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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)

£9,299

1043cc, 140bhp, mph, Insurance group 17

The old SX was already something of a connossieurs’ choice: fast, effective, decently equipped, good value (without seeming cheap or tacky in any way) and yet understated and unshowy, too.The new 2014 version hasn’t lost any of that. Instead it’s merely corrected or improved what genuinely needed it (suspension, preload adjuster, panniers), subtly enhanced what perhaps didn’t, but is welcome ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Honda CB500X (2013-current)

£5,099

471cc, 47bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch. The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW S1000R (2014-current)

£9,990

999cc, 160bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Very few performance bikes give you so much of everything, as the S1000R does. It’s two hugely capable bikes in one: it’s smooth, comfortable and safe, thanks to its flawless electronic rider aids, perfect throttle and usable power, but it’s wild when you want it to be, too. It’s exactly how you’d imagine a superbike with straight bars and no ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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 DL650 V-Strom 650 ABS (2011 - current)

£6,899

645cc, 68bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

We approached the new V-Strom full of skepticism but have been swayed.First, the restyle is a stunning success in its own right. I can’t think of any bike that looks so classy for so little money. Second, almost every aspect has been improved in terms of performance, ranging from engine and handling to manageability and range. But what’s impressed most ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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MV Agusta Brutale 920 (2011-2012)

£9,999

921cc, 130bhp, 158mph, Insurance group 17

The 920 is the new entry-level MV Agusta Brutale which, despite lashings of Italian flair and 130bhp performance, costs the same as a Yamaha FZ1 at £9999. It has a number of changes aimed at keeping the cost down over the bigger capacity 990R and 1090R bigger brother.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Moto Guzzi V7 Racer (2011-current)

£8,132

744cc, 49bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 14

Moto Guzzi’s new V7 Racer is a class act. It’s a special, but full-production, version of the Italian firm’s V7 Classis and comes with an unbelievable raft of goodies, including a chrome-effect fuel tank, a hand-finished frame and uprated cycle parts. This modern-day retro isn’t on a par with a Triumph Thruxton or Ducati Sport Classic performance-wise, but it’s easy ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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