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Anyone who loves motorcycles will have a dream motorcycle collection either; a top ten, a dream bike or a motorcycle bucket list. The machines they’d love to own, if they had their druthers. The urge to collect is strong, even if the cash flow is weak and the storage space is inadequate. But you don’t need to be a millionaire to have an enviable classic bike, or even an impressive collection of them. Join Bikesure, the freewheeling insurance broker, as it looks into the cheapest ways of starting your own collection of classics.

We here in the UK love a bit of the old vintage style, and motorcyclists are no different. It’s estimated that about a third of all motorcycles on the road are classic or vintage, and the market for these bikes is at least 10% of the entire industry. While prices are rising, it’s still possible to snag something truly special for a relatively small amount of cash.

With the internet making it easier than ever to connect buyers to sellers, there’s never been a better time to start building a collection.

Obviously if you do start gathering a load of old machines, you should be prepared for the extra work involved in keeping them running. There’s a good network of companies and enthusiasts offering supplies and spare parts for them, but many older and more obscure marques will be more difficult to find.

Legendary bikes like the Brough Superior command incredible prices even when they’ve been left to rot in a barn for decades, with spare parts or even modern recreations costing considerable amounts of money.

But the history of motorcycles isn’t defined just by the biggest names, and it’s easy to start a collection from companies that don’t have the same stellar reputation, for a fraction of the cost.

Obviously, discovering cool old bikes and getting them for cheap is more of an art than a science, and there’s no doubt that it’s possible to find some incredibly rare stuff for cheap if you’re at the right place at the right time, especially if you’re mechanically minded and don’t mind renovating some truly broken old bikes. The internet has hyper-charged this process, with popular auction sites and facebook barn find groups helping.

For the purposes of this article we’re assuming that you’re looking for a relative bargain. Relative. What follows is a guide to some of the brands of yesteryear that you can pick up decent examples of something in the region of £4000. This is “about” what you’d expect to shell out if you were fixing up a more decrepit machine, factoring in time and parts etc.

BSA

C12

As long as we’re talking classics we might as well go way back. BSA are one of those British manufacturers that have a legendary reputation, but were pretty much destroyed by the arrival of Japanese competition.

Gold Stars, the original café racers, naturally go for considerable wedge, with prices generally starting at around £15k but easily capable of going higher. If you’re able to avoid the lure of the bike that everyone else wants then you should be able to find a C12 for about £4k. If you don’t mind fixing one up you can go even cheaper, with a bit of luck.

Sunbeam

Sunbeam: yours won’t look this good

An old British brand that originally started making motorbikes in 1912, the Sunbeam name was sold to other companies before ending up owned by BSA in 1943. Their S7 and S8 bikes were based on the BMW R75, the design of which was snaffled up by the British as part of the general scramble to divvy up German manpower and tech following the end of World War 2. Less common than some of the bikes on the list it’s still possible to find a selection of bikes throughout their production run for slightly over £4k. For fans of that classic chopper/bobber look they’re ideal.

Ariel

Ariel Red Hunter: it has some red on it

Lots of British companies got swallowed up by the BSA mothership during the declining years of the industry, and Ariel is one of them. You can find versions of their Red Hunter range from the early 1950s for around £4k. Ariel were responsible for some of the earliest and best grass track sports bikes, and Red Hunters were ridden by multi-champion Sammy Miller in the 1950s. The tangled family tree of British motorcycle companies being what it is, Ariel went on to buy out Triumph.

Associated Motor Cycles

AJS M18: little known fact – classic motorcycles like to hang out in fields with their friends

An important company from the first half of the 20th century that would later – sing along, you know the words by now – be absorbed into an even more successful company during the decline of the British bike industry in the 1960s (in this case, Norton-Villiers). Déjà vu? Never heard of her.

Their AJS M18 exemplified one of the reasons Japanese companies were able to be so successful, in that it was based on a design from the 1930s that – with minor changes – remained in production until the 60s. It’s another brand that sits in that find-something-for-£4k “sweet spot”.

Excelsior

Excelsior: redder than the bike with red in its name

Now here’s another brand that’ll give you plenty of credibility. Often credited as Britain’s first motorcycle manufacturer, their first “motor-bicycle” was released in 1896. The good news is these are – relatively speaking – massively bargainous, with various models showing up for under £2k. Which could well mean they’re an absolute nightmare to keep running, but that credibility. Think of the credibility.

Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi: because the seventies were nearly 50 years ago.

Oldest continually operating European manufacturer in existence, it’s pretty easy to find cheap models from throughout their history, to one degree of workingness or another. Ideal for the repair heads out there, as long as you don’t mind devoting extra time and money for additional parts, you can easily get some of that Italian style.

Benelli

Benelli Leoncino: arguably even redder. Also note the rad lion mudguard ornament

While this manufacturer is older than Moto Guzzi, their break from production robs them of more noteworthy bullet points. Another gift for collectors on a budget, a Benelli from the ‘50s can be had for anything in the region of £1-£3k.

Suzuki

B120: it was also available in red, but blue is more common

It’s all very well to focus on all the British bikes that didn’t quite make legendary status, but what if you’re looking for one of their replacements? While the first Universal Japanese Motorcycles are generally thought to date to the late sixties, some of the earlier models like the B120 or the T20 (AKA the Super Six) can be picked up for a relatively small fee. This is pretty good for machines which have retained their cult status for so long, and there remains a community of modders who still race them.

Montesa

Montesa Impala: daringly has a white bit

The Catalan brand is best known for the Impala, originally launched in 1962. With a reputation as an extremely reliable bike, its eye-catching design and notable features including the guitar shaped seat have made it a cult hit in Spain. It’s relatively easy to find them within the £4k sweet spot, although sportsbike collectors should also keep an eye out for Cota, the trial bikes based off the Impala which has an even more eyecatching design. These are still in production, being released by Honda in the UK, but it’s possible to find original 70s versions for very little money.

Greeves

Greeves Challenger: Made with purest green

Started by Invacar inventor and motorcycle collector Bert Greeves in 1953, Greeves motorcycles were initially started as a sideline from the disability buggy business but quickly became one of the best regarded sports bikes of their era. If you’re looking for some post-war sportsbikes to add to your collection, it’s easy enough to find something at a relatively sane price.

Triumph

3TA: lookin’ like a snack

Triumph are, of course, legends. Pretty much everything they’ve put their name to is highly regarded and sought after. It’s still possible to find the good stuff at something approaching a sensible price, and the Triumph 21, or the 3TA as it was renamed, is high up there. With a 350cc engine and some absolutely beautiful late-50’s styling, it’s an underappreciated machine from one of the best manufacturers ever.

If you’re a collector with any tips, secrets or stories you want to share, sound off in the comments!

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Bikers can get up close and personal with the Triumph TR6 used in one of film’s most celebrated motorcycle stunt scenes.

The Triumph TR6 Trophy used by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape is now on display at Triumph’s UK manufacturing facility at Hinckley in Leicestershire.

The motorcycle used in the film was in fact a post war 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy disguised as a German BMW R75 motorcycle.

Film is based on real mass POW camp breakout

Despite that, The Great Escape is based on a real mass World War II POW camp break-out.

Based on the book of the same name, it was a first-hand account of the escape from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland).

Stalag Luft III was built and billed as the camp that no one could escape from and imprisoned there were the most notorious escapees from British and American armed forces.

Ultimately 76 prisoners escape but only three made it to freedom. The rest were recaptured, 11 returned to Stalag Luft III and the remainder killed.

The famous Triumph TR6 motorcycle stunt comes when escapee Steve McQueen, who plays USAAF Captain Virgil Hilts, is being chased by columns of German soldiers.

After a number of close shaves McQueen reached the Swiss border but was confronted by a series of barbed wire fences, with the Germans still in hot pursuit.

The Triumph TR6 stunt “famed but failed”

He manages to jump the first fence but comes to grief on the second, higher one, after the Triumph is shot at and damaged. Despite the ultimately failed motorcycle stunt the moment is writ large in film legend.

McQueen did much of the riding for the film himself although Bud Ekins performed the famous motorcycle stunt scene. 

Some years later McQueen raced a Triumph TR6 at a number of events in the United States.

If you think you could have made the jump and fancy yourself as a bit of a motorcycle trickster find out how to become a motorcycle stunt rider.

McQueen’s triumph on the Triumph TR6 isn’t the only motorcycle that plays a starring role on the big screen. Check out Bikesure’s guide to the greatest motorcycle movies ever.

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Inspired by the heady mix of danger, petrol fumes and burning rubber? Wondered how to become a motorcycle stunt rider?

If wheelies, skids, jumps and high speed two wheel tricks are your thing there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make a career out of becoming a motorcycle stuntman – but it will require a shed load of hard work.

There are no university or college courses to teach you how to become a motorcycle stunt rider, but the British Action Academy is the closest thing there is to motorcycle stunt school.

Learning to be a motorcycle stunt rider is a BLAST

The British Action Academy offers regular seminars and courses through its British Live Action Stunts Training (BLAST).

BLAST is aimed at anyone who is seriously considering a career as a professional stunt performer.

It is the UK’s only industry Health and Safety approved stunt training course and it is run by leading stunt performers and coordinators – guys and girls that have been there, seen it, done it, and survived to tell the tale – over three days of intense theoretical and practical training.

Designed for experienced stunt performers who want to polish their skills as well as newcomers trying to break into the stunting profession, BLAST will put you through a series of realistic stunt scenarios testing you to the limits of physical and mental ability.

Every motorcycle stunt rider must join Equity

Once that course has whet your appetite you will be more determined than ever to go on and work as a professional motorcycle stuntman. To do that in the UK you must be at least 18 years old and signed up to the British Equity Stunt Register.

You will have to work for at least three years as a Probationary Member of the Register, a further minimum of two years as Intermediate Member when you will be able to perform supervised stunts, before progressing to Full Membership, and a further period of not less than five years to become a fully fledged Stunt Action Co-ordinator, meaning you can perform stunts and plan and supervise stunts for others.

Because of the potentially dangerous, hazardous or specialist aspects of the work, career progression for Stunt Performers is strictly regulated by the Joint Industry Stunt Committee.

The stunt rider must keep meticulous stunt records

Logbooks must be kept providing evidence that stunts have been performed in a wide variety of disciplines – so even if you want to specialise in motorcycle stunts, you will have to be proficient in a diverse set of stunt skills.

But in whichever discipline you specialise, endurance and flexibility are key qualities you will need. A sudden phone call might require you to traipse across the country at short notice for a shoot and because the stunt team plays second fiddle to the acting cast, stuntmen usually get the wrong end of the filming schedule which can mean long hours, extreme conditions and antisocial hours.

You will also need the ability to get along with the stars of the show – the actors that you will be needed to perform as a stunt double for.

The world’s greatest motorcycle stunt riders

If you want some inspiration to help kick start your new stuntman career, check out the Bikesure celebration of the world’s greatest motorcycle stunt riders and the stomach churning, gravity defying tricks they have performed.

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If Johnny Hallyday’s old rock and roll Street Glide Trike is too hot to handle, how about getting to grips with a 1969 Honda Z50A Monkey Bike once owned by Beatles legend John Lennon?

It is set to go under the hammer in March and is expected to fetch around £30,000.

The 1969 Honda Z50A was used by Lennon to get around his rambling country estate near Ascot in Berkshire between 1969 to 1971 before being sold for just £250.

Similar versions of the tiny trials bike have recently sold at auction for more than £5,000.

Lennon’s old Honda Monkey Bike is being sold by H&H auctions

The Monkey Bike will be available at H&H Classics’ National Motorcycle Museum Motorcycle Auction in Solihull in the West Midlands on March 4.

Supporting documentation supplied for the sale include photographs showing Lennon riding the Monkey Bike with son Julian on the back in February 1970.

Lennon later sold it to Henry Graham, the owner of Motor Cycle City in Farnborough in 1971.

Monkey Bike was used to ferry current yachtsman owner around foreign ports

Later the same year, current owner John Harington – a yachtsman from Weymouth – bought the Honda for £250 and, not believing it was owned by the Beatles star, took it on his boats and used it to get around his foreign ports of call.

However, after seeing images of Lennon on the bike, Harington conducted his own research and the authenticity of the Honda Monkey Bike and its famous former owner were confirmed in 2011.

Having kept the Monkey Bike for 47 years, the last six of which have been spent displaying it at events and shows, the bike is now being offered for sale, though with no official reserve price.

“Lennon’s old Monkey Bike is in full running order”

H&H Classics said the machine was unrestored with largely original parts, and that it was  in full running order.

A similar model, previously used by Beatles band mate Ringo Starr and also reported to have been owned by Lennon, was sold by Bonhams in 2008 for £36,000.

Monkey Bike, Trike, cruising bike, custom cafe racer, or basic moped, every bike is special for the team at Bikesure the specialist motorcycle insurance company.

They can come up with cheap motorcycle insurance for most people and most motorcycles. Why don’t you try  Bikesure for a new quote?

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We all know trikes are fun and the fun probably doesn’t get much better than with this 2010 Harley-Davidson FLHXXX Street Glide Trike.

The FLHXXX Street Glide Trike looks much like a two-wheeled Harley touring bike from the front, save for a few changes to the rake angle, front stabilization strut and the braking set-up.

The Street Glide Trike was based on a new chassis that had been specifically designed for a three-wheel application.

Street Glide Trike – “probably not for anoraks”

This is not really a machine for the anoraks, but they may want to know the rake was increased to 32 degrees, while the forks were stretched by 1.775 in., enhancing steering control by reducing effort by up to 25 per cent.

Additionally, a steering damper minimizes wobble and lessens bump steer when negotiating turns.


Power comes from a twin-cam 103 V-Twin with electronic fuel injection. It delivers 101 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm and is mated to the same six-speed Cruise Drive transmission used on Harley’s other touring machines.

It’s fast. Very fast. So, importantly, bringing the Street Glide Trike to a halt are dual front discs and a dual-disc rear brake system.


Street Glide Trike was owned by rocker Johnny Hallyday

This fully customized FLHXXX Street Glide Trike was originally owned by French rock and roll legend Johnny Hallyday and was kept at his home in Los Angeles.

The unique Buckwild paint job features traditional flames, very much fitting Hallyday’s rock persona.

Other custom features include a Bluetooth stereo system, Battistinis shifters, brake pedal, derby cover, footboards and Thunderheaders to ensure this custom trike announces its arrival.

Hallyday was seen many times riding this bespoke Harley around Southern California before he sold it to the current owner in 2016.

Included with the sale is the original California registration and insurance card noting Hallyday’s ownership as well as a copy of the California title.

Street Glide Trike is valued at £60,000

The Street Glide Trike is being offered for auction by RM Sotheby’s in Paris on Wednesday, February 7..

Whether you have a Honda or Harley trike like Johnny Hallyday’s old one, bought off the shelf from a specialist, or if you’ve built your trike yourself onto a Reliant or VW chassis, the beauty of a trike is that it is as individual as you.

However, finding a reasonable trike insurance quote can be something of an ordeal.

When you take out a motorcycle trike insurance policy with Bikesure, you can be confident that the policy will be perfectly tailored to your particular needs.

Bikesure offers specialist trike insurance policies

We have specialist trike insurance schemes, designed especially for trikers and catering for all modifications, whether for a disability or just for fun.

And since our trike insurance is tailored to your needs, you can choose which tricycle insurance features will benefit you most – £100,000 of legal expenses cover is included free, but you can also choose to add homestart breakdown insurance, personal injury cover or leather and helmet cover too.

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Was it the Fantic Chopper that was brought back from the dead? Or the collection of little-known Italian scooters?

This year we launched the Bikesure Forever Bikes blog to celebrate the owners who have kept the same two-wheels for 30 years or more.

They’ve shared their stories about the memories, the rebuilds and the joys of owning a classic bike for so long.

Here’s the five most read articles of 2017 – and we hope 2018 will bring even more.

Happy New Year from everyone at Bikesure.

Number 5. The Lambretta Li150 Special Pete’s owned for over 50 years.

In 1964, Pete Hockley bought his Lambretta Li150 Special for £177, 7s and 6d.

He was an apprentice draftsman at the time, and it was the beginning of a way of life.

A life of scooter rallies, Parkas, foot-stomping music, coffee shops – and ultimately for him, the reputation of a fearless racer with the legendary Wildcat Lambrettas.

In 1969, he was a national scooter track champion, racing both solo on his own Li150 and with a sidecar passenger in the Wildcat combinations. He, and his scooter, both retired in in the early 1970s.

But after a restoration spanning 40 years, the same silver Lambretta he used to travel the country during the mod era is back on the road.

“Selling it was not even a thought process,” says Peter, now 70.

“Other people said ‘why don’t you sell it because they get good money?’ Yeah, they do, but it’s my youth and I don’t want to throw it away.”

Number 4. Terry’s love for a little-known Italian masterpiece… the Moto Rumi.

In early 1960, Terry Bedford bought his first Moto Rumi. He enjoyed it so much that within a couple of years he bought two more – and still has them, all lovingly restored.

The little-known Italian company had already gone into liquidation when he bought the scooters, but Terry appreciated the design and was prepared to take care of them.

He doesn’t remember how much he paid for the first one, his 1959 Tipo Sport. Yet, it was money well spent as he still takes it out and about occasionally.

“I only ever ride it at shows nowadays so it’s pretty easy keeping up the maintenance and keeping it in good running order,” he says.

Number 3. The Royal Enfield Crusader Sports that’s too perfect to part with.

Chris Cobbold bought his bike new in 1959 for £212 and still stands in his garage near Ipswich after 150,000 miles and four major rebuilds.

It’s a machine which Chris says “suited me down to the ground”.

“It was a very attractive machine in those days, the Sports 250,” he says. “I’m a very small chap, only 5ft 2in, and it’s a jolly good little bike for people like me – it was very easy to handle physically.

“Everything about it just fitted me. I could, and did, ride many big bikes, it was just a bit more of a challenge. That’s why I kept it – I liked it and it just suited me.”

Number 2. The Fantastic Fantic Chopper that was brought back from the dead.

As a teenager, Colin Woodhams was motorbike mad and two posters on his bedroom wall – a still from the biker movie Easy Rider and a Fantic Chopper.

To a 16-year-old in the 1970s, the 50cc Fantic was the closest you could get to emulating Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper’s chopper-riding adventure through the American south.

And when he could, he bought a brand new Fantic. That was 40 years ago, and Colin still owns the outrageous moped having saved it from the scrapheap twice during its lifetime.

“I’ll keep it forever,” says Colin, now 59. “I’ll tell them to throw it in the furnace with me and it can go with me.”

Number 1. Riding the Super Rocket that’s “like being out with an old mate’.

Brian Watson traded up his first bike, a BSA Bantam 150cc two stroke for the bike of his dreams… BSA A10 Super Rocket.

He was just 17 years old. And despite riding such a powerful machine at such a tender age, his mum was not, apparently, overly concerned.

“I come from a big family and, to be honest, I think she was just grateful that when I was out riding with my mates I was out of her hair!” he says.

Brian paid £175 for the then two-year-old Super Rocket back in 1961. Incredibly, 55 years later, he still owns the bike and still takes it out and about occasionally.

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It will be tougher for learner moped and scooter riders to get on the road in 2018 as the Government accelerates plans to introduce a new enhanced theory test for rookies.

Compulsory Basic Training for learner moped and scooter riders has been unchanged since 1990. It currently only requires a new rider to show they can perform simple skills, with no formal test, before being allowed on the road.

Road safety minister Jesse Norman said this will change with the introduction of the new theory test for learner moped and scooter riders – he is also beefing up penalties for learners who pick up six penalty points. They will be banned and forced to retake the test.

Motorcyclists aged 16 who have undertaken their CBT can ride a moped while displaying L-plates, while anyone 17 or over can legally ride a machine up to 125cc with a maximum power output of 15 horse power while displaying learner plates.

Any learner moped and scooter riders who don’t take their full motorcycle test within two years will have to retake the CBT.

New test for learner moped and scooter riders to make roads safer

The changes will be introduced towards the end of 2018 and aim to put the brakes on rising motorcycle accidents and fatalities.

The minister said: “We have one of the best road safety records in the world, but we are determined to do more to prevent deaths and serious injuries.

“Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and have the highest fatality rate of any group. That is why I am pleased to announce these changes to motorcycle training.

“These improvements should equip learners with a wider range of experience and better riding skills, helping to make our roads safer for everyone.”

“Priority is to help riders through a lifetime of safe riding”

DVSA’s Mark Winn added: “In 2016, over a third of moped and motorcyclist casualties were aged between 16 and 24.

“We want to reduce the risk they face by introducing more realistic and individually tailored training, provided by better qualified instructors.

“Making these improvements to training will help make sure motorcyclists have the skills and knowledge they need to help them stay safe on our busy, modern roads.”

The Government may be making it tougher for learner moped and scooter riders to get on the road in 2018, but Bikesure the specialist bike insurance company is making it easier to get insured with some great low cost deals. 

And Bikesure’s great deals could get even better because discounts may be available for riders who invest in Thatcham-assured security measures, embark on extended training programmes, or who are members of specialist motorcycle clubs.

Bikesure clients can also save money on a Transport for London motorcycle training scheme.

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A second hand bike doesn’t mean having to settle for second best, you can pick up a near-classic motorbike for a bargain price.  

Thanks to the magic of instant vehicular depreciation and careful searching, the best bikes of yesteryear can be yours for a fraction of their original price.

With some careful hunting and a little luck it’s relatively easy to get your hands on something good. Join Bikesure, the freewheeling insurance broker, as it seeks out some supercharged bargains.

Near-classic motorbikes – don’t be ripped off

Buying second hand can be fraught with problems. While the majority of sellers are doing it in good faith, there’s always the danger of being ripped off.  

Make sure you know what you’re buying before you hand over the readies.

Buying via a dealer may be more expensive than lucking out on a deal off gumtree or ebay but it does at least provide a degree of security; a private sale means you have to do a certain amount of due diligence to make sure you’re not getting palmed off with stolen goods or a mechanical disaster.

It can be difficult to identify fake listings just by picture alone, but there are sometimes clues:

Near-classic motorbikes at a bargain price can be found online

Online sales have been an absolute windfall for bargain hunting bikers, sadly it’s also been an absolute dream for fraudsters. Anyone who’s browsed ebay, gumtree, craigslist, or the many local sales groups on Facebook, will develop a vague sense of which listings are scams.

While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few things that should raise warning flags.

For example, ebay’s feedback rating is a good record of the seller’s interactions. It’s easy enough to get a feeling for a genuine account, as they’ll have a string of feedback and/or other details that can be confirmed with a quick internet search.

Luckily these things are easily identify once you get to inspecting the bike in person. As well as making sure the documents are all in order, you should obviously make sure it works with a test drive.

Looking for near-classic motorbikes? Here’s what to aim for

So what are the biggest bargains? Well, they’re usually the bikes destined to become future classics.

Released in the last couple of decades, they’re often the hottest bikes in the world when they were first released, but are still common enough that the prices haven’t started going up. At the risk of causing prices to rise, these are the bikes from the recent past that offer the biggest savings on their original cost.

Aprilia

This Italian marque’s bikes are some of the best regarded in the world, setting an impressive series of records.

While the latest version of their naked sports bike, the Shiver 900, goes for between £7-8,000, its ten year old sibling the 750 can be regularly found in the region of two and a half grand, which is quite a bargain in anyone’s language.

In terms of mechanical maintenance, naked sports are statistically more likely to have been ridden ragged by their previous owners, so it may be worth giving it a slightly more in-depth check before handing over the sponds, if possible.

Alternatively, the SL1000 can be regularly found for about £2,000. Another street sport that never quite found the popularity it deserved during its production run, this does at least mean that there’s a steady supply of powerful, high-end bikes on the second hand market for anyone willing to give them a second chance at a loving home.

BMW F800ST

Beemers are [insert string of clichés about German engineering here], with a good reputation for long lifespans that makes a second-hand purchase a pretty sensible idea.

The F800ST continues to be produced, with the latest version, the F800R costing around £8 grand. Earlier versions of the R or its predecessor the S can be found for about half that, and that reliability should guarantee a good few years of quality driving.

Triumph Daytona 675 

Now here’s a bike with a potential learnable example for everyone. The 675 is an absolute stonker, one of the best regarded bikes of the 21st century so far.

A new one would set you back a little over ten actual grand, but you can find second hand ones for around a quarter of that easily.

Triumph are scaling down their slate of supersport bikes due to a collapse in their popularity as well as the recent Euro 4 legislation. So bargains abound for the non-environmentally conscious biker who pays no heed to the passing fancies of fashion.

Alternatively you can take those passé supersport styles and customise the bike into something more in line with current fashions. It’s not exactly the cheapest way to get a custom bike, but you could get something unique for slightly less than other expensive bikes.

Honda VTR1000

Another star of yesteryear that can be had for less than £2k, the VTR1000, or the RC51 as it was known on the track, is still a tasty treat for the speed-freaks out there.

Obviously some models are pushing 20 years old now, so any amazing deal you find should probably be checked a bit more carefully.

Even the best maintained bike could be beginning to develop a suite of interesting issues at that age, so you should give it more than a casual once over before buying, if possible.  But its powerful V-twin engine means you should have fun if you do find a good one.

If you’re willing to take a chance on something slightly older, Honda’s mid-90’s bikes like the VFR750 and VFR800 can be found for anything from £1,500 to £3k, depending on condition.

Kawasaki ZZR600

The super-quick ZZR600 is another bargain for the speed-lords on a budget out there.

The Kawasaki was less than successful while it was on sale because drivers wanted to kid themselves that they were professional racers.

Nevertheless, it’s an absolutely cracking bike that can be had for as low as £2k and as high as £2.5k. Obviously it might save a bit of dough down the line if you spring for one of the newer ones but c’mon, I mean c’mon. That’s a lot of bike for a reasonable amount of money.

For anyone wanting a bit of absurdly fast superbike fun, you can save upwards of £10k by buying the previous iteration of Kawasaki’s flagship Ninja ZX-10R, down from £18k new to £4k on average secondhand.

The good thing about these powerful bikes is they’re either owned by total nutters or the incredibly sensible. The former means it got trashed within months of being bought, the latter means it was kept in cotton wool and might as well be new.

Try and get one of the second category if you can, but maybe one of the first will be OK if you don’t mind a few scrapes on the bodywork.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500

Of course modern classics don’t just include modern classics, but modern recreations of classics that are also classics in their own right. What a time to be alive!

Royal Enfield was a British legend who became an Indian legend. The Bullet 500 has been in production since 1992, and while the RRP of a new one is over £4k, you should be able to find one second hand for about a grand, dependent on age etc.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the standard of construction improved down the years, and the ones dating post 2000 are generally considered to be more reliable.

Obviously this isn’t going to be a speed demon to quite the same degree as others on this list, and will be a more old-school driving experience. But in terms of actual classicly-classic style then this is a pretty good choice for that all-important urban commuter market segment.  

Alternatively, the Enfield Sixty-5 comes with an electric start and a more modern design of gearbox, making it a more forgiving ride for new drivers.

Yamaha YZF 600

Back to the sportier end of the spectrum. Loads of these bikes are released but because most of their target market want to have something to use on track days – or at least something to kid themselves that they’ll go to track days on – the mid-range engine models can often be picked up for a song just a few years out from release day.

Possibly the biggest selling point for this bike is its name, the Thundercat. This makes it ideal for 80s kids who for some reason have a sense of nostalgia for one of the worst tie-in promotional cartoons from a decade that was absolutely sloshing full of terrible cartoons promoting toy lines.

Suzuki Hayabusa

A true classic of future past here, the Hayabusa instantly turned heads when it was released, being the fastest production motorcycle ever made.

The current version will set you back a cool £12k or thereabouts new but thanks to the model’s popularity there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to pick up a second hand one with prices starting from under £3k.

Obviously those original purestrain 1999 “busas” with the absolute tip-top speeds will go for more but let’s be absolutely honest here, if you’re looking for an actual form of transport rather than something to sit unused in a garage you’ll do fine with the marginally less fast ones. No seriously, you’ll be dandy.

Dipping further into Suzuki’s 90’s deep cuts, the RF900 is another sports tourer often described as “surprisingly good”. But then people also say that it has a design that distinguishes it from the other sports tourers, which is weird because most of these bikes look virtually identical.

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Just in time for Christmas, Bikesure can unveil the ultimate gift for grown up kids – the BMW concept flying motorcycle built in conjunction with children’s favourite, Lego.

Based on the 630-part Lego Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure kit, engineers used the same number of mechanical parts to create the Hover Ride as a full-sized replica, complete with front wheel propellers.

It is the first Lego model to be created in co-operation with the superpower German automotive manufacturer.

The flying motorcycle exhibits innovation and tradition

Head of Sales and Marketing at BMW Motorrad, Heiner Faust, said: “BMW Motorrad approached Lego Group with the idea of a collaboration because the two companies have much in common.

“They both successfully combine innovation and tradition in their brands and products, providing unforgettable experiences for young and old alike all over the world.”

BMW Motorrad’s Head of Vehicle Design, Alexander Buckan, added: “It was a great idea and a superb creative challenge to develop a fictitious model from the parts of the Lego Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure set.

“Our concept not only incorporates the BMW Motorrad design DNA with typical elements such as the boxer engine and the characteristic GS silhouette, it also draws on the Lego Technic stylistic idiom.”

Components custom built for concept flying motorcycle

The flying motorcycle concept was built by young engineers at BMW’s Munich training centre – the project proved to be child’s play.

Components, including the front-wheel trim which was modified to form the propeller, were custom made and adapted especially for the project.

BMW engineering trainer Markus Kollmannsperger was proud of his young high flying engineers for their work on the project.

He said: “It was incredibly inspiring to see colleagues from different disciplines working with our trainees.

“Everyone involved in this project learned an awful lot.”

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An Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is being introduced to Central London in April 2019 – and the motorbike, scooter and moped communities are already talking about it.

Transport for London (TfL) says air pollution is one of the most significant challenges the city faces, and it’s affecting the population’s health. Studies have shown that transport is among the biggest source of emissions.

The capital already has a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in force to try and tackle the problem. It means heavy vehicles, vans and minibuses that don’t fall within certain emission standards must pay a daily charge of up to £200 to drive through the city.

And the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is keen to take this a step further in an attempt to improve the air quality – and has brought forwards the official start date of the ULEZ scheme.

It is set to replace the current T-Charge and will be in addition to the current Congestion Charge and the LEZ requirements.

So if you’re a keen motorcyclist in the city, here are some points that you’ll need to be aware of.

The ULEZ will apply to motorcycles, scooters and mopeds.

Motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category) will have to meet Euro 3 standards to enter the ULEZ.

Owners are being advised to double check the make and model of their bikes – because there will be a charge to ride through the capital if it doesn’t meet the required standards.

If your bike doesn’t meet Euro 3 standards, there will be a £12.50 charge per day.

It is possible to enter the vehicle registration details in this online tool to check. But generally speaking, the charge will apply for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quads registered before 1st July 2007.

And if you do ride through the ULEZ, you’ll be fined £130. This will be reduced to £65 if paid in 14 days – and will be in addition to other Low Emission Zone or Congestion Charge penalties as well.

The ULEZ will apply around the clock within the Congestion Charge Zone area.

It will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week within the same area of the current Congestion Charge Zone. It will come into force on 8th April 2019.

Those who live in the ULEZ will be granted a 100% discount for a limited time to allow time to change their vehicle so it meets the appropriate standards. For the time being, historic vehicles are also exempt from the scheme.

A consultation is underway to further expand the ULEZ area

TfL have now opened a public consultation on proposals for two further schemes to improve the capital’s air.

One of them involves expanding the ULEZ for light vehicles – including motorcycles, scooters and mopeds – from central London to inner London up to, but not including, the North and South Circular roads in 2021. It would mean all vehicles in this area will be subject to emissions standards.

The consultation closes on 28th February, 2018.

Other cities across Europe also have their own emission zone schemes

If you plan on travelling across Europe, it is best to look up your route and check whether you will be driving through any LEZ or ULEZs. Definitely be aware if you’re going to Paris or driving through Italy.

Under the Crit-Air scheme in Paris, all vehicles entering the city now have to display a sticker stating how much they pollute. Failure to do this will result in a fine. From 1st January 2018, Amsterdam is completely banning scooters built before 1st January 2011.

Further information about the London ULEZ is available on the TfL website.

Feature image is of a scooter driving through Central London. Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr. License information.

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