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Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator (1998-current)

£1,999

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 5

The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator’s a top little bike to hone your skills on with a responsive, smooth motor and easy handling. The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator is never going to win any races but that’s not what it’s about: it’ll haul you from A to B with little fuss, enabling you to enjoy the ride.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati ST2 & ST4 (1996-2003)

N/A

916cc, 105bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The forgotten Ducati family – sports touring motorcycles. While Monsters rule in town and the Superbikes jostle for supremacy on the track, few think of these practical yet exciting machines when Ducati is mentioned. It’s a shame as the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 are excellent machines. The Ducati ST4’s more powerful 916cc engine is the biggest difference between it and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Husqvarna SM610 (2005-current)

£5,899

576cc, 52bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 10

The Husqvarna SM610  is a ‘real’ supermoto for the road. Forget Japanese look-alikes such as the MT-03 or FMX650. Husqvarna is one of a handful of European manufacturers making far lighter, more powerful machines most of which are for race only. The Husqvarna SM610 has been civilised somewhat to make a banzai if impractical road bike.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DR-Z400S (2001-2008)

£4,199

398cc, 39bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock. The DR-Z400S is tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. The Suzuki DR-Z’400S' bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

N/A

498cc, 59bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 8

Long in the tooth but surprisingly fast and easy to live with, the Kawasaki GPZ500S’s a true and reliable all-rounder. The  Kawasaki GPZ500S is a prime candidate for a “first big bike” and one with the performance and handling to tempt you to hold on to it after rivals have lost their (underpowered) appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Monster 695 (2006-2008)

£4,995

695cc, 73bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

The Ducati Monster 695 is the latest version of junior Monster and is revitalised with more capacity, better equipment and brakes and all-new paintjobs. Cheeky handling, verve and novice-friendliness are unchanged, however. The Ducati Monster 695 is the cheapest way into Ducati style.   Watch the Ducati Monster 695 take on the Triumph Street Triple, Yamaha's FZ6 Fazer, the Honda Hornet, Suzuki's GSR600 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda VFR800 V-Tec (2001-2012)

£9,950

781cc, 107bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

In the late 90s the old VFR800 was a great bike but needed updating. Its replacement, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec, is a beautiful thing and rides, goes and handles superbly too, but the Honda VFR800 V-Tec's variable valve timing caused some controversy - it's clever, but is it really necessary?  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati M750/800 Monster (1996-2005)

N/A

749cc, 62bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

There was the Ducati M900 Monster (became the Ducati M1000 Monster), then the Ducati M600 Monster (became the Ducati M620 Monster) and then the Ducati M750 Monster (which became the Ducati M800 Monster), covering the vacant middle ground in the Ducati Monster family. As with the others, the Ducati M750 Monster or Ducati M800 Monster is a beautiful, painfully cool machine and, like the others, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR600RR (2003-2006)

N/A

599cc, 115bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Barely related to the long-running all-round Honda CBR600F – the Honda CBR600RR is a track biased missile – and an excellent one. On the road, the ‘F’ version is a better bet for most with a more roomy riding position, stable handling and a less revvy engine but get the Honda CBR600RR on the track and it’s in its element.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

N/A

651cc, 42bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 8

There’s nothing quite so surprising as something utterly unremarkable. And so it is with the Kawasaki KLR650 – it’s comfortable, grunty, quiet and reliable. Forget your fancy-pants BMW R1200GS' - providing you can live with adjusting and lubing a chain the Kawasaki KLR650 is at least as good at overlanding and a mere fraction of the price.

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

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