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Yamaha YBR125 Custom (2008-current)

£2,599

cc, 10bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 2

The idea behind the Yamaha YBR125 Custom is dead simple: take the straightforward YBR125 commuter, customize it a bit with high bars, more chrome and a lower seat, bump up the price a tad, and there you go, a pointlessly more expensive and less tasteful runabout. In reality, it makes a lot of sense as the low seat makes it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800R (2009-current)

£7,595

798cc, 87bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 12

BMW placed the F800R as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad of 600cc middleweight bikes eg Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc! And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2008-2010)

£7,200

599cc, 112.3bhp, 164.97mph, Insurance group 15

The new Suzuki GSX-R600 is very similar to last years GSX-R600. Underneath the new body work chassis wise it’s very similar. Suzuki engineers have played around with the engine but instead of seeking peak performance they have tried to make the engine more user friendly by increasing low to midrange performance. They have also opted to fit the Suzuki Drive ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 Stelvio (2008-2012)

£10,474

1151cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Stelvio is Moto Guzzi’s answer to the hugely-successful BMW R1200GS. It is brand new from the ground-up featuring a new chassis, suspension, wheels, tyres and Moto Guzzi’s latest 8v 1200cc V-twin motor. Next to the BMW it’s not as fast, light or focussed but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either. It offers up more confidence in the corners ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW HP2 Sport (2008-2012)

£15,250

1170cc, 128bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

The BMW HP2 Sport is expensive and quite rightly so considering this is the finest sporting package BMW have rocked up with. Forget the fact that the HP2 Sport is an old air-cooled Boxer engine that supplies the goods, think more in the way this motorcycle will keep up with Japanese superbikes on the open road because of its handling, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda XL700V Transalp (2007-2012)

£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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Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2007-current)

£11,299

1340cc, 194bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

Suzuki have played around with the GSX1300R Hayabusa’s styling without losing the original’s looks and character, as a result the new Suzuki Hayabusa looks really sleek. Engine capacity had increased and so has power and torque. Handling hasn’t been significantly improved, more a gentle step forward however the brakes are a miles better, and about time.   Watch the 2008 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW HP2 Megamoto (2007-2010)

£12,585

1170cc, 113bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

The The BMW HP2 Megamoto’s £12,595 price tag is ridiculously high and will stop most of us from ever experiencing it, which is a great shame. The HP2 Megamoto is far more agile, powerful and fun than you’d ever imagine just by looking at it and a million miles away from being a common or garden Steady-Eddie BMW. If only ...

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

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