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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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Yamaha XJ6 Diversion F (2010-current)

£6,699

599cc, 78bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

One of the laziest new bike developments for 2010, the Yamaha XJ6 Diversion F is simply a standard Diversion with a full fairing and ABS. It’s a similarly easy to ride all-rounder that’s practical as a day-to-day bike, but it’s a bit more stylish than the half-faired bike.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM 690 Duke R (2010 model)

£8,899

690cc, 71.4bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 11

Even though the bike tested was a pre-production unit – virtually finished bar the paintwork and decals – this bigger capacity 690 Duke is altogether a different machine than non-R model 690 Duke (654cc). The extra 36cc (KTM won’t confirm this figure until after official model launch, mid Nov ’09) of the new R-model with carbonfibre front mudguard and revised ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki Burgman 650 (2003-current)

£8,799

638cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The biggest scooter in the two wheeled world is really a mid sized touring motorcycle under its plastic panels, with a punchy 638cc twin cylinder motor makes a claimed 54bhp which is enough to send the 650 Burgervan to about 110mph. Too heavy, too wallowy in the corners and short on luggage capacity for serious touring riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT750C Shadow (2004-2007)

£5,845

745cc, 45bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VT750C Shadow's a sleek and smooth (if slightly underpowered) cruiser. The shaft drive is a welcome addition but carbs and drum brakes are a bit old hat for a modern machine. Still, it looks the part, rides well and lacks the agricultural feel of its, ahem, American counterparts.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GSR600 (2006-2010)

£5,200

599cc, 88bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSR600 is a middleweight inline four in the same mould as Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s Hornet 600. It’s a perfectly acceptable ride, but to be honest the Suzuki GSR600 adds almost nothing to the biking world – especially when Suzuki’s own Bandit 600 (and 650 version) does exactly the same job for less money than the Suzuki GSR600. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie (2003-2011)

£5,199

744cc, 48bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 10

The Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie is an ideal buy for newer or returning riders and a doddle to ride. Everything is smooth, competent and especially helpful for nervous hands. The more experienced may find it a bit dull but it makes a superb commuter, whatever your level of skill.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Multistrada 620 (2005-2007)

£5,495

618cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Yet another entry level Duke but the Ducati Multistrada 620 is more of an ‘all-rounder’ motorcycle to the Monsters’ ‘roadster’. The looks are an acquired taste and it’s not got a whole lot up top in the power department but the Ducati Mulitstrada 620 is a good, practical first big motorcycle. A bit more oomph and a bigger tank would have made it even more ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF600 (2004-2007)

£5,199

599cc, 76bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CBF600 is undoubtedly a supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy for a 600cc motorcycle, the Honda CBF600 lacks any real “go”, despite being well designed and built. It’s a good, safe choice for a new biker but, for those with more experience, it’s unlikely to satiate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mastered the basics, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2004-2005)

£6,599

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

For a supersports machine that’s as easy to ride to the shops as it is round Donington Park the 2005 Yamaha YZF-R6 comes close to spot-on. Launched as a rearguard action while the factory prepared their dinky, ride-by-wire ’06 hottie, this older version of the Yamaha YZF-R6 still comes with toys like radial brakes and is seriously underrated.

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

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