Those of us with petrol in our veins are eyes-wide for the latest offerings in two-wheeled excitement. As a special holiday gift to warm our garages, we’ve been tempted by the increased industry focus on affordable, midsized motorcycles that can appeal to new and experienced riders seeking open-road thrills. The bikes tugging especially hard at our heartstrings tend to also have a certain retro charm and deliver performance at a surprisingly affordable price.

Sure, the recently updated Project Rushmore Harley-Davidsons and the Indian Chieftain heavy-weights are lustworthy dream machines, but their large-scale price tags make them cost prohibitive. In contrast, this vital new middle ground makes for a more comfortable budget discussion with your better half. Daresay, these bikes—BMW R NineT, Ducati Scrambler, Honda NC700X, Indian Scout Sixty, Kawasaki Vulcan S, and Yamaha YZF-R3—are more giftable and still quite gratifying.

While we haven’t evaluated these new machines, these are the sugar plums dancing in our heads—the bikes that have us justifying filling that lonely corner of the garage.