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Yamaha XV125 Virago (1997-2004)

N/A

124cc, 13bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 4

If you're starting out on two wheels then the Yamaha XV125 Virago V-twin is one of the best made little motorbikes you can choose. Reliable motor, solid chassis, nice low seat and wide `bars give a feeling of confident control on the machine. Later XVS125 models have an extra 3bhp in the V-twin motor and the bike is 4kgs lighter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (1998-2003)

N/A

998cc, 150bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

The third and final great sports bike of the nineties. The FireBlade set the agenda, the 916 added finesse and the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with and updated Yamaha YZF-R1s are even more potent and easier to use too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star (2000-2004)

N/A

249cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

When the XV250S Virago was discontinued, the new Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star replaced it. They’re very similar and that’s good news for owners: the long-running Virago branch of the Yamaha family has a great reputation. The little Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star is just as good and, if your heart’s set on a smaller capacity cruiser, you’ll find it hard to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM Duke I/II (1994-2006)

£5,995

625cc, 55bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Duke and Duke II represent the very best of streetmoto – the slightly more refined cousin of that biking outlaw the supermoto. The Duke is rugged, grunty, well-braked and packed with attitude. It’s also a simple bike to fettle yourself and tune. It could be the best commuter ever made – only thieves love ‘em and they’re dead easy ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XR125L (2003-2010)

£2,349

124cc, 11bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Honda XR125L is not a 'true' XR (just check out the electric start and the large tank range) maybe, but this is a great little commuter and green-laner. It lacks power up top but there’s more than enough for town riding and a spot of weekend fun off-road. It looks absolutely gorgeous, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2006-2007)

£8,800

998cc, 181bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Slightly more user friendly than the psycho C-model Kawasaki ZX-10R of 2004/05 but the latest Kawasaki ZX-10R is still a pretty extreme, track focused missile. Competitive in the 1000cc sports category, so obscenely fast and fine handling. Kawasaki ZX-10R  headlights not to everyone’s taste visually but it’s a look that gets cars out of the way sharpish.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Versys (2006-2009)

£4,995

649cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 9

As the marketing driven name suggests the Kawasaki Versys is incredibly versatile, the jack of all trades. The Kawasaki Versys does everything well, but isn’t outstanding at any one thing. That said, the Kawasaki Versys is incredibly easy to ride, fun at low speeds and in some ways looks funky for 2007. At under £5000 for the basic model, the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Benelli Tre K 1130 (2006-current)

£8,495

1130cc, 123bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

Arguably the most ‘complete’ motorcycle from Benelli in modern times. It may be ironic that the best bike this Italian firm, which is steeped in racing history, has built isn’t a superbike, but the Benelli Tre K is a superb, Multistrada-esque, do-anything, all-purpose street motorcycle and it really is very, very good.

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