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Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod (2001-current)

£11,995

1131cc, 115bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 17

Harley goes high-tech after decades of just updating their lovable antiques. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod was the first of Harley’s VRSC ‘Rod’ family. The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-Rod's water cooling, loads of power, handling that could embarrass a badly ridden sportsbike and brakes that stop fast were totally novel on a Harley. Diehards refuse to accept them but the Harley-Davidson VRSCA ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Daytona 955i (1997-2006)

£7,499

955cc, 147bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 955i is an extremely rapid, sweet handling superbike. Unfortunately it was about four years too late in a fiercely competitive class. The R1, GSX-R1000 and FireBlade are lighter and faster. The Triumph Daytona 955i’s saving grace is its character from its gruff three-cylinder engine, distinctive understated looks and the fact few riders can use anything like all ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson FLHTC Electra Glide (1988-current)

£18,395

1449cc, 65bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 16

Harley cowboy meets Goldwing creature comforts. The Harley-Davidson FLHTC Electra Glide is an evocative all-American steed that can carry two plus luggage on a chugging adventure-cruise. Cynics would say the Harley-Davidson FLHTC Electra Glide works better on dry, straight, 55mph limit American roads than the drizzly UK where everyone belts up the motorway at 90+.   Watch Harley-Davidson's Electra Glide ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

N/A

992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Gran Canyon (1998-2000)

N/A

904cc, 70bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 12

Cagiva’s Gran Canyon is a great motorcycle to ride, with nimble handling, lazy, easy-to-love power and plenty of tuning potential. Sadly, though, it’s let down by crummy component quality and ridiculous servicing costs. It shines around town or on A-roads, but it’s a less assured performer on longer, faster routes.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Cagiva 750/900 Elefant (1993-1999)

N/A

904cc, 68bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

On face value the Cagiva Elefant was born of an unlikely marriage, but the reality of mating up the (then Cagiva owned) Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie, desert racer type chassis proved something of a masterstroke let down only by poor build quality. The big Elefant (a 750 was also produced) was lively, handled fairly well and was even ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Buell X1 Lightning (1998-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell X1 Lightning evolved from the M2 Cyclone and features the same short wheelbase chassis, with Showa suspension on the early run base models, then WP kit on the later X1 Lightning, and souped up White Lightning variant. With more grunt than the M2 the X1 feels like more fun and the build quality improved somewhat as time went ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Ducati 999 (2003-2006)

N/A

998cc, 124bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 17

Although arguably a better bike, the Ducati 999 has never really stepped out of the shadows of the preceding, iconic Ducati 916 series of motorcycles. It lacks the grunty, fluid finesse of its V-twin rival motorcycles, the comfort of Japanese superbikes and has typical Ducati failings; of poor riding position, useless mirrors and quirky electrics. On the right racetrack, the Ducati 999 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell S1 Lightning (1997-1998)

N/A

1203cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Quirky doesn't adequately describe the Buell S1 Lightning and this mid-90s take on the Buell dream has its plus points, as well as a few serious flaws in its roadster concept. The engine and gearbox felt outdated even when new, the handling was OK, with the braking perhaps slightly less so.  The 93bhp White Lightning has more oomph and is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 1
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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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