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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Suzuki RV125 VanVan (2003-current)

£3,149

124cc, 12bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 5

The Suzuki RV125 VanVan is an enigmatic motorcycle, that’s for sure. Farm hands, gamekeepers, race teams and surf dudes would be the ideal customers: it’s perfect for whizzing around country estates, race paddocks and beaches. Fashion-conscious, retro fans must love Suzuki RV125 VanVans. Teenagers, probably, don’t. Who knows? But it’s still pretty cute: better than a quad or a scooter, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda SLR650/Vigor (1996-2001)

N/A

644cc, 39bhp, 92mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda SLR650 is a fairly joyless machine that barely redeems itself as a reasonably efficient commuter. Essentially it’s a more heavily road-biased Dominator built at Honda’s plant in Spain, back in the days when the Continental factory’s quality control occasionally went adios. A Honda CB500 is simply miles better.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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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Triumph Sprint Executive (1997-1998)

N/A

885cc, 92bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Sprint Executive is a competent sports-touring machine that rides like it looks – top-heavy, fast and old. It’s essentially a 900 Trophy with a Rickman-style fairing slapped across its mug, but the triple-cylinder motor makes a nice noise and it’s reasonably comfortable if you can forgive the noisy, imperfect screen. The Triumph Sprint Executive comes with colour-coded hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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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Husaberg FE450 (2003-current)

£5,300

449cc, 45bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 11

The Husaberg FE650 is a real beast off-road; and realistically it’s for experienced enduro riders only. It comes with an electric start as well as a kicker, which is a huge bonus. It’s light, quick-steering, rugged and flexible.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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 GT650 Comet (2004-current)

£3,599

647cc, 79bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 9

If the budget 600cc class is your thing then the Hyosung GT650 Comet is worth considering, but as it costs about £4000, it's not as cheap as you might expect. On paper the Hyosung GT650 Comet has more power than the Suzuki SV650, but in reality, it’s still a little bit crude and outdate, compared to the later SV650 or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s F-series ZX-6R was, in its day, a serious contender to the middleweight crown of Honda’s CBR600. The Kwacker can still raise a smile, but measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude. If you’re buying on a budget then it’s worth a look, but Suzuki’s GSX-R600 will run rings around it at a trackday, while the CBR ...

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

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