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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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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
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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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Kawasaki Z1000 (2014 - current)

£9,499

1043cc, 140bhp, 147mph, Insurance group

The new 2014 Z1000 is a ballsy move by Kawasaki – and not just because it looks like something out of a Terminator movie. No, it’s ballsy because it’s rejected the current (and often expensive) fashion for electronic rider aids, because it focuses on real world riding thrills rather than fantastic and often irrelevant (for a street super naked at ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Honda NC700S (2012-2013)

£5,499

670cc, 47bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 11

An economical little work horse that can just about cut it out of town when you fancy going a little faster. Stability, comfort, cheap price and a large storage space make the NC700S a very appealing bike. Overall the NC700S is a surprisingly endearing utility bike. You’d buy it with your head…but it would soon find a place in your heart.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda NC700X (2012-2013)

£5,999

670cc, 51bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

The idea of a cheap, capable bike that offers more in terms of style and versatility than a basic commuter is a good one. Being able to stash a helmet turns 'good' into practical brilliance. Affordability and ease of use is what the NC700X is all about with bags of comfort, stability, an agile chassis and a simple engine with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Versys 1000 (2012-current)

£9,499

1043cc, 116bhp, 140mph, Insurance group

Its odd looks will always raise questions, but the engine won’t, it’s a peach. There’s loads of low down, a nice spread of torque and the dollop of top end power should see it as the quickest bike in this category. It’s also extremely comfortable, will eat mile after mile all day long and handles reasonably well (up to a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Speedmaster (2011-current)

£7,199

865cc, 60bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Considering the price you get a lot of bike for your money. This ‘junior cruiser’ doesn’t feel like a lesser bike; it’s not underpowered, doesn’t feel budget, is cool and still has big bike appeal. So good and such value for money I’d question why you’d want anything bigger unless you’re a dedicated big custom fan.

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

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