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Honda VT600 Shadow (1992-2002)

N/A

583cc, 54bhp, 111mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda VT600 Shadow is pretty much the antithesis of the original chopper credo. If the first true chops were all about bad boy, bristly individuality, the 600 Shadow is about as soft, unthreatening and unoriginal as it gets. It’s bland, novice-friendly and safe and predictable, but you’;ve really got to ask yourself if you want that sort of thing. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Honda SLR650/Vigor (1996-2001)

N/A

644cc, 39bhp, 92mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda SLR650 is a fairly joyless machine that barely redeems itself as a reasonably efficient commuter. Essentially it’s a more heavily road-biased Dominator built at Honda’s plant in Spain, back in the days when the Continental factory’s quality control occasionally went adios. A Honda CB500 is simply miles better.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Triumph Thruxton (2003-current)

£7,349

865cc, 69bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Thruxton is a great looking retro cafe racer, which just doesn't have the punchy power you'd expect of a big twin. It also sounds dull, boring almost. Compared to buying a well restored Triton 650 for the same money, the modern day Triumph Thruxton is a weak imitation of genuine cafe racer cool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GN125 (1994-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

With incredibly low running costs, modest but useful urban performance and funky retro looks, the Suzuki GN125 is an ideal about-town motorcycle or learner bike. Incredibly easy to ride, with a reliable engine and minimal maintenance, the Suzuki GN125 is forgiving and a great confidence-builder. Lousy brakes and finish let it down a bit but, for a real world workhorse, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Sprint Executive (1997-1998)

N/A

885cc, 92bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Sprint Executive is a competent sports-touring machine that rides like it looks – top-heavy, fast and old. It’s essentially a 900 Trophy with a Rickman-style fairing slapped across its mug, but the triple-cylinder motor makes a nice noise and it’s reasonably comfortable if you can forgive the noisy, imperfect screen. The Triumph Sprint Executive comes with colour-coded hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Laverda 750 S (1997-2002)

N/A

748cc, 85bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

For a brief, mostly shining few years in the mid-to-late 1990s, legendary Italian marque Laverda (they of the 1970s Jota etc) was back. Trouble was, although the machines’ cycle parts were like an Aladdin’s cave of goodies, they handled superbly, looked decent and weren’t too exotically priced, the twin cylinder engines, though updated, were based on the 500 Montjuic of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda VT750C Shadow (2004-2007)

£5,845

745cc, 45bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VT750C Shadow's a sleek and smooth (if slightly underpowered) cruiser. The shaft drive is a welcome addition but carbs and drum brakes are a bit old hat for a modern machine. Still, it looks the part, rides well and lacks the agricultural feel of its, ahem, American counterparts.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Legend TT (1998-2000)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Legend TT is a slightly more basic, cheaper version of the Triumph Thunderbird which rides fine – slightly better even, truth be told – but only looks good to those who wear sunglasses indoors. Which, in our book, defeats half the point. Unless you love the Triumph Legend TT's black engine etc, we recommend you go for a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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KTM 640 LC4 Supermoto (1998-2007)

N/A

625cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The KTM LC4 640 is KTM’s popular supermoto stalwart – a rough, tough bugger that’s a capable commuter, trackday sleeper and friend to the wannabe stunt monkey. It sits on the civilized side of the LC4 family, benefiting from an anti-vibe damper, and an electric start to complement the kicker. Like all supermotos it’s as cheap as chips, geared for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph America (2002-current)

£7,199

790cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Triumph America is a cruiser with real cred – it harks back to the Thunderbird and other Triumphs modified in the States in the 60s and 70s. This means the Triumph America's not regarded as a Harley clone or copy like so many Japanese cruisers. It’s a competent motorcycle too. It’s not particularly rapid or sporty but the Triumph ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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