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Kawasaki Z1000SX (2014-current)

£9,199

1043cc, 140bhp, 165mph, Insurance group

The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX is a clever, considered and very worthwhile update of an already excellent machine. The Z1000SX was already something of a connossieurs’ choice: fast, effective, decently equipped, involving, good value and yet understated and unshowy too. Kawasaki hasn’t lost any of that. It hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bath water. Instead it has corrected or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Ninja 300 (2012-current)

£4,799

296cc, 39bhp, 93mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has hit the nail on the head with this bike. Finally the market has a practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable. The firm says 40% of buyers will be under 24 years old, going on sales of the 250, and it’s this kind of grassroots support motorcycling needs. Kawasaki also says 22% of 250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB500X (2013-current)

£5,099

471cc, 47bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch. The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Z1000 (2014 - current)

£9,499

1043cc, 140bhp, 147mph, Insurance group

The new 2014 Z1000 is a ballsy move by Kawasaki – and not just because it looks like something out of a Terminator movie. No, it’s ballsy because it’s rejected the current (and often expensive) fashion for electronic rider aids, because it focuses on real world riding thrills rather than fantastic and often irrelevant (for a street super naked at ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800GS Adventure (2013-current)

£9,650

798cc, 85bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

BMW set out to turn its 800GS into an authentic adventure bike and on this first showing have certainly achieved just that. Basically it’s an 800GS with a bigger (underseat) tank, extended bodywork and a host of options. Think of it as a ‘3/4 version of the 1200 Adventure’ (even though, at 800cc, it’s actually 2/3) and you should get ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki Z800 (2013-current)

£7,499

806cc, 111bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Street Triple R (2013-current)

£8,049

675cc, 105bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Compared to the previous incarnation, the 2013 Triumph Street Triple R is lighter, smoother, more refined and has the handling and brakes a superbike would be proud of. Best of all, it’s 6kg lighter. It’s lost some of that in-your-face, foaming-at-the-mouth aggression, which made the original make us all stand up and take notice back in 2007, but it’ll be ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CRF250L (2012-current)

£4,199

250cc, 23bhp, 86mph, Insurance group

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – this is it.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer (2012-current)

£12,399

1237cc, 127bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 17

The surprise with the Crosstourer is two-fold: first that the 1200 V4 powertrain works so well in an adventure bike package (it already seems so familiar and ‘right’ to me it seems like it’s been around for years) and second that it genuinely brings a new and tempting dimension – namely V4 performance and sophisticated automatic transmission – to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster 72 (2012-current)

£9,195

1202cc, 110bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 12

The new Harley ‘72’ is a blinged/tarted up custom – the idea being a full-on. Early ‘70s-style custom (hence the name) but on the 1200 Sportster platform rather than the more usual big twins. It works, too.

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

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