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Yamaha YP400 Majesty (2004-current)

£6,299

395cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 8

The Yamaha YP400 Majesty is a fair bit heavier than the 250, but has beefed up suspension and a much more touring biased set of bodywork panels. It's supremely comfortable, good on fuel, but the 125/250 Majesty makes a better commuter than the Yamaha YP400 Majesty and the T-Max makes a better maxi scooter for another £700.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Scrambler (2006-current)

£7,349

865cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

Visually the most arresting of the retro Bonneville range, the Triumph Scrambler also makes a great all-round everyday bike. Dream of being Steve McQueen in the Great Escape as you zip down to Tescos on your cool Triumph Scrambler – just don’t go try to jump the checkout queues!

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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Ducati Monster S4/S4R/S2R/S2R1000/S4RS (2001-2007)

£8,295

916cc, 97bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 13

Take one ageing naked roadster, add the Ducati 916/996/998 series sportbike motor, tweak the suspension and paint it red. It's been a winning formula for Ducati and the latest Ducati Monster S4RS, with its Ohlins suspension, radial brakes and 130bhp engine is possibly one of the maddest roadster motorcycles money can buy. All Ducati Monster motorcycles need TLC to maintain performance and their ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Bonneville (2000-current)

£6,549

790cc, 61bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 9

Triumph aimed the Bonneville like an arrow straight at the heart of Harley’s 883 Sportster. With a heritage to rival the Yank’s and a better riding performance the Triumph Bonneville is unquestionably the better motorcycle. The handling is more than respectable, the brakes markedly better and, of course, it’s British.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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 MT-03 (2006-current)

£7,399

660cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 11

Visually stunning and mechanically sound, Yamaha’s trick new “roadster motard” creates its own little niche in the market. Ideally an urban/commuter tool, the Yamaha MT-03 gives you more than enough fun if you want some bendy weekend scratching too. Handling is superb but just a little more horsepower would’ve really broadened the Yamaha MT-03's appeal.

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