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Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 87mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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MZ 1000S (2004-2007)

N/A

999cc, 117bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 15

MZ is trying something different with its parallel twin 1000S and Streetfighter, but it lacks the X factor and doesn't have the kind of dealer/distributor back-up you need when buying a slightly oddball motorbike. Decent to ride, and the Streetfighter version looks more appealing than the 80s style S model, but hasn't really got anything novel or unique about it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Hyosung GT650 Comet (2004-current)

£3,599

647cc, 79bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 9

If the budget 600cc class is your thing then the Hyosung GT650 Comet is worth considering, but as it costs about £4000, it's not as cheap as you might expect. On paper the Hyosung GT650 Comet has more power than the Suzuki SV650, but in reality, it’s still a little bit crude and outdate, compared to the later SV650 or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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 CB1300S (2005-current)

£11,199

1284cc, 113bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 14

Classic early superbike lines crash head-on with a practical top fairing and an inexpensive ABS option to make the Honda CB1300S a competent tourer-cum-commuter that’s a pleasure to ride with above average handling, plenty of practical touches and a low seat height. Read any Honda CB1300S review and you'll find nothing but praise for the way the Honda CB1300S gets ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Daytona 955i (1997-2006)

£7,499

955cc, 147bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 955i is an extremely rapid, sweet handling superbike. Unfortunately it was about four years too late in a fiercely competitive class. The R1, GSX-R1000 and FireBlade are lighter and faster. The Triumph Daytona 955i’s saving grace is its character from its gruff three-cylinder engine, distinctive understated looks and the fact few riders can use anything like all ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster (1993-current)

£6,395

883cc, 50bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is a basic, budget way into Harley ownership: that possession prized by anyone whose idea of heaven is a long, straight, American highway and for whom Peter Fonda remains the ultimate role model. The Harley-Davidson XL883 Sportster is not the greatest cruiser in the world: it lacks power and performance in virtually every area, but it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva Raptor 650 (2003-current)

£4,999

645cc, 69bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Cagiva Raptor 650's smart Italian style plus a reliable Japanese engine equals a cool, capable light/middle weight all round motorcycle. It’s a blast on back roads but long motorway journeys can be blustery. It’s an extremely unusual bike – imported by Dorset dealer Three Cross Motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Monster M620 (2001-2006)

N/A

618cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Ducatis inspire passion and the Ducati M620 Monster offers a way into the dream for those who are just starting out. Like its stablemates, it looks great and sounds gorgeous but complaints about lack of power, basic suspension and its physical size (it’s very small) mean the Ducati M620 Monster is not ideal for everyone. Watch video of this bike and more on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s F-series ZX-6R was, in its day, a serious contender to the middleweight crown of Honda’s CBR600. The Kwacker can still raise a smile, but measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude. If you’re buying on a budget then it’s worth a look, but Suzuki’s GSX-R600 will run rings around it at a trackday, while the CBR ...

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

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