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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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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 955i (2001-2006)

N/A

955cc, 104bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The second generation Triumph Tiger carried on the theme of the original – a big, bruising road trail motorcycle powered by Hinckley’s distinctive triple. The difference was this was the second generation triple with updated chassis and styling to match. Later versions are well equipped and the Triumph Tiger 955i is a decent road motorcycle taller riders, but it’s also ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (1992-current)

£4,032

499cc, 22bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

Early models of the Royal Enfiled Bullet 500 weren't very well made and you might be better off finding a 2000 onwards example of this classic Brit single, now made in India. There have been many variants of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 produced by the UK importers, from cafe racers to sidecar combos, with the Clubman GT offering the most power ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha XVS1100 (1998-current)

£6,999

1063cc, 62bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Yamaha XVS1100 - a big  cruiser of yesteryear is more a mid sized cruiser of today. It's an evolution of Yamaha’s long running XV1100 Virago which used to be its custom-style range topper but now it’s dwarfed by the near-two litre megacruisers. The Yamaha XVS1100 is somewhat old tech but light weight and manageability are always useful.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Triumph Scrambler (2006-current)

£7,349

865cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

Visually the most arresting of the retro Bonneville range, the Triumph Scrambler also makes a great all-round everyday bike. Dream of being Steve McQueen in the Great Escape as you zip down to Tescos on your cool Triumph Scrambler – just don’t go try to jump the checkout queues!

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DR125SE (1985-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to an XT125 or the like.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1987-2006)

£1,995

346cc, 18bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

If you want to travel back through time to the 1950s then the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the bike for you. Great engineering details, and it actually makes a pleasant rural commuter bike, returning 70mpg or more at a steady 55mph. Needs TLC of course, like most old classics, but still undeniably good fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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MZ Skorpion 660 (1994-2003)

N/A

660cc, 48bhp, 116mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Skorpion was stylishly designed (by acclaimed Brits Seymour-Powell) single using a Yamaha engine which proved a refreshingly able antidote to Japanese fours in the mid-to-late 90s. Light, lithe, affordable, generally reliable and reassuringly practical.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki VL1500 Intruder (1998-2002)

N/A

1462cc, 67bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Although the Suzuki VL1500 Intruder shares a basic engine design with the Suzuki VL1400 Intruder, the two bikes have very different chassis. The Suzuki VL1500 Intruder is long, low and wide, very similar to Kawasaki's Vulcan 1500 in terms of power, overall feel and ride quality. The bottom line is this however; can you ride a bike with `Intruder' written ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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