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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-1999)

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599cc, 106bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

N/A

599cc, 109bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Cagiva Raptor 1000 (2000-2005)

N/A

996cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

Is the Cagiva Raptor 1000 the wise alternative to a Ducati Monster? Penned by the same designer, the similarities are outstanding. The Suzuki engine is more reliable than any Duke but Cagiva parts back up can be patchy and specialist knowledge scarce. Small, fast and unstable on rough surfaces and stacks of fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW K1200GT (2006-2008)

N/A

1157cc, 152bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The current BMW K1200GT, launched in 2006, is very different from previous generation BMW K1200GTs. It uses BMW’s latest frame and across the frame four cylinder engine which is a much faster, more stable motorcycle with more luxury.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Buell XB12R Firebolt (2003-2007)

N/A

1203cc, 100bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 16

The Buell XB12R Firebolt is a real Frankenstein’s monster of a motorcycle – but it works. Ancient Harley-Davidson engine mated to a stubby, innovative, high-tech aluminium frame with lots of well thought out touches makes a superb, nimble sports bike. The Buell XB12R may not be the fastest thing in a straight line but awesome in corners and stacks of fun.  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Bimota SB8R (1999-2000)

N/A

996cc, 133bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match. But unlike the Bimotas of previous decades, the SB8R doesn’t radically out perform Japanese competition of the same time. It does manage to be a little better though and race success backed this up. Lack of dealer back up makes ownership worrying.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Bimota SB6 (1994-1999)

N/A

1074cc, 156bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

For many The SB6/7 is the pinnacle of old school Bimota craft. The recipe back then was simple: take the best and most powerful Japanese engines and wrap them in the most exquisite and fine handling hand-made Italian chassis and bodywork. The SB6/7 had hairy Suzuki GSX-R engines, sublime handling and craftsmanship and characteristically Italian unreliability and fickleness. After this, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Bimota Mantra (1995-2002)

N/A

904cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 16

”What the hell is that?” is likely to be the first comment from anyone who sees you ride into town on a Bimota Mantra. But don't be scared, underneath designer Sacha Lakic's tribute to Buck Rogers sci-fi there's a sensible Ducati-engined cruiser/roadster. A claimed 85bhp from the old 904cc Duke motor, plus classy suspension and chassis detailing make the Bimota ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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BMW F650 (1993-2007)

N/A

652cc, 50bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 9

Born as the baby to the BMW R1150GS (now 1200cc), the BMW F650GS has a long and credible pedigree, including a string of varients. The BMW F650 has off-road pretentions but, in the real world, is a sturdy and sensible road motorcycle (the BMW F650 Dakar’s the one for the green lanes), it deals with most situations with predictable power and confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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