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Honda XL650V Transalp (1987-2007)

£5,249

647cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda XL650V Transalp has been providing honest transport seemingly since the dawn of time. Revitalised with a bigger motor and a face-lift in 2000, it’s softly-chuffing charm and easy-going manners have won a devoted audience. Mostly blokes more interested in getting from A-to-B than having a giggle buy them up.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki Burgman 650 (2003-current)

£8,799

638cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The biggest scooter in the two wheeled world is really a mid sized touring motorcycle under its plastic panels, with a punchy 638cc twin cylinder motor makes a claimed 54bhp which is enough to send the 650 Burgervan to about 110mph. Too heavy, too wallowy in the corners and short on luggage capacity for serious touring riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Honda Deauville (1998-current)

£7,885

680cc, 64bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

If the idea of whipping briskly across continents in the blink of an eye holds less appeal than comfortable cruising, excellent economy, unflappable reliability and ease of use, then step right up and meet the new-for-2006 Honda Deauville – a friendly V-twin, mid-size tourer that’s ready for anything.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF600 (2004-2007)

£5,199

599cc, 76bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CBF600 is undoubtedly a supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy for a 600cc motorcycle, the Honda CBF600 lacks any real “go”, despite being well designed and built. It’s a good, safe choice for a new biker but, for those with more experience, it’s unlikely to satiate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mastered the basics, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star (1997-current)

£5,499

649cc, 40bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 8

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star is a fun and hassle-free way to enjoy your cruising. It’s got a low, comfy seat, big bike looks, ease of use and nice styling on its side. Add that to a low purchase price and the Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star makes a good case for itself as an affordable alternative to Harley’s 883 Sportster ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster (1995-current)

£6,995

1200cc, 64bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 13

The mid-sized Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster makes a lot of sense. It’s got a bit more presence, punch and space than the smaller 883cc family but without the weight and unwieldy feel of the 1340/1450cc big end motorcycles. It’s classic, air cooled Harley – if you want one you’ll probably not consider anything else. Full name is the Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha TDM900 (2002-current)

£8,399

897cc, 74bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

The Yamaha TDM900 is a streetbiking oddball that’s as brilliant beating congestion as it is swinging bends. The parallel twin motor is spunky enough for fun, while the wide bars really let you take charge and hustle. It’s such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1200ST (2005-2007)

£9,095

1170cc, 110bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

The R1200ST is BMW’s Boxer-twin sports-tourer, now that the old R1100S has been supplanted by the newer, more sports-oriented R1200S. The problem is that the ST is on well-contested ground here – lining up against machines like Triumph’s excellent Sprint ST and Honda’s superb VFR800 VTEC, both of which are faster, sharper and cheaper.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1200S (2006-2007)

£8,955

1170cc, 122bhp, 148mph, Insurance group 13

Somehow you already know if you want the BMW R1200S. The looks divide opinions, but only half as much as the Boxer engine and the Telelever/Paralever suspension do. BMW has strained the limits of these design parameters – and it only just comes off. As an oddball track motorcycle it works, but as an accomplished all-rounder it falls short of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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