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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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Honda SP1/2 (2000-2010)

£9,399

999cc, 133bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The Honda SP1 and Honda SP2 were built to prove a point; that the world's number one bike maker could beat Ducati on the track, using a V-twin. Sadly, that makes the Honda SP1/2 less satisfying, because it has an on/off fuelling set up, too much power for the chassis and a cramped riding position. On the upside, the Honda ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Triumph Daytona 955i (1997-2006)

£7,499

955cc, 147bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 955i is an extremely rapid, sweet handling superbike. Unfortunately it was about four years too late in a fiercely competitive class. The R1, GSX-R1000 and FireBlade are lighter and faster. The Triumph Daytona 955i’s saving grace is its character from its gruff three-cylinder engine, distinctive understated looks and the fact few riders can use anything like all ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha FZ1/FZS1000 (2006-current)

£9,199

998cc, 150bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

What you get with the Yamaha FZ1/FZS1000 is the awesome 2002 R1 engine in a more practical but still high-spec chassis. The Japanese firm class the Yamaha Fazer 1000 as a sports motorcycle and they’re right – but it has the ability of a sports tourer and a city motorcycle, too – with more than a splash of musclebike / ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati ST3 (2003-2007)

£7,650

992cc, 102bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

The ignored Ducati family – the sports touring motorcycles – got a big boost with the arrival of the Ducati ST3 model in 2003. Its three valve per cylinder engine was new and unique in the Ducati range – previous sports touring Ducatis made do with other motorcycles' hand me downs. A refreshing, different sports touring motorcycle with decent reliability so far.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Sport 1000 (2005-2008)

£7,495

992cc, 92bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 15

The Ducati Sport 1000 series are mouthwateringly-styled tributes to 70s motorcycles greats boasting modern thrills and mechanicals. Great as a look-at-me motorcycle and the detailing is exquisite but it’s neither a true sportsbike nor year-round transport. For rarity, go for the limited edition Ducati Paul Smart 1000, for practicality the slightly dull, twin seat Ducati GT1000, but the best motorcycle on balance (and mst wrist-breakingly ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Navigator (2000-current)

£6,999

996cc, 95bhp, 132mph, Insurance group 13

The Cagiva Navigator isn’t a giant trailie in the mould of BMW’s chuffing GS. Au contraire - this is a sportsbike with wide bars, a super supermoto if you like. The comfort and tank range make the Navigator a great cross-country motorcycle and the ex-superbike motor takes the performance way beyond the reach of its competitors. Only the firm’s fragile ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJR1300 (1998-current)

£8,099

1251cc, 105bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

Ah, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a proper man’s motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and a colossal motor. And it’s especially lovely in the SP’s Yamaha speed block colours complete with Ohlins shocks, just the sort of thing that sunny Sundays were made for. A motorcycle to make you feel good.   Watch the video to see ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1200GS Adventure (2006-2009)

£9,755

1170cc, 99bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

This is the last word in round-the-world motorcycling can do. With a monstrous 33-litre tank, grunty motor, shaft-drive and excellent reliability in all climes and conditions the BMW R1200GS Adventure redefines the giant trailie motorcycle class. And the BMW R1200GS Adventure is a giant – at nearly a quarter of a ton fully-loaded and with a lofty 910mm seat only the brave or foolish will ...

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

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