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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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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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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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KTM 690 Duke (2008-2011)

£6,945

654cc, 65bhp, 122mph, Insurance group 11

The KTM 690 Duke's new LC4 single cylinder engine is the most impressive part of the new Duke. It’s hard to believe it’s a single, so much better than the lumpy single cylinder engines of old. The styling is very aggressive, it’s laden in quality parts like WP suspension and Brembo brakes, and on the right road, hairpin after hairpin ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW F800GS (2008-current)

£8,685

798cc, 85bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

BMW's new F800GS is virtually unique: a 750/800 class adventure bike, that to most degrees offers the best of both worlds. It’s light, slim and perky enough to be a credible off-roader yet it’s also substantial, grunty, roomy and potentially sufficiently well equipped to tackle crossing continents. It’s also got a price that’s hugely tempting too. Video: BMW F800GS first ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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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Honda XL700V Transalp (2008-2012)

£6,775

680cc, 59bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

This latest version of the Honda Transalp is much improved over the last model, but to be honest that was never going to be difficult. The motor is just quick enough, should last forever, and offers a smile when the mood takes you. The new Honda Transalp’s handling isn’t bad, either, considering the market the motorcycle is aimed at. Looks-wise ...

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

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