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Yamaha FZ8 (2010-current)

£6,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s original FZS600 Fazer and later models always represented value for money workhorses – the sort of bike you could commute and have fun on anytime, anywhere. But now the XJ6 and Diversion fills the cheap and cheerful slot left by the death of the FZ6 S2 and FZ6 Fazer. The replacement machine is the new FZ8 (and half-faired FZ8 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda Fury VT1300CX (2010-2013)

£9,975

1312cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 15

As Japanese customs go, Honda’s Fury is arguably the best Harley-Davidson clone to date. Its looks are radical for a Japanese custom, majoring more on a raked-out chopper design than a straightforward custom or cruiser, and Honda America’s design team should be applauded for this. Now add an engine that is typical Honda – perfect fuelling, gearbox and gutsy, complete ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod Muscle (2009-current)

£13,845

1250cc, 109.2bhp, 145.1mph, Insurance group 16

Harley’s cruiser V-Rod has been about since 2001, and the new Muscle is… is just another styling exercise to bolster what is arguably a tired range. The Muscle is essentially a reworked V-Rod with design touches (muscular, flowing lines) to front it up as a serious boulevard traffic light blaster. Except it isn’t that muscular – 12.25sec standing quarters anyone?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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MV Agusta F4 RR 312 1078 (2008-2013)

£16,799

1078cc, 190bhp, 190mph, Insurance group 17

This is the ultimate evolution of MV Agusta’s famous F4 model, which has been with us in one form or another since 1999. The in-line-four-cylinder MV Agusta 1078cc F4 1078 RR 312 replaces last year’s 998cc F4 R 312. The ‘312’ bit of the name refers to the top speed achieved by the bike on MV’s test track: 312km/h (193mph). ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Buell 1125CR (2008-current)

£7,830

1125cc, 146bhp, 154.85mph, Insurance group 16

Based on the sports Buell 1125R, the 1125CR is essentially a naked version of the same bike. As it comes it has one-piece handlebars to mimic clip-ons, but the pay-extra upright bars make more sense to ride with – far more comfortable, fits  the naked bill. It has the Buell 1125R’s full-fat 146bhp engine and, despite its unusual looks, the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Harley-Davidson XR1200R (2008-2012)

£7,655

1202cc, 90bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Basically, perhaps very basically, the Harley-Davidson XR1200R is a good bike. Dynamically the XR1200R performs and handles better than any Harley before. It’s brisk (if not exactly fast), fun to throw around and looks good, too. The main disappointment is that it’s finish and spec is pretty crude and the XR1200R looks like its engineering came out of a Polish ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XT600E (1990-2004)

N/A

595cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable and solid as an old school trail bike gets. The Yamaha XT600E was the last of a long line of 4-valve air-cooled Yamaha singles, starting off with the original, much-loved XT500 of the mid-70s. This is a true trailie: decent off-round and straightforward and ujn-fussy on. Don’t expect any frills or motorway ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Tiger 955i (2001-2006)

N/A

955cc, 104bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The second generation Triumph Tiger carried on the theme of the original – a big, bruising road trail motorcycle powered by Hinckley’s distinctive triple. The difference was this was the second generation triple with updated chassis and styling to match. Later versions are well equipped and the Triumph Tiger 955i is a decent road motorcycle taller riders, but it’s also ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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