the recommendations!

  • ysrebob

    Ok so the author was ripping on these kids pretty hard. Still, IT IS annoying that these fads come along and suddenly all the good old CB400s are priced too high, and/or half the surviving R75/6 airheads get butchered into “cafe bikes” in the name of coolness. Half the R80RTs I see for sale have had the fairings stripped off and clipon bars bolted up. It’s a travesty if you like these old machines for what they are.

  • YoureHalfARetard

    Enfields? Urals? 70′s Harleys? Bonnevilles? You realize that the majority of hipsters are a bunch of broke bitches right? None of them can afford a bike over 500 bucks and none of these bikes have “attractive” price points. 99% of the hipsters out there riding around have no mechanical skills so buying a bike that has very low reliability (like an Enfield) doesn’t make sense at all. The only bike you got right was the 70′s CB and most of those misfire while these douchebags thump down the road. Where are the old Suzuki’s? And what kind of hipster rides a Goldwing? Do your research next time bro. This article is shit.

  • Jan Eric Welch

    This is a stupid and pointless article full of childish shit talking.

    • Jonny Langston

      Yep – gotcha!

  • LoganTanner

    So you’re either a hipster or a douchebag. You’re options are limited.

    • fastfreddie

      Thought the two were connected…

  • smeg theprez

    Jon Langston do us all a favor and get a real job, preferably something your good at, if there is such a thing.

    • Jonny Langston

      Already did, jack! You can see my byline in Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, and plenty of other real motorcycle publications.

  • mush

    Hahahaha, brilliant! I have an RE and am looking for a old CB, you nailed it mate. Leave us hipsters alone, we aren’t that bad..some of us even have real jobs. That said, obnoxious tools abound on all teams, even some real bikers are tools, hipsters have them, academics have them, hell I’m sure even Jehovah’s witnesses have them…give a man a chance, judge me by my actions?

  • Jonny Langston

    “Hate”?? Really?? Sheesh.

  • tad diemer

    I get the need for new content to keep websites juiced and generate interest/discussion, but this particular article smacks of laziness. I’m hereby

    calling for a moratorium on the term “hipster”. Like “goth” and “cyber” it needs to fall onto the garbage heap of popular vernacular.

    The most fun moto-event I’ve found on the east coast is actually about as “hipster” as you can possibly get. I’ve attended the New York Vintage Motorcycle Show in Brooklyn the last weekend in August the past few years and it is absolutely a blast. The look may be skinny jeans, metal-flake half helmets, Converse sneakers, and vintage tattoos, but the bikes on display feature a sincere, home-brewed aesthetic that I love, with examples ridden in from all points of the compass within 1000 miles.

    A couple pics up here:

    What does “hipster” even mean in this context, really? The article conveniently mixes and matches skinny-jean, disaffected youth imagery with bits of “trust-fund baby” stereotyping. They’re really NOT the same thing. And since 90% of motorcyclists in the US don’t subscribe to the “AGATT” philosophy, how are these guys any worse than any other group?

    Really, the skinny-jean wearing kid I saw in Brooklyn a few summers back working on his vintage Honda CB with a hand-painted tank, crouched in the street, with the downloaded pages of a Haynes manual spread out in front of him? He’s not a real biker? What’s more “real biker” than a beater that you need to get you from point A to point B, customized to the best of your ability? He doesn’t do track days, so he’s not a real biker?

    I’m confused.

  • Robb

    How is there not a Sach’s MadAss in here?

  • Omega Racer

    Well, these are (almost) all very cool bikes. If owning one or liking them makes me a hipster, so be it. Who cares anyway?

  • Matt Dixon

    No knucklehead?