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Benelli Tre K 899 (2009-current)

£7,995

898cc, 105bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

This is the smaller engined version of Benelli’s brilliant, but unfortunately rare Tre K 1130  sports tourer. We rate it highly: it’s comfy, easy to ride, sounds great, handles well and has a wild side for when the mood takes you. It’s not the obvious choice, which will actually a plus-point for many, but some will be sceptical, worried about ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Ducati 696 Monster (2008-current)

£6,995

696cc, 67.5bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The new 696 Monster is Ducati’s most important bike, this is the bike that brings in the money and the sales, and thankfully it seems Ducati have got it spot on with the all new Monster. Thankfully they’ve not played around with the styling too much, and just improved the old bike as a package, in terms of engine performance ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2008-2009)

£9,300

999cc, 175.3bhp, 179mph, Insurance group 17

Since 1992 the name FireBlade has conjured visions of a hard-charging superbike with attitude. While this is true of the very first two models, since then the FireBlade became a model of respectability. The 2006-07 model was arguably the best road-going superbike by being fast and bland in the same wheelbase. The 2008 FireBlade comes with attitude from its rev-happy ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2008-current)

£9,299

599cc, 133bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Yamaha’s designers had one problem with superceding its 2006-07 R6, and that was how to improve a motorcycle that was very good in the first place. But improve it they have with clever attention to details borne from its World Supersport racing program. A designer’s touch here and the same effort there, has led to the Yamaha R6 being the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

N/A

599cc, 97.5bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

It was never the fastest or the most powerful in the supersports class of 04 and 05, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 was easily the most fun, especially on the track. Boasting the lightest weight of all its contenders, the most track-focused chassis and the most evil sounding engine note, the Suzuki GSX-R600 is the 600 for dedicated hardcore riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2004-2005)

N/A

998cc, 172bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

Cold, calm and supremely effective – the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is like The Terminator. It is an exceptional sports bike that’s blisteringly fast on the road or track. It is bristling with MotoGP technology and compared to the previous motorcycles the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is manic and faster but heavier and arguably less exciting too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha DT125X (2004-current)

£3,199

124cc, 15bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha DT125X is the latest version of Yamaha’s long-running DT series, the X is the supermoto, road version and it’s an absolute scream. Lightweight, ridiculously agile and easy to ride, it makes learning (or commuting) huge fun. It’s not for off-roading (get an RE version for that) but for Tarmac-based 125cc antics, the Yamaha DT125X is hard to beat.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph TT600 (2000-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

Triumph wowed us all when they beat all the Japanese manufacturers to putting a fuel injected engine in to a 600cc sportsbike. Shame about the glitches. Later Triumph TT600s are better but the handling and brakes have never been in doubt: they’re awe-inspiring. Dodgy looks but a true Brit.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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