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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

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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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Honda CBR600RR (2003-2006)

N/A

599cc, 115bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Barely related to the long-running all-round Honda CBR600F – the Honda CBR600RR is a track biased missile – and an excellent one. On the road, the ‘F’ version is a better bet for most with a more roomy riding position, stable handling and a less revvy engine but get the Honda CBR600RR on the track and it’s in its element.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

N/A

651cc, 42bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 8

There’s nothing quite so surprising as something utterly unremarkable. And so it is with the Kawasaki KLR650 – it’s comfortable, grunty, quiet and reliable. Forget your fancy-pants BMW R1200GS' - providing you can live with adjusting and lubing a chain the Kawasaki KLR650 is at least as good at overlanding and a mere fraction of the price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2004-2005)

N/A

998cc, 181bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is sold as the ultimate track bike – the 2004/05 ZX-10R was one of Kawasaki’s first machines after the firm gave itself a kick up the arse in 2002. The 10R’s one wild ride and an absolute weapon in experienced hands. It’s light, makes massive power and handles superbly on the track –a bit of a handful ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1100S (1999-2005)

N/A

1085cc, 98bhp, 141mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1100S is now starting to be regarded as something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form. Classy (and crucially un-ugly) styling, VFR-esque comfort and versatility plus BMW quality and residuals make for a stonking and attractive all-rounder, if not quite the sports bike BM intended…  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1150R (2001-2006)

N/A

1130cc, 76bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 12

The BMW R1150R is an honest-to-goodness Boxer twin that will provide years of faithful commuting service while not exactly setting pulses racing. Once you’ve overcome the idiosyncratic indicator switchgear arrangement (one per bar, plus another to cancel), the lumpy motor and poor gearbox, it’s actually quite endearing.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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