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Honda NC750X (2014-current)

£6,299

745cc, 54bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

Riding the NC for any length of time reveals a bike that handles sweetly, brakes more than adequately, is comfortable, tackles scabby back roads well and, with the addition of the DCT gearbox, is easy to ride and super economical in terms of fuel use. There’s a lot to like. If, however, you want a bike that will be the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z800 (2013-current)

£7,499

806cc, 111bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-current)

£9,499

782cc, 101bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

The Crossrunner has already proved controversial for being passed off as a new bike when, effectively, it’s little more than a re-worked, re-styled nine-year-old VFR800 with some ‘parts bin’ equipment. But there’s no denying that, as a concept, as a two-wheeled ‘cross-over’ machine, the Crossrunner simply works. It’s one of the best, friendliest and truly versatile bikes around – anywhere. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSR 750 (2011-current)

£6,999

749cc, 105bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 12

The GSR750 is an entirely new bike – not just a GSX-R750 with flat bars and no fairing. As you'd expect it’s far more user friendly and practical than the GSX-R, and is designed to compete with Yamaha’s FZ8 and Kawasaki’s Z750.  It delivers supernaked looks in a usable, stylish middleweight body, with the 105bhp 749cc engine offering enough poke ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Daytona 675R (2011-2012)

£9,799

675cc, 126bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Triumph has labeled the 675R as a track day weapon/fast road riding tool, and MCN can’t argue with this. The stiff Ohlins suspension and lithesome, agile nature of the 675R chassis gives the impression it is a sorted race bike. Couple this with impressive midrange from of the triple-cylinder engine and you have a bike that allows devastating corner speed ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 800 XC (2010-current)

£8,699

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The new 800 XC is very much the bigger, burlier brother of Triumph’s two new Tigers. From the moment you swing your leg on board it’s clearly a taller, seemingly more substantial machine. The combination of 21-inch wire front wheel (in place of the 800’s cast 19incher), longer travel (by 40mm) 45mm forks (the 800’s are 43mm) and slightly wider ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 800 (2010-current)

£8,099

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s new Tiger 800 is the slightly more basic, more road-orientated and novice-friendly (not to mention cheaper) version of its two, new, three cylinder dual-purpose machines. The other is the Tiger 800XC. It’s a great bike, too –  impressing immediately with excellent ergonomics, and a superbly linear and progressive power delivery.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF1000 (2010-current)

£9,499

998cc, 106bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

There wasn’t anything really wrong with the old bike apart from it appeared a little dated and it was more of an ugly duckling rather than a stunning swan. However, Honda have addressed that, given the CBF a new face, new clocks, lightened the frame and improved fuel economy. Great ergonomics, easy to ride, just enough power, relatively lightweight handling, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F650GS (2008-current)

£6,650

798cc, 71bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 8

BMW’s successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single is, confusingly, being based on the F800GS, neither a single (it’s a parallel twin) or a 650 (it’s 798cc) – so perhaps not surprisingly it’s miles better than the old one. Just as importantly, though, with a lowered seat, softened delivery and more, it’s every bit as novice or shortie-friendly and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia Shiver GT (2009-2011)

£7,474

749cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 15

The standard Aprilia SL750 Shiver is just another funky naked bike – but the simple addition of a fairing turns it in to one of the best Italian all rounders you can buy. The Shiver GT is very competent, mixing practicality with style, performance and character for not a huge amount of cash.

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

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