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Honda CBF600 (2004-2007)

£5,199

599cc, 76bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CBF600 is undoubtedly a supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy for a 600cc motorcycle, the Honda CBF600 lacks any real “go”, despite being well designed and built. It’s a good, safe choice for a new biker but, for those with more experience, it’s unlikely to satiate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mastered the basics, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Bonneville (2000-current)

£6,549

790cc, 61bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 9

Triumph aimed the Bonneville like an arrow straight at the heart of Harley’s 883 Sportster. With a heritage to rival the Yank’s and a better riding performance the Triumph Bonneville is unquestionably the better motorcycle. The handling is more than respectable, the brakes markedly better and, of course, it’s British.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Daytona 675 (2006-2008)

£7,199

675cc, 123bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 16

The Triumph Daytona 675 has put Hinckley firm back on the shortlist of many UK sports motorcycle riders, who previously rated the 600 and 650 Daytona models as being OK, but no real alternative to a Japanese four cylinder 600cc sportbikes. Silky, compact handling, allied to kick-ass engine power and a howling exhaust note, make the Triumph Daytona 675 a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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CCM FT35S (2005-current)

£5,442

398cc, 45bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The CCM FT35S was built as the bastard offspring of a supermoto motorcycle and a flat-track racing motorcycle comes the road-legal beauty from Britain’s own CCM. Stopping just this side of total two-wheeled self-indulgence the CCM FT35S is for folk who make statements and act the goat with no thought for such dreary irrelevances as practicality or comfort.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster (1995-current)

£6,995

1200cc, 64bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 13

The mid-sized Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster makes a lot of sense. It’s got a bit more presence, punch and space than the smaller 883cc family but without the weight and unwieldy feel of the 1340/1450cc big end motorcycles. It’s classic, air cooled Harley – if you want one you’ll probably not consider anything else. Full name is the Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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 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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Yamaha MT-03 (2006-current)

£7,399

660cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 11

Visually stunning and mechanically sound, Yamaha’s trick new “roadster motard” creates its own little niche in the market. Ideally an urban/commuter tool, the Yamaha MT-03 gives you more than enough fun if you want some bendy weekend scratching too. Handling is superb but just a little more horsepower would’ve really broadened the Yamaha MT-03's appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2004-2005)

£6,599

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

For a supersports machine that’s as easy to ride to the shops as it is round Donington Park the 2005 Yamaha YZF-R6 comes close to spot-on. Launched as a rearguard action while the factory prepared their dinky, ride-by-wire ’06 hottie, this older version of the Yamaha YZF-R6 still comes with toys like radial brakes and is seriously underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1200ST (2005-2007)

£9,095

1170cc, 110bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

The R1200ST is BMW’s Boxer-twin sports-tourer, now that the old R1100S has been supplanted by the newer, more sports-oriented R1200S. The problem is that the ST is on well-contested ground here – lining up against machines like Triumph’s excellent Sprint ST and Honda’s superb VFR800 VTEC, both of which are faster, sharper and cheaper.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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