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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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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Triumph Thruxton (2003-current)

£7,349

865cc, 69bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Thruxton is a great looking retro cafe racer, which just doesn't have the punchy power you'd expect of a big twin. It also sounds dull, boring almost. Compared to buying a well restored Triton 650 for the same money, the modern day Triumph Thruxton is a weak imitation of genuine cafe racer cool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Triumph America (2002-current)

£7,199

790cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Triumph America is a cruiser with real cred – it harks back to the Thunderbird and other Triumphs modified in the States in the 60s and 70s. This means the Triumph America's not regarded as a Harley clone or copy like so many Japanese cruisers. It’s a competent motorcycle too. It’s not particularly rapid or sporty but the Triumph ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Husqvarna SM610 (2005-current)

£5,899

576cc, 52bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 10

The Husqvarna SM610  is a ‘real’ supermoto for the road. Forget Japanese look-alikes such as the MT-03 or FMX650. Husqvarna is one of a handful of European manufacturers making far lighter, more powerful machines most of which are for race only. The Husqvarna SM610 has been civilised somewhat to make a banzai if impractical road bike.

  • 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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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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