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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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KTM 990 SMT (2009-current)

£9,645

999cc, 115bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

The KTM 990 SMT is a new take on the adventure bike theme that manages to combine all the mental fun of a supermoto with the comfort, practicality and ability to cover miles of an adventure bike. It’s being hailed as the current all-rounder King offering all things to all riders. Of more interest to more people is the fact ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM RC8 (2008-2010)

£10,695

1148cc, 152.2bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

The KTM RC8 is the revelation of 2008… even though we’ve known it’s been coming for four years. Perhaps we should’ve given KTM more credit because all their machines (on and off-road) to date are superb. Nonetheless the RC8 is simply stunning and for all the right reasons. Its engine is powerful and usable; handling shames Japanese and Italian superbikes; ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW HP2 Sport (2008-2012)

£15,250

1170cc, 128bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

The BMW HP2 Sport is expensive and quite rightly so considering this is the finest sporting package BMW have rocked up with. Forget the fact that the HP2 Sport is an old air-cooled Boxer engine that supplies the goods, think more in the way this motorcycle will keep up with Japanese superbikes on the open road because of its handling, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW HP2 Megamoto (2007-2010)

£12,585

1170cc, 113bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

The The BMW HP2 Megamoto’s £12,595 price tag is ridiculously high and will stop most of us from ever experiencing it, which is a great shame. The HP2 Megamoto is far more agile, powerful and fun than you’d ever imagine just by looking at it and a million miles away from being a common or garden Steady-Eddie BMW. If only ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Hypermotard 1100 (2007-2012)

£7,750

1078cc, 90bhp, 123mph, Insurance group 17

Ducati has come up with a genuinely and refreshingly different motorcycle with the Ducati Hypermotard. It offers all the fun of a conventional supermoto motorcycle with its light and agile handling, and a pathological penchant for wheelies, but thanks to its big n’smooth 1078cc V-twin engine, comfy seat and roomy riding position the Ducati Hypermotard is practical too. Kind of!   Watch ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia Pegaso Factory (2007-2009)

£4,999

660cc, 48bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 9

The special 'Factory' version of Aprilia’s evergreen fuel-injected 660cc single-cylinder Pegaso (it’s been around in 1989 in various guises - it was the Italian firm’s first ever 'big' motorcycle) is a true gem. With its chunky new radial front brake, lightweight spoked rims, a smattering of carbon fibre and finished to look like its big brother Tuono or RSV Factory, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Derbi 659 Mulhacen (2006-current)

£4,999

659cc, 48.6bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

The Derbi Mulhacen 659 is Derbi's first stab at a motorcycle bigger than 125cc, and is a brazen, trend-setting joy. The combination of concept motorcycle styling, Yamaha XT660R mechanicals and funky. Top notch cycle parts adds up to a street-savvy, flat track styled city scalpel of a motorcycle. Outside Soho, however, the Derbi Mulhacen 659 is an irrelevant ornament…

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ900S Diversion (1994-2004)

N/A

892cc, 90bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 12

Introduced two years after its little 600cc brother, the bigger Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is a real, no-nonsense all-rounder. Ok, so it lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness but who cares? For bikers on a budget who ride in the real world, the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is hard to beat. Has a long standing and respectable heritage, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Rieju RS1 (1997-2004)

N/A

50cc, 9bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 2

The Rieju RS1 is a screaming, old-school, supersports, 50cc sixteener, with all the bluster, mayhem, carnage, testosterone and manicness that implies, but thankfully a whole lot cheaper than rivals like Aprilia and Cagiva. Yes it’s Spanish and a little brittle, but it’s also well-equipped, massively cool and impressively affordable.

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

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