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Triumph Thunderbird Commander (2014-current)

£12,999

1299cc, 93bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The Commander is aimed more at European riders while the LT is for the American market. Essentially a naked version of the Thunderbird LT, the Commander is a hoot to ride. Thumping along, booting the heel-toe between third or fourth, merely stroking the reassuring brakes, it doesn’t get much better. The lack of screen, panniers etc make the Commander lighter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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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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Triumph Thunderbird Storm (2011-current)

£12,499

1699cc, 97bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 14

It would be easy to be cynical about Triumph’s new Thunderbird Storm. Its route of taking an existing cruiser model and spinning off a pared down, mean and moody, all-black, ‘hot rod’-styled variant is, after all, a well-trodden one. Riding it, however, reveals the new Storm to be pleasingly more than just AN Other fashion victim. Aside from predictable black ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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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 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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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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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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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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