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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2007-2008)

£8,999

998cc, 170bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Yamaha’s latest R1 features new-found midrange drive from junking Yamaha’s tried and tested five-valve per cylinder in favour of the traditional four-valve set up, but at the same time installing some of the “bad boy” engine manners the original model was famed for. The chassis also gets updated by way of new frame, swingarm and suspension to make this latest ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (1998-2003)

N/A

998cc, 150bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

The third and final great sports bike of the nineties. The FireBlade set the agenda, the 916 added finesse and the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with and updated Yamaha YZF-R1s are even more potent and easier to use too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki SV1000 (2003-2007)

£6,049

996cc, 118bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki SV1000 is a purpose built big capacity, sensibly priced, road going sporty V-twin. Ok, the engine’s nicked from Suzuki’s old TL1000S but the rest of the SV1000 is all-new yet the price tag is very reasonable new or used. The faired Suzuki SV1000 ‘S’ version has lower bars but is the better all-rounder. The unfaired SV1000 with higher bars is a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

N/A

918cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR FireBlade (2002-2003)

N/A

954cc, 149bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The last Honda CBR900RR FireBlade by Tadao Baba is the most exciting to ride and lighter than its successors. Later Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades were faster but heavier and less involving. Like any Honda CBR900RR FireBlade this one is incredibly fast, surprisingly reliable, amazingly comfortable and well built too. A stunning motorcycle that looks extra tasty in white.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2003-2004)

N/A

988cc, 164bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 16

Ultra fast, capable track missile that works far better on the road then you’d imagine. The MK II Suzuki GSX-R1000 (K3-K4) thou is smaller and more compact than the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1-K2 models. It’s easier to flick around race tracks but, bizarrely, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 makes an acceptable one-man sports tourer too.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda GL1500 Gold Wing (1988-2000)

N/A

1520cc, 100bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 15

So definitive a full-dress tourer, the Honda GL1500 Gold Wing remained in production for over a decade and (nearly) all rivals gave up bothering to compete. Third generation Gold Wing boasted all-new, super-smooth, super grunty flat-six, fabulously equipped and integrated design and lavish comfort to beat all-comers. Only recently superceded (by GL1800 and BMW K1200LT), and even then not by ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2001-2003)

N/A

599cc, 101bhp, 158mph, Insurance group 14

What a makeover! And just in time… As other sports 600s were creeping ahead, Suzuki looked as if it would be left for dead. And then they came up with this Suzuki GSX-R600. Slimmed down, firmed up and with power and torque figures to raise front wheels as well as eyebrows, the “new” Suzuki GSX-R600 was an absolute storm.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VFR750F (1995-1998)

N/A

749cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

For many, bike journalists included, the best road bike ever built. In 1994 Honda revised an already exceptional motorcycle, giving it super-model looks while still retaining those quintessential VFR qualities of legendary reliability, consistent performance and supreme comfort. The bodywork become less angular and gained Ferrari-esque louvres on its side panels.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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