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Moto Guzzi California 1100EV (1997-2012)

£11,174

1064cc, 75bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 11

Italian with real history – the Moto Guzzi California 1100EV hasn’t changed hugely since the 850cc version of 1972. But it’s still a machine well worth considering. The California 1100EV is a cruiser / tourer that actually handles. The transverse Moto Guzzi V-twin engine’s has a chunky, chuggy character and while the California 1100EV's not superb at anything it’s a great all rounder. Surviving versions are ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZXR400 (1995-1998)

N/A

398cc, 62bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 12

‘Extreme’ is a word that’s bandied everywhere these days. But when it comes to motorcycling, they don’t come much more so than Kawasaki’s ZXR400. Small (so popular with the ladeez), light, stumpy, extremely revvy and a fabulous handler, the little ZXR is refined essence of four-cylinder sportster with all the good and bad that implies. It’s not big, it’s not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki VN800 Classic (1996-2004)

N/A

805cc, 54bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 10

Strong, reliable and with pretty funky handling for a cruiser, the Kawasaki VN800 makes for a useful bike as well as a perfect pose-machine. Massive, it’s got all the right bits in all the right places giving a good ride with loads of street presence. Not bad value but a bugger to keep clean.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Derbi Senda 50 (1993-current)

£2,219

49cc, 9bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 3

The Derbi Senda 50 has been around for over 10 years and many 16-year-olds - especially taller riders - really like its enduro motorcycle looks, decent handling chassis and revvy two-stroke motor. The 2000 onwards Derbi Senda 50 features an all new alloy beam frame, and in 2005 a range of extra versions, including Derbi Senda Xtreme, Derbi Senda Supermoto, Derbi Senda DRD Pro and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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 FLHR Road King (1993-current)

£17,595

1584cc, 65bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 15

For some, the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King is the best Harley of all, mixing the 50s style of the Fat Boy with the versatility and comfort of the Glides thanks to its twin shock chassis and built in panniers and screen. For extra cool there’s also the Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Classic and Harley-Davidson FLHR Road King Custom versions.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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CCM 640 Supermoto (1999-2000)

N/A

636cc, 60bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM 640 comes in three versions – the 640 RS is a roadster with swoopy bodywork, there’s a Dual Sport version with taller suspension and off-road wheels and then there’s the more popular Supermoto, with more traditional, off-road style panels and numberboard-style front fairing. All that separates CCM’s 640 machines from their 604-designated counterparts is a wider cylinder bore. ...

  • 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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Buell M2 Cyclone (1997-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 93bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

Buell twins are oddball machines and have struggled to win over traditional Harley and Japanese retro bike owners alike. The basic problem is the old hat pushrod V-twin, with its frankly clunky gearbox and diesel-esque power delivery. The Buell M2 Cyclone is one of the more funky versions of the Buell concept from the late 90s, but lacks the easygoing ...

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