A return to the good old days with the Black Douglas

Black Douglas Sterling

There was once a time when gentlemen wore hats, pannier mounts were briefcase holders and you could ride a motorcycle from London to Birmingham without seeing another road user. These were the good old days, says Jordan Gibbons in Motorcycle News, and it is this era that motorbike maker The Black Douglas seeks to emulate with its Sterling model.

It certainly looks the part. Our favourite Claret Classic version, says Gibbons, has a wicker basket that’s the perfect size for a picnic and what isn’t chromed is bound with leather. The enormous “herring can” headlight accentuates the vintage look.

It may look like a roadster from motorcycling’s pioneering days of a century ago, but this is actually a brand new bike, says Roland Brown in The Daily Telegraph. It’s designed in Birmingham, produced near Milan and powered by a 230cc engine from Taiwan. And although motorbikes that look this old are not normally so easy to ride, the Sterling is as rider-friendly as any commuter bike in a straight line. It pulls away easily, accelerates briskly and is happy cruising at 60mph.

Many commuter bikes offer more performance and practicality for much less money, although the suitably eccentric accessory list includes canvas saddlebags and umbrella holders. But few will come even close to matching this bike’s ability to put a smile on your face or elicit such a cheery response from fellow road users.

Price: around £9,580, depending on specifications.