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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (1992-current)

£4,032

499cc, 22bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

Early models of the Royal Enfiled Bullet 500 weren't very well made and you might be better off finding a 2000 onwards example of this classic Brit single, now made in India. There have been many variants of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 produced by the UK importers, from cafe racers to sidecar combos, with the Clubman GT offering the most power ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Yamaha XT125R (2005-current)

£2,999

124cc, 12.5bhp, 71mph, Insurance group 5

Once upon a time the learner motorcycle world was only filled with two-strokes. And once your eyes had stopped running the only quality trailie was Yamaha’s DT125. And it was madly expensive. Nowadays the place is full of four-stroke cheapies like Yamaha's XT125R and we should be grateful. But we’re not because de-restricting two-stroke learners was a piece of cake ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Victory Hammer (2003-current)

£12,995

1634cc, 88bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 15

Victory’s second generation customs (which also includes the Vegas, 8-Ball etc) are a world on from the original V92 clunkers and, on paper at least, have more than enough to give Harley-Davidson a run for its money. The Victory Hammer is no exception

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sachs Roadster 800 (2000-2004)

N/A

805cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Sachs boasts gorgeous design with excellent build quality and ought to be better than it is. It seems a bit busy, trying to be part roadster, part sportsbike, part cruiser and the result is a slightly disappointing, split-personality that doesn’t really deliver on any level. You can have fun and it’ll make you smile… But it’s unlikely to ever ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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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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Honda CLR125 CityFly (1998-2003)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Honda CLR125 CityFly is definitely an urban minx: forget its supposed off-road potential and enjoy bursts of handy acceleration in town. Taking a Honda CLR125 CityFly anywhere near a hill could hinder your fun, especially two-up, but for a bit of funky commuting, it’s an efficient and enjoyable motorcycle. And it looks gorgeous.

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

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