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Honda XLV750R (1983-1986)

N/A

749cc, 61bhp, 100mph, Insurance group

The Honda XLV750 R was the first Japanese made monster trail bike to go head to head with the R80GS from BMW. Both bikes were twin cylinder machines and both had shaft drive. Unfortunately the XLV was too top heavy for even gentle off-road riding and also suffered major gearbox faults. The model was discontinued in 1983. Style is pure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha XT600E (1990-2004)

N/A

595cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable and solid as an old school trail bike gets. The Yamaha XT600E was the last of a long line of 4-valve air-cooled Yamaha singles, starting off with the original, much-loved XT500 of the mid-70s. This is a true trailie: decent off-round and straightforward and ujn-fussy on. Don’t expect any frills or motorway ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star (1996-2001)

N/A

1294cc, 75bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 14

If you want a cruiser because it attracts attention then the Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star certainly does the job. With a V-Max motor ( detuned of course ) Tonka Toy bodywork and a gnat's bollock of ground clearance, the Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star is something truly different from the typical 90s V-twin Harley tribute act.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XTZ660 (1991-1999)

N/A

659cc, 47bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XTZ660 (or Teneré) comes from a time when Continental cool meant enormous trail-style bikes and a far-away look in the eyes. Actually that might just have been piles, since the Yamaha XTZ660 boasts one of the most uncomfortable seats ever created outside of the Inquisitions of 15th-Century Spain. The exhaust and spokes rot and the electrics are poor. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max (1991-2004)

N/A

1198cc, 140bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Mad Max. There, that tells you everything you need to know about the Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max, an ill-handling, raw powered Rottweiller of a motorcycle. The full power 140bhp model is the only one worth having, so skip the early 90s UK spec models with a feeble 95bhp.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VT600 Shadow (1992-2002)

N/A

583cc, 54bhp, 111mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda VT600 Shadow is pretty much the antithesis of the original chopper credo. If the first true chops were all about bad boy, bristly individuality, the 600 Shadow is about as soft, unthreatening and unoriginal as it gets. It’s bland, novice-friendly and safe and predictable, but you’;ve really got to ask yourself if you want that sort of thing. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

Surprisingly cool, versatile and fun retro – indeed one of the first. Triumph Thunderbird 900 took the pleasing and fruity Triumph Trident and refashioned it into an althogether more stylish package. There’s handling, comfort and decent poke inside those cream and chrome walls, while cred is guaranteed by the name on the tank. Nice.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GS125ES (1982-2000)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

If you want to get to work, carry a butty box and do it all on about 69p per day, then the Suzuki GS125ES is for you. It's about as exciting as cold porridge, but like the Honda C90, or Kawasaki KH125, the Suzuki GS125ES simply provides basic two wheeled transport and costs peanuts to run.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Triumph Sprint Executive (1997-1998)

N/A

885cc, 92bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Sprint Executive is a competent sports-touring machine that rides like it looks – top-heavy, fast and old. It’s essentially a 900 Trophy with a Rickman-style fairing slapped across its mug, but the triple-cylinder motor makes a nice noise and it’s reasonably comfortable if you can forgive the noisy, imperfect screen. The Triumph Sprint Executive comes with colour-coded hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro (1996-2000)

N/A

992cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

Centaur; half man, half horse - interesting concept, although some might say the Guzzi V10 Centauro was half motorbike, half Shirehorse... In practice, the Centauro handled poorly, rode a bit harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe. It just looked downright weird.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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