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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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Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster (1993-current)

£6,395

883cc, 50bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is a basic, budget way into Harley ownership: that possession prized by anyone whose idea of heaven is a long, straight, American highway and for whom Peter Fonda remains the ultimate role model. The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is not the greatest cruiser in the world: it lacks power and performance in virtually every area, but it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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BMW R1200C (1997-2005)

N/A

1170cc, 61bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1200C is a Harley-Davidson rival with German engineering. Like most cruisers, it sells on looks – this one had a part in a Bond movie too. Power is pretty modest considering the 1200cc engine but it’s enough. Dynamically it’s better than many cruisers thanks to quality engineering and light(ish) weight.  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW K1200RS (1997-2005)

N/A

1171cc, 130bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The BMW K1200RS is almost an ultra-sports tourer but lacking a few bhp and a carrying too much weight. The K1200RS carved its own niche as a superb high-speed distance bike that could carry a pillion and luggage too without breaking a sweat. Radical Telelever front suspension’s no longer novel but still works and build quality remains a strong point ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1200GS (2004-2012)

£10,550

1170cc, 100bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1200GS breezed into the motorcycle world in 2004 and changed it forever. It’s a genuine all-round motorcycle that’s equally at home on a trackday as it is on a grand tour. The BMW R1200GS' 1170cc Boxer engine is a pleasure to use, while the handling, braking, usability and comfort put this motorcycle in a class of one.   Watch the BMW R1200GS take on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Bimota SB8R (1999-2000)

N/A

996cc, 133bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match. But unlike the Bimotas of previous decades, the SB8R doesn’t radically out perform Japanese competition of the same time. It does manage to be a little better though and race success backed this up. Lack of dealer back up makes ownership worrying.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW K1200LT (1999-2007)

£15,370

1171cc, 116bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

It is hard to fault the BMW K1200LT when it comes to the business of transporting two people, plus all their kit, for three weeks touring on a motorcycle. The BMW K1200LT has every mod con you can think of, even if most of them are optional extras, and it goes, handles and stops more than acceptably for such an enormously heavy ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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