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Yamaha MT-07 (2014-current)

£5,199

689cc, 74bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

What a surprise the MT-07 is. It’s light, friendly, punchy, fast, frugal and more fun than it has a right to be. We reckon for everyday use and shorter-distance riding it’s actually better than the bigger, more expensive, MT-09. It’s such a superb performer and well built, the MT-07 would still knock us sideways if it was a grand more ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z1000SX (2014-current)

£9,199

1043cc, 140bhp, 165mph, Insurance group

The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX is a clever, considered and very worthwhile update of an already excellent machine. The Z1000SX was already something of a connossieurs’ choice: fast, effective, decently equipped, involving, good value and yet understated and unshowy too. Kawasaki hasn’t lost any of that. It hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bath water. Instead it has corrected or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Street Triple R (2013-current)

£8,049

675cc, 105bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Compared to the previous incarnation, the 2013 Triumph Street Triple R is lighter, smoother, more refined and has the handling and brakes a superbike would be proud of. Best of all, it’s 6kg lighter. It’s lost some of that in-your-face, foaming-at-the-mouth aggression, which made the original make us all stand up and take notice back in 2007, but it’ll be ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2011-current)

£9,899

750cc, 148bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

After years of gentle evolution Suzuki has gone to town on its 2011 GSX-R750. Weighing in at 190kg, fully-fuelled and ready to go, it’s a massive 8kg lighter than the old model, giving the 148bhp GSX-R750 a mouth-watering power-to-weight ratio. The 750’s rolling chassis and bodywork is completely new, but it doesn’t get the GSX-R600’s radical engine overhaul and the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2011-current)

£8,799

599cc, 125.8bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Suzuki has slashed an incredible 9kg from the 2011 GSX-R600. The engine has more midrange, a close ratio gearbox and for the first time, Showa Big Piston Forks and Brembo monobloc radial front brakes. Aside from a handful of components, the GSX-R600 is completely new. The easy-going nature of the bike is still there, but it’s sharper, more agile and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Speed Triple (2011-current)

£9,599

1050cc, 133bhp, mph, Insurance group 14

2005 was the last time Triumph updated the Speed Triple by giving it the new 1050cc engine. Five years on and Triumph saw fit to update, overhaul and completely transform its biggest selling bike – 65,000 models sold since 1994. For 2011 the Speed Triple has an all-new chassis package, frame and swingarm included, to turn MCN’s favourite big-bore naked ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell XB9SX Lightning (2004-2009)

£5,990

984cc, 84bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

The Buell XB9SX is an oddity. What you get is an old-school v-twin in a high-tech chassis, all wrapped up in a mad-max style urban scrambler. On paper it makes very little sense – a modern naked middleweight out-performs it in every practical way. But it looks great, sounds mean and the handling is sublime. It would be a hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Ducati Hypermotard 796 (2009-2012)

£7,395

803cc, 81bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Ducati’s entry-level 803cc Hypermotard 796 is a stormer of a machine. It’s 12kg lighter and its seat is 20mm lower than the Hypermotard 1100, which makes it easier to ride and in the real world, and every bit as fast from A to B. It’s a deal cheaper too and Ducati says it will return 58.9mph, which makes it the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia Mana GT (2009-2011)

£8,174

839cc, 76bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

The £6999 Mana 850 GT ABS is a clever bike and so much more than just a motorcycle with a big scooter engine. The new fairing and ABS add an extra layer of practicality and safety to a package which seems ordinary on paper, and a bit dull to look at, admittedly, but the Mana 850 GT ABS is absolutely ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Benelli Tre K 899 (2009-current)

£7,995

898cc, 105bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

This is the smaller engined version of Benelli’s brilliant, but unfortunately rare Tre K 1130  sports tourer. We rate it highly: it’s comfy, easy to ride, sounds great, handles well and has a wild side for when the mood takes you. It’s not the obvious choice, which will actually a plus-point for many, but some will be sceptical, worried about ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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