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Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

N/A

899cc, 143bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZRX1200 (2001-2007)

N/A

1164cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a big, beefy, retro styled bike with plenty of grunt, a comfortable riding position and good looks (especially the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R version, which pays homage to the Eddie Lawson replica Z1100R of the '80s). But the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is really heavy, has a notchy gearbox and the handling and braking feels outdated compared to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Z1000 (2004-2006)

£7,345

953cc, 125bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 15

With its “My first migraine” colourschemes, bold, shotgun-style quad exhausts and huge hung-out in-the breeze motor you won’t mistake the Kawasaki Z1000 for anything else out on the road. It goes just like it looks, thanks to some huge shove, courtesy of that ex-superbike lump. 

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki VN2000 (2004-current)

£11,045

2053cc, 103bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 15

Cruising is all about having a relaxed mindset and there’s no better way to ease yourself into that state than the big Kawasaki Vulcan VN2000. It ticks all the right boxes – lots of black paint, lots of chrome, a huge 200-section rear tyre and, of course, a lolloping wildebeest of an engine.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XL1000 Varadero (2001-2010)

£8,500

996cc, 93bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

In theory: the Honda XL1000V Varadero is a great idea; take the funky Firestorm motor and put it inside an adventure touring chassis. But the result didn’t live up to that and the Honda XL1000V Varadero hasn’t matched the success of the BMW R1150GS. Whileit has bags of comfort, luggage capacity and grunt, its thirsty engine, top heavy handling and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Suzuki GSR600 (2006-2010)

£5,200

599cc, 88bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSR600 is a middleweight inline four in the same mould as Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s Hornet 600. It’s a perfectly acceptable ride, but to be honest the Suzuki GSR600 adds almost nothing to the biking world – especially when Suzuki’s own Bandit 600 (and 650 version) does exactly the same job for less money than the Suzuki GSR600. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 CBR1100XX Super Blackbird (1997-2005)

£8,650

1137cc, 164bhp, 176mph, Insurance group 16

The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird is a useable, comfortable, tidy handling sports tourer but also a ballistic power-house that used to hold the record as the fastest production motorcycle. The Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird is sensible and utterly insane in one nicely presented Honda package. One of the best all-round motorcycles out there. Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird rivals are plentiful but none ...

  • 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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