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Triumph Thunderbird (2009-current)

£11,149

1597cc, 85bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s all-new Thunderbird is bravely aimed at taking on Harley in the US, but in terms of spec, quality, performance and price looks the best-equipped rival ever to do just that. It performs well, handles better, is beautifully built and has all the cruiser goodies you could wish for. But if we have to be critical, it’s a bit derivative ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star (2009-current)

£6,999

942cc, 55bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

You’d never guess this was an entry level custom cruiser, at only £6500 it’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money. It questions whether you need a larger bike, as it does everything a larger customs does and is considerably cheaper. It feels large, like a proper custom bike, comfortable, strong engine, more than enough for two ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Harley-Davidson XL1200N Nightster (2007-current)

£6,695

1200cc, 50bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 15

The Nightster is the result of a simple plan by Harley-Davidson and it’s brilliantly executed. What plan? To take the second cheapest model (Sportster 1200) in Harley-Davidson’s vast range and tweak its styling to end up with a new bike of stunning looks but still with an affordable price.   Watch the Harley-Davidson Nightster take on the Triumph Speedmaster and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Victory Hammer S (2007-current)

£14,495

1634cc, 88bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 17

The Victory Hammer S is the latest product of America’s fledgling ‘second’ motor company with a slightly sportier stance and image than the stock Hammer due to mean black slathered everywhere and gorgeous Performance Machine Gatlin wheels, the rear wearing a massive 240-section tyre. Performance cruisers don’t come any flashier than the Victory Hammer S.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki VN900 Custom (2007-current)

£7,149

903cc, 53bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 10

Over recent years Kawasaki has created an impressive portfolio of cruisers and Kawasaki VN900 Custom is one of its best yet. The Kawasaki VN900 Custom's laid back, chopper style is down largely to its distinctive, cast alloy big 21-inch front wheel. But other differences between the Kawasaki VN900 Custom and Kawasaki VN900 on which it is based include the high-rise drag ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XV125 Virago (1997-2004)

N/A

124cc, 13bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 4

If you're starting out on two wheels then the Yamaha XV125 Virago V-twin is one of the best made little motorbikes you can choose. Reliable motor, solid chassis, nice low seat and wide `bars give a feeling of confident control on the machine. Later XVS125 models have an extra 3bhp in the V-twin motor and the bike is 4kgs lighter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XV1900 (2006-current)

£13,499

1854cc, 89bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 14

Called the Midnight Star in the UK but overseas known as the Stratoliner – a name that conjures up images of a big motorcycle. And it’s spot-on. The Yamaha XV1900 is typical of Japanese cruisers which have been getting larger and larger both physically and in terms of engine displacement in the last few years. Like all big Japanese customs, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Suzuki GN125 (1994-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

With incredibly low running costs, modest but useful urban performance and funky retro looks, the Suzuki GN125 is an ideal about-town motorcycle or learner bike. Incredibly easy to ride, with a reliable engine and minimal maintenance, the Suzuki GN125 is forgiving and a great confidence-builder. Lousy brakes and finish let it down a bit but, for a real world workhorse, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda VT125C Shadow (1999-2007)

£3,299

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent ...

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

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