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Harley-Davidson XR1200X (2010-2012)

£9,595

1202cc, 90bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Based on the 2009 XR1200, the XR1200X is slightly more sports biased than the sports biased XR1200. Confused? Don’t be. All you have to think about is the X-model has vastly improved, multi-adjustable suspension that makes a difference when riding 187kg of American muscle on our roads. It also comes in a menacing black paint scheme with black exhausts. Engine ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Gilera Nexus 300 (2008-current)

£3,699

278cc, 22.4bhp, 85mph, Insurance group 7

The Gilera Nexus sits between the Nexus 125 and the Nexus 500 as the mid-capacity sporty scooter in the Gilera range. The design is based around the concept of a sportsbike, but adapted for a CVT step-through scooter. It’s certainly sportier than most big scoots – but essentially it’s a commuter with a sports image.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Piaggio MP3 400 (2008-current)

£5,349

398cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group

The largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel, but with more power for motorway cruising. It’s no Goldwing, but if your daily commute mixes town work with high-speed open roads, this could be the motorcycle you’re looking for.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Aprilia Shiver GT (2009-2011)

£7,474

749cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 15

The standard Aprilia SL750 Shiver is just another funky naked bike – but the simple addition of a fairing turns it in to one of the best Italian all rounders you can buy. The Shiver GT is very competent, mixing practicality with style, performance and character for not a huge amount of cash.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 Diversion (2009-current)

£6,499

600cc, 77bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 12

The new Yamaha XJ6 Diversion is the half-faired version of the Yamaha XJ6. It's more powerful, better handling and prettier than the trusty old Diversion of the late 80s and early 90s. But just like that old original, it offers practical, fun and above all, affordable biking. It’s easy to ride, so it’s perfect for new riders looking for their ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 (2009-current)

£6,099

600cc, 77bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

This is the naked version of the half-faired Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. Aside from the lack of fairing, it is exactly the same spec, but somehow it has transformed the Yamaha from sensible budget middleweight to exciting mini streetfighter. With its ‘baby Yamaha FZ-1’ looks and sit-up-and-beg riding position this is a very cheap way to get your rocks off. On ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

£8,310

1203cc, 103bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 15

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi V7 Classic (2008-current)

£6,932

744cc, 48bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 10

The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic isn’t perfect. It’s underpowered slightly, a tad vibey at speed and the levers aren’t span adjustable. But otherwise we struggle to find fault. The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is stylish, useful, charismatic and simply a nice motorcycle to ride and own and, for the money, that’s accomplishment enough. We’d have one instead of a Bonnie ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Stelvio (2008-2012)

£10,474

1151cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Stelvio is Moto Guzzi’s answer to the hugely-successful BMW R1200GS. It is brand new from the ground-up featuring a new chassis, suspension, wheels, tyres and Moto Guzzi’s latest 8v 1200cc V-twin motor. Next to the BMW it’s not as fast, light or focussed but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either. It offers up more confidence in the corners ...

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

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