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Yamaha XV250S Virago (1995-2001)

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248cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha XV250S Virago is a trusty, reliable and easy to ride option on which to hone your biking skills. If you fancy a big cruiser later on, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a great place to start: it’s got the looks and appears bigger than a 250, so you won’t feel left out down at the Ace. The Yamaha ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XV125 Virago (1997-2004)

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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 XV535 Virago (1988-2004)

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535cc, 38bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 8

The XV535 Virago is where Yamaha started giving Harley-Davidson a run for their money: it was the first of their cruiser motorcycles and it certainly lasted well. The Yamaha XV535 is basic, trusted, easy to ride and with unchallenging but enjoyable performance. What's more this Virago is a great value for money motorcycle and perfect for newbies or laid back commuters.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star (2000-2004)

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249cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

When the XV250S Virago was discontinued, the new Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star replaced it. They’re very similar and that’s good news for owners: the long-running Virago branch of the Yamaha family has a great reputation. The little Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star is just as good and, if your heart’s set on a smaller capacity cruiser, you’ll find it hard to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda F6C Valkyrie (1996-2005)

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1520cc, 100bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 14

The Honda F6C Valkyrie is one of those traffic-stopping motorcycles that non-bikers are simply fascinated by. Basically a stripped down Honda GL1500 Gold Wing, with lower gearing and six carbs, the Honda F6C Valkyrie is actually reasonably good fun to ride and some might say it's best made motorcycle in America. The Honda Rune 1800 looks like some kind of Dan Dare ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Kawasaki VN800 Classic (1996-2004)

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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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Kawasaki VN1500 Classic (1996-2004)

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1470cc, 69bhp, 118mph, Insurance group 12

A far, far cheaper way of cruising than buying into the Harley dream. Reliable too. The VN1500s are positively vast so, if road presence is important to you, they could be your thing. Lots of gutsy, low down performance with smooth touring speeds at the top end mean relaxed, joyful and easy riding.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1200C (1997-2005)

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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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