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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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Ducati Diavel (2011-current)

£14,995

1198cc, 162bhp, mph, Insurance group 17

We’re absolutely blown away by the Diavel. It’s so light, fast and sophisticated, so good handling and fun, it completely turns on its head everything we thought so-called ‘cruisers were about until now. Or, to put it another way: the Diavel does to the cruiser bike class pretty much – if not more – what Ducati’s Multistrada did to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson XR1200X (2010-2012)

£9,595

1202cc, 90bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Based on the 2009 XR1200, the XR1200X is slightly more sports biased than the sports biased XR1200. Confused? Don’t be. All you have to think about is the X-model has vastly improved, multi-adjustable suspension that makes a difference when riding 187kg of American muscle on our roads. It also comes in a menacing black paint scheme with black exhausts. Engine ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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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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Harley-Davidson VRSCR Street Rod (2005-2012)

£10,995

1130cc, 120bhp, 144mph, Insurance group 17

‘Designed for Europe’  Harley-Davidson Street Rod is a sports version of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. So while the engine remains the same as its cruiser cousin, the Harley-Davidson Street Rod's chassis has been modified to turn it into a handler. It works, too, delivering a much more invigorating ride – still no Suzuki GSX-R1000, not by a long chalk.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Kawasaki VN1500 Classic (1996-2004)

N/A

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)

N/A

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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