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MZ 1000S (2004-2007)

N/A

999cc, 117bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 15

MZ is trying something different with its parallel twin 1000S and Streetfighter, but it lacks the X factor and doesn't have the kind of dealer/distributor back-up you need when buying a slightly oddball motorbike. Decent to ride, and the Streetfighter version looks more appealing than the 80s style S model, but hasn't really got anything novel or unique about it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Hyosung GV650 Aquila (2006-current)

£5,499

647cc, 79bhp, 124mph, Insurance group 11

The Hyosung GV650 Aquila is an oddball Korean concoction whose extreme Dan Dare styling is surprisingly more than  matched by its consummate ability, specification and value – for a cruiser at least. Look past the GV650 Aqulia's Star Trek styling and there’s a decent SV-style engine, quality cycle parts and effective, real  world performance – and not much to rival ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator (1998-current)

£1,999

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 5

The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator’s a top little bike to hone your skills on with a responsive, smooth motor and easy handling. The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator is never going to win any races but that’s not what it’s about: it’ll haul you from A to B with little fuss, enabling you to enjoy the ride.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati ST2 & ST4 (1996-2003)

N/A

916cc, 105bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The forgotten Ducati family – sports touring motorcycles. While Monsters rule in town and the Superbikes jostle for supremacy on the track, few think of these practical yet exciting machines when Ducati is mentioned. It’s a shame as the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 are excellent machines. The Ducati ST4’s more powerful 916cc engine is the biggest difference between it and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

N/A

498cc, 59bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 8

Long in the tooth but surprisingly fast and easy to live with, the Kawasaki GPZ500S’s a true and reliable all-rounder. The  Kawasaki GPZ500S is a prime candidate for a “first big bike” and one with the performance and handling to tempt you to hold on to it after rivals have lost their (underpowered) appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 (1991-2012)

£6,674

744cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 is a modest cruiser which is a surprisingly competent all-round bike as well as an effective posing tool. It’s one of Guzzi’s older generation of bikes and has had very few updates since 1989 but it doesn’t matter. It’s excellent round town, works over distance with a  screen fitted and has a charm the Japanese ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VFR800 V-Tec (2001-2012)

£9,950

781cc, 107bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

In the late 90s the old VFR800 was a great bike but needed updating. Its replacement, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec, is a beautiful thing and rides, goes and handles superbly too, but the Honda VFR800 V-Tec's variable valve timing caused some controversy - it's clever, but is it really necessary?  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR125R (2004-2010)

£3,170

125cc, 13bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBR125R is an excellent ‘mid market’ 125. There are cheaper to buy / run bikes, like Honda’s own CG125 but they lack kudos. There’s a flotilla of fancy, mainly European motorcycles like Aprilia’s gorgeous RS125 but they’re silly money. But the Honda CBR125R's a tidy little motorcycle with a reliable four stroke engine, safe handling and brakes.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB1300S (2005-current)

£11,199

1284cc, 113bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 14

Classic early superbike lines crash head-on with a practical top fairing and an inexpensive ABS option to make the Honda CB1300S a competent tourer-cum-commuter that’s a pleasure to ride with above average handling, plenty of practical touches and a low seat height. Read any Honda CB1300S review and you'll find nothing but praise for the way the Honda CB1300S gets ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki VN1500 Classic (1996-2004)

N/A

1470cc, 69bhp, 118mph, Insurance group 12

A far, far cheaper way of cruising than buying into the Harley dream. Reliable too. The VN1500s are positively vast so, if road presence is important to you, they could be your thing. Lots of gutsy, low down performance with smooth touring speeds at the top end mean relaxed, joyful and easy riding.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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