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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 ER-6f (2012-current)

£6,099

649cc, 70bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The outgoing ER-6f was already a very popular bike and thankfully Kawasaki haven’t felt the need to radically alter it, rather improve its slight failings and make a good bike even better. The new chassis and looks are improved and the fairing adds an element of practicality that its naked brother, the ER-6n, is lacking. The seat height is low, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Triumph Sprint GT (2010-current)

£8,999

1050cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Take Triumph’s superb Sprint ST (Sport Touring) and make it more adept at touring and also pillion friendly and what do you end up with? A Triumph Sprint GT (Grand Touring), that’s what. Sounds easy enough but in practice Triumph had to revise the Sprint’s chassis in a major way. So with a longer swingarm and steel subframe the GT ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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