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Suzuki DL650 V-Strom (2004-current)

£6,125

645cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's on to a winner. That engine is sublime, with mountains of really useable power where you want it. To an extent, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is built to a budget, but it’s a real performer. Cost-effective and versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is well worth a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VTX1800 (2001-2006)

£5,499

1795cc, 95bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

The performance cruiser is a strange concept - why do you need to go fast on a lowrider? But if power is your thing, then the VTX1800 has got plenty of it, a certain classy elegance about its lines and the mandatory V-twin shaped engine. Also has Honda's linked braking system.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CB1100 X-11 (1999-2002)

N/A

1137cc, 134bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Non-retro naked street-rod motorcycle was a brave marketing decision from Honda. Unfortunately the Honda CB1100 X-11's sales were slow and the plug was pulled quickly. Often thought of as an unfaried Honda CBR1100XX Super BlackBird – but it’s not. The Honda CB1100 X-11 is indecently powerful, big, very well put together and slightly iffy in the corners.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX1400 (2001-2006)

N/A

1402cc, 105bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Biggest and blingiest of the retros. Plus the Suzuki GSX1400's engine’s got the most low down torque by a decent margin. If you want a 70s style motorbike that’ll do everything except cruise at illegal speeds or lap race tracks at a searing pace the GSX1400 is well worth a look. Watch video of this bike and more on MCN | ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2006-2007)

N/A

998cc, 170bhp, 174mph, Insurance group 17

Every once in a while a sportster comes along that is just right. The 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is one of those machines. It delivers polished, glitch-free 180mph potency with almost no effort and yet blends this not just with the expected Honda build quality and class, but also a fat, hum-dinger, wheelie-pulling midrange that makes it more sheer fun ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2005-2006)

£8,799

999cc, 176bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

The first Suzuki GSX-R1000 set new superbike standards in 2001, the second one did it again in 2003 and this, the third full Suzuki GSX-R1000 update, went straight back to the top of the superbike tree in 2005 and stayed there, pretty much ever since. The reasons for the Suzuki GSX-R1000's dominance are simple. Sublime, lithe ergonomics and handling, radical ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (1999-2007)

£6,649

1299cc, 175bhp, 190mph, Insurance group 15

The original Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa is still one seriously quick motorcycle, possessed of enormous acceleration and breathtaking top speed. True, the GSX1300R Hayabusa doesn't quite handle all that power (and weight) too brilliantly sometimes, but it remains a supremely comfortably long range missile, that always delivers a shot of raw adrenaline. Latest version is better yet.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 (1990-1997)

N/A

1052cc, 147bhp, 172mph, Insurance group 16

The ZZ-R11 long reigned as speed top dog, but that all changed in 1996 when Honda’s Super Blackbird assumed the title of “Fastest Production Motorcycle”. Intriguingly, however, the ZZ-R continues to impress, aceing the the Blackbird in top gear roll on tests, remaining a great all-rounder and now being better value than ever.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF1000 (2006-2009)

£5,999

998cc, 96.5bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Honda CBF1000: Nice legs, shame about the boat race… The big Honda CBF1000 is one of the unsung heroes of modern motorcycling. Detuned Blade engine, fabulously easy handling and throttle response and great ergonomics make the Honda CBF1000 hooningly enjoyable, yet novice friendly and a great value all-rounder. It's just a shame the Honda CBF1000 looks so dull.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Speed Triple 1050 (2005-2010)

£7,799

1050cc, 128bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 13

Triumph's Speed Triple 1050 is one factory Streetfighter than delivers the goods. It's plenty fast enough, in fact you can hit 150mph if you can hang on. Plus it sounds beautiful and the fact that it's a big heavy lump that needs manhandling round corners actually attracts devotees. The Speed Triple always was, and remains, a bit of a Rottweiler.  ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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