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Honda NSR125R (1996-2001)

N/A

124cc, 11.3bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 7

The problem with the Honda NSR125R, and all other two-stroke 125cc motorcycles out there, is that the newer, four-stroke, Honda CBR125R has come along and made them look expensive and unreliable. The Honda NSR125R itself isn’t a bad motorcycle, but it’s way too dear and way too hard to de-restrict. Honda NR750 superbike styling looks great.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Thruxton (2003-current)

£7,349

865cc, 69bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Thruxton is a great looking retro cafe racer, which just doesn't have the punchy power you'd expect of a big twin. It also sounds dull, boring almost. Compared to buying a well restored Triton 650 for the same money, the modern day Triumph Thruxton is a weak imitation of genuine cafe racer cool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Harley-Davidson FXSTS Softail Springer (1988-2003)

N/A

1340cc, 55bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 15

The Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is an ultra retro Harley based on the FXST Softail. Minimal but charming cruiser which harks back to the post war years when Harley-Davidson motorcycles were popular and their identity was really cemented. ‘Springer’ front Forks are based on the 1948 model but the rest of the Harley-Davidson Softail Springer is relatively modern – well as modern as air ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Moto Guzzi MGS-01 Corsa (2004-current)

£18,499

1225cc, 121bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Guzzi go modern. While most of their bikes trade on heritage, style and charisma the MGS-01 has a high-tech 21st century chassis with an intelligently updated version of the V-twin engine that’s at the heart of the brand. It’s only available as a race bike but we’re hopeful of a road version soon.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki SV650/S (1999-current)

£4,975

645cc, 69bhp, 123mph, Insurance group 9

The Suzuki SV650 is a straightforward middleweight V-twin all-rounder which proves you don’t have to be boring to be practical. The SV650 is versatile, affordable, a doddle to ride (making it popular with inexperienced riders) and yet is a hoot to muck about on - or even to race.   - SV650 Ultimate buyer's guide - everything you need to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 999 (2003-2006)

N/A

998cc, 124bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 17

Although arguably a better bike, the Ducati 999 has never really stepped out of the shadows of the preceding, iconic Ducati 916 series of motorcycles. It lacks the grunty, fluid finesse of its V-twin rival motorcycles, the comfort of Japanese superbikes and has typical Ducati failings; of poor riding position, useless mirrors and quirky electrics. On the right racetrack, the Ducati 999 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 749 (2003-2007)

N/A

748cc, 116bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Preferred by some to the Ducati 999, and for good reason. The Ducati 749 is a cheaper motorcycle new or used, plus the smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The Ducati 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision, in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Raptor 1000 (2000-2005)

N/A

996cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

Is the Cagiva Raptor 1000 the wise alternative to a Ducati Monster? Penned by the same designer, the similarities are outstanding. The Suzuki engine is more reliable than any Duke but Cagiva parts back up can be patchy and specialist knowledge scarce. Small, fast and unstable on rough surfaces and stacks of fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia Tuono 125 (2003-2005)

N/A

125cc, 14bhp, 81mph, Insurance group 7

Simply put the Aprilia Tuono 125 is an Aprilia RS125 with nose fairing and flat bars. Which is why it’ll suit taller 17-year-olds much better than its racier sibling. It loses nothing in handling terms, with excellent brakes and packs stunning looks into what’s already a very tempting package. And once de-restricted it’s a flyer.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Aprilia RS250 (1994-2004)

N/A

249cc, 55bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 12

Aprilia’s RS250 is the last of a dead breed; its ring-a-ding-ding the requiem for meaningful two-strokes and their sweet perfume. Built to ape the Italian factory’s 1993 250GP winner the motorcycle perched a reed-valve motor in a near-perfect chassis to produce one of the finest handling machines of all time. Bella.

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

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