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Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

N/A

499cc, 57bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 9

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda RVF750R RC45 (1994-99)

N/A

749cc, 120bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki DL650 V-Strom (2004-2010)

£6,125

645cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's on to a winner. That engine is sublime, with mountains of really useable power where you want it. To an extent, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is built to a budget, but it’s a real performer. Cost-effective and versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is well worth a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Speedmaster (2002-2011)

£6,949

865cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Triumph Speedmaster is a kind of cruiser variant of the Bonneville 790, with the 2005 onwards Speedmaster getting an 865cc motor for more grunt. It has a low seat height in its favour, but the Triumph Speedmaster's oddball styling, low power and poor pillion accommodation make it poor value.   Watch the Triumph Speedmaster take on Harley-Davidsons Nightster and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM Duke I/II (1994-2006)

£5,995

625cc, 55bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Duke and Duke II represent the very best of streetmoto – the slightly more refined cousin of that biking outlaw the supermoto. The Duke is rugged, grunty, well-braked and packed with attitude. It’s also a simple bike to fettle yourself and tune. It could be the best commuter ever made – only thieves love ‘em and they’re dead easy ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VTX1800 (2001-2006)

£5,499

1795cc, 95bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

The performance cruiser is a strange concept - why do you need to go fast on a lowrider? But if power is your thing, then the VTX1800 has got plenty of it, a certain classy elegance about its lines and the mandatory V-twin shaped engine. Also has Honda's linked braking system.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2006-2007)

£8,800

998cc, 181bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Slightly more user friendly than the psycho C-model Kawasaki ZX-10R of 2004/05 but the latest Kawasaki ZX-10R is still a pretty extreme, track focused missile. Competitive in the 1000cc sports category, so obscenely fast and fine handling. Kawasaki ZX-10R  headlights not to everyone’s taste visually but it’s a look that gets cars out of the way sharpish.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Versys (2006-2009)

£4,995

649cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 9

As the marketing driven name suggests the Kawasaki Versys is incredibly versatile, the jack of all trades. The Kawasaki Versys does everything well, but isn’t outstanding at any one thing. That said, the Kawasaki Versys is incredibly easy to ride, fun at low speeds and in some ways looks funky for 2007. At under £5000 for the basic model, the ...

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

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