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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster 72 (2012-current)

£9,195

1202cc, bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 12

The new Harley ‘72’ is a blinged/tarted up custom – the idea being a full-on. Early ‘70s-style custom (hence the name) but on the 1200 Sportster platform rather than the more usual big twins. It works, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Harley-Davidson FXDWGI Dyna Wide Glide (2010-current)

£12,495

1584cc, bhp, mph, Insurance group 14

Harley’s Wide Glide dates back to the seventies. The new for 2010 bike retains the old-school low-rider looks of long, raked and wide-spaced forks (hence the name Wide Glide), skinny front wheel and minimalist bulk. But what makes the new bike far superior is it has modern handling and ride quality due to frame and suspension updates. The rest of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Rocket III Roadster (2009-current)

£12,899

2294cc, 146bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

Triumph’s decision to revamp the original Rocket III into a streetfighter is an interesting one. Why? Because it hardly fits the bill – stripped version of a sports bike with oddball looks – because of its custom-biased specs of long wheelbase and weight, but it works. Big, no, no, really big engine meets menacing black styling meets awesome torque and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Harley-Davidson XR1200R (2008-2012)

£7,655

1202cc, 90bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Basically, perhaps very basically, the Harley-Davidson XR1200R is a good bike. Dynamically the XR1200R performs and handles better than any Harley before. It’s brisk (if not exactly fast), fun to throw around and looks good, too. The main disappointment is that it’s finish and spec is pretty crude and the XR1200R looks like its engineering came out of a Polish ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XV250S Virago (1995-2001)

N/A

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 XV535 Virago (1988-2004)

N/A

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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Honda CMX250 Rebel (1996-2000)

N/A

234cc, 17bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 5

For laid-back cruising, miniature style, you can’t get much better than the Honda CMX250 Rebel. The engine’s been around forever and the light weight makes for a gentle learning curve. The lack of power can soon become a problem, however, although cruising through town is a right giggle. Just don’t try too much touring if you buy a Honda CMX250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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 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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Kawasaki VN800 Classic (1996-2004)

N/A

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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