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Yamaha XVS1100 (1998-current)

£6,999

1063cc, 62bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Yamaha XVS1100 - a big  cruiser of yesteryear is more a mid sized cruiser of today. It's an evolution of Yamaha’s long running XV1100 Virago which used to be its custom-style range topper but now it’s dwarfed by the near-two litre megacruisers. The Yamaha XVS1100 is somewhat old tech but light weight and manageability are always useful.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki DR125SE (1985-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to an XT125 or the like.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1987-2006)

£1,995

346cc, 18bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

If you want to travel back through time to the 1950s then the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the bike for you. Great engineering details, and it actually makes a pleasant rural commuter bike, returning 70mpg or more at a steady 55mph. Needs TLC of course, like most old classics, but still undeniably good fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Kawasaki KE100 (1974-1998)

N/A

99cc, 10bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

If you want basic transport, in a two stroke trail bike package, then the Kawasaki KE100 is arguably the template for the entire class. Starting life as the 100 G4 TR, it evolved into the KM100 and KE100, eventually killed off by looming emissions regulations in 1998. The lKawasaki KE100  has sightly dodgy brakes and electrics, but otherwise a tough, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KH125 (1975-1998)

N/A

123cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 2

Something of a bus dodger are we, Sir? Then try the Kawasaki KH125 for your daily commute. Kawasaki KH125 costs buttons to buy and run, reliable and has just enough power to stick with urban traffic. The Kawasaki KH125 looks a bit dated now and it's a low tech two-stroke, but still a fun way to get to work.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

N/A

992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Multistrada 1000/1100 DS (2004-2009)

£7,750

992cc, 85bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 15

The Ducati Multistrada 1000DS is a bold attempt at tourer/town/sportster hybrid motorcycle and mostly hits the mark. Whacky styling masks a truly versatile motorcycle mixed with Italian style. Low screen, smallish tank and limited performance from Ducati Multistrada 1000DS' air-cooled two-valve engine are only slight niggles. That and its ugly face.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell X1 Lightning (1998-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell X1 Lightning evolved from the M2 Cyclone and features the same short wheelbase chassis, with Showa suspension on the early run base models, then WP kit on the later X1 Lightning, and souped up White Lightning variant. With more grunt than the M2 the X1 feels like more fun and the build quality improved somewhat as time went ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2

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