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Yamaha TZR50 (2003-2004)

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49cc, 6bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 3

The Yamaha TZR50 is an act of brilliant folly but tempting nevertheless. A screaming, old-school, supersports, 50cc sixteener, with all the bluster, mayhem, carnage, testosterone and manicness that implies. Being Japanese the Yamaha TZR50 is fairly durable too, though it can’t match the performance of its European rivals.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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 XF650 Freewind (1997-2002)

N/A

644cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

Cruise comfortably at 80mph, screw the pants off it on a winding road or peer over traffic from the high seat on your way to work: the Suzuki XF650 Freewind is a versatile motorcycle that’s great value and something a little different. The handling’s particularly notable. If you must take the Suzuki XF650 Freewind off road, keep it very simple ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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 TDM850 (1991-2001)

N/A

849cc, 77bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

Fairly revolutionary when launched and certainly years ahead of its time the Yamaha TDM850 was a sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it. As a serious ‘street trailie allrounder it’s pretty effective, too. The later 900 is better, but the Yamaha TDM850 is still decent, good value, different, and largely overlooked.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer (2000-2005)

N/A

998cc, 143bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer is a streetbike with an R1 engine – it could have been a compact brute of a machine with fearsome manners and ability to waste sports bikes below 80mph. But it’s actually a big softie with plenty of punch. Arguably the ultimate all round bike – a Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer does the lot and does it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2004-2005)

N/A

749cc, 146bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

The 2004 and 2005 Suzuki GSX-R750s are almost perfect. The new radial brakes solved the slight stopping issues of the last incarnation, the styling’s on the money and the motor and chassis are better than most of us can ever hope to fully exploit. The only fly in the 10/40W is the K5 GSX-R1000, which is so utterly brilliant there ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda NTV600/650 (1988-1997)

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647cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda NTV650 isn’t just about frugal motoring, a quality build and endless reliability. Because somehow Honda segued in a cheeky charm and a handling package that has to be ridden to be believed. Most Honda NTV650s will be a little tired after a decade or more on the streets but at the right price they’re simply superb motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (1996-2000)

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599cc, 92bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

A raw, involving, lunatic on wheels. The more throttle-happy you are with it, the more the Suzuki GSX-R600 will thrill. Virtually dead low down, wake it up at higher revs and you’ll be clinging on for dear life. Not as finely honed as today’s Suzuki GSX-R600 but, for some, that just adds to the manic appeal. Ridiculous, dangerous fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX750F (1998-2005)

N/A

750cc, 93bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki GSX750F is a competent sports tourer with one of the worst images in biking (its nickname is “the teapot”). Renowned for being ugly and lacking passion, the Suzuki GSX750F is certainly underdog to the likes of the Honda VFR750/800s but owners love them and their “quirky” looks. The Suzuki GSX750F may not be hardcore but it’s reliable.

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

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