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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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Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star (2009-current)

£6,999

942cc, 55bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

You’d never guess this was an entry level custom cruiser, at only £6500 it’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money. It questions whether you need a larger bike, as it does everything a larger customs does and is considerably cheaper. It feels large, like a proper custom bike, comfortable, strong engine, more than enough for two ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Honda CBR600RR (2009-current)

£9,799

599cc, 107bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Honda has given its supersports weapon subtle tweaks for 2009, designed to give it more mid-range oomph and a smoother power delivery. New pistons, cylinder head and exhaust system have bolstered torque between 6000-10,000rpm, which makes the engine more flexible on the road. Luckily for us, this has been done without sacrificing any top-end power. The big news, though, is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Benelli TNT 899S (2008-current)

£8,195

899cc, 118bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 17

The Benelli TNT super naked has been with us now, almost unchanged since 2004. Early 1130cc models were snarling, brutal, wheelie-prone monsters with a savage-sounding wail from its three into one underseat exhaust. But these very early models could be temperamental things, but since Benelli was bought by the Chinese Qiangiang Group (they produce over 1.2-million two-wheelers a year over ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2008-2010)

£8,200

750cc, 133bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

New for 2008, the K8 is the latest incarnation of the giant-killing Suzuki GSX-R750. With only minor tweaks for this year and a facelift, the 175mph K8 is now the smoothest and most refined GSX-R750 ever. Suzuki say it has the same claimed crank power and torque as the K6/K7 model (150bhp/64ftlb), but during MCN’s Road Test it made a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CB1000R (2008-current)

£9,299

998cc, 130bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Forget the dinosaur CB1000 of the early nineties, or the now defunct 900 Hornet, the CB1000R is a whole new bag for Honda, designed with Europe, using a retuned version of the 2007 FireBlade engine and with 2008 FireBlade forks and brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and fabbo styling. In fact the only thing the CB1000R lacks is a bit ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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Ducati 696 Monster (2008-current)

£6,995

696cc, 67.5bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The new 696 Monster is Ducati’s most important bike, this is the bike that brings in the money and the sales, and thankfully it seems Ducati have got it spot on with the all new Monster. Thankfully they’ve not played around with the styling too much, and just improved the old bike as a package, in terms of engine performance ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX650F (2007-current)

£6,285

656cc, 86bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

Suzuki’s new budget and novice-friendly GSXF650F all-rounder proves that sometimes, brilliance is found in the most unlikely places. Although on face value merely a ‘Bandit with a fairing’ the GSX650F’s blend of real world performance, practicality, fun factor and value is pretty much unmatched anywhere.   Watch the Suzuki GSX650F take on the Honda CBF600S and the Kawasaki ER-6F Watch ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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