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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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Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX (2009-2011)

£11,774

1151cc, 105bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

The Moto Guzzi Stelvio is well built, sounds great, stylish, easy to handle, comfortable, practical and comes with that historic Moto Guzzi badge on the tank. It’s not as focussed as the BMW R1200GS Adventure on road and nowhere as accomplished off-road, but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either, it’s easy to ride and it comes with an air ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YBR250 (2009-current)

£3,799

249cc, 21bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 5

With no roadster to fill the void in Yamaha’s range between a learner 125 and something like an 80bhp XJ6, the Japanese firm have decided to bring the YBR250 in to the UK as a limited run. It’s friendly, practical and swift enough to have some fun - plus it's 33bhp licence-friendly too.

  • 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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Triumph Thunderbird (2009-current)

£11,149

1597cc, 85bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s all-new Thunderbird is bravely aimed at taking on Harley in the US, but in terms of spec, quality, performance and price looks the best-equipped rival ever to do just that. It performs well, handles better, is beautifully built and has all the cruiser goodies you could wish for. But if we have to be critical, it’s a bit derivative ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Streetfighter S (2009-2012)

£14,695

1099cc, 155bhp, 154mph, Insurance group

The Ducati Streetfighter looks like a crashed 1098 superbike but packs so much presence and attitude it works standing still. It needs to because at £13,995 for the S-version we rode here, it has a hell of a lot of competition on its hands in one of the biggest-growing classes in the UK. Ducati claim it’s the lightest bike in the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800R (2009-current)

£7,595

798cc, 87bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 12

BMW placed the F800R as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad of 600cc middleweight bikes eg Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc! And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Café Classic (2009-2012)

£6,169

744cc, 48bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 14

The new Moto Guzzi Café Classic is a café racer version of the V7 Classic retro roadster warmly received last year. Powered by Guzzi’s small block 750 Nevada V-twin powertrain in an old school twin shock chassis, it’s a dinky, cute runaround and almost embarassingly toy-like for anyone over 5’10”. But what makes it great is how beautifully and classily ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2009-2011)

£10,825

999cc, 161bhp, 178.9mph, Insurance group 17

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 is the first completely new GSX-R1000 in the big Suzuki’s history, but it feels uncannily similar to the K7/K8 model it replaces. Despite a new short-stoke engine and an all-new chassis, the K9 hasn’t captured the spirit of the grunt-filled, lightweight K5 bike as we’d hoped and still lacks the agility to keep with its rivals ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki Gladius (2009-current)

£5,699

645cc, 75.9bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 10

The old SV650 was a good bike and to be honest Suzuki didn’t have to do much to make it a great bike once more. But they have gone one better and given us an excellent bike. Obvious improved looks but the real beauty it’s under the skin, the lovely fuelled, smooth, punchy, little V-Twin.  As an added extra bonus ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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