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Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

N/A

499cc, 57bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 9

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2003-2004)

N/A

988cc, 164bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 16

Ultra fast, capable track missile that works far better on the road then you’d imagine. The MK II Suzuki GSX-R1000 (K3-K4) thou is smaller and more compact than the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1-K2 models. It’s easier to flick around race tracks but, bizarrely, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 makes an acceptable one-man sports tourer too.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2001-2002)

N/A

988cc, 160bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 16

This Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the original ‘Gixxer-thou’ – THE top dog sports bike of its day. Later Suzuki GSX-R1000s became smaller and more revvy as well as faster round circuits and arguably easier to handle. The original Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1 and K2 models are still supremely competent sports bikes and pretty decent all round machines too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2001-2003)

N/A

599cc, 101bhp, 158mph, Insurance group 14

What a makeover! And just in time… As other sports 600s were creeping ahead, Suzuki looked as if it would be left for dead. And then they came up with this Suzuki GSX-R600. Slimmed down, firmed up and with power and torque figures to raise front wheels as well as eyebrows, the “new” Suzuki GSX-R600 was an absolute storm.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

Surprisingly cool, versatile and fun retro – indeed one of the first. Triumph Thunderbird 900 took the pleasing and fruity Triumph Trident and refashioned it into an althogether more stylish package. There’s handling, comfort and decent poke inside those cream and chrome walls, while cred is guaranteed by the name on the tank. Nice.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit (1996-2006)

N/A

1152cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit is one of biking's true bargains. Grunty Suzuki GSX-R1100 derived engine, decent handling for its day and simple to tune up should you require more lairy A roads fun. The 2000 onwards GSF1200 Bandit's are more touring based, bit softer, but the finish is slightly better.

  • 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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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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