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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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Honda DN-01 (2008-2010)

£10,625

680cc, 51bhp, 110mph, Insurance group

The DN-01 is hard to categorise - Is it a cruiser? Is it a scooter? Whatever it is, it’s a very easy to ride, comfortable, capable and enjoyable motorcycle, let down by a very high price and too much hype. If money is no object, all you want is an attention-grabbing commuter or Sunday cruiser, and you wonder why all ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Suzuki GZ125 Marauder (1998-2011)

£2,965

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

Mid price cruiser style Suzuki GZ125 Marauder works well and makes a decent learner steed. It’s got more presence than the budget custom style 125s like Yamaha’s SR125 but it’s usefully cheaper than the twin cylinder alternatives which cost about a grand more when new. The Suzuki GZ125 Marauder makes a decent, frugal urban commuter too.

  • 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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Moto Guzzi California 1100EV (1997-2012)

£11,174

1064cc, 75bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 11

Italian with real history – the Moto Guzzi California 1100EV hasn’t changed hugely since the 850cc version of 1972. But it’s still a machine well worth considering. The California 1100EV is a cruiser / tourer that actually handles. The transverse Moto Guzzi V-twin engine’s has a chunky, chuggy character and while the California 1100EV's not superb at anything it’s a great all rounder. Surviving versions are ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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