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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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Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (1989-2003)

N/A

742cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Big trail bike you really can take off road. The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was one of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best. Power output is much lower than the latest machines but the slimmer seat makes it easier to manage one you leave the Tarmac. It’s not light though and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson FXDLI Dyna Low Rider (1991-current)

£10,995

1584cc, 67bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 15

Another Harley staple aimed at riders with traditional tastes who are looking for a machine that’s both comfortable and easy to handle. The Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider combines a low seat, mid-mounted foot controls and pull back bars for easy comfort. Like all 2007 Hogs it also benefits from the new 1558 engine, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Yamaha MT-01 (2005-current)

£12,849

1670cc, 90bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha MT-01 has radical, straight-from-show-concept-bike styling allied to monstrous road presence which gives this motorcycle a kick-in-the-teeth visual appeal like no other. Build and detailing is fabulous and the thunderous engine sounds like no other. Shame performance is merely average yet the price stratospheric, then.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Cagiva Canyon 500 (1996-2002)

N/A

499cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 9

There are no end of single cylinder commuter/trailie bikes around if you have the urge, so the Cagiva Canyon loses out for a couple of good reasons in that hard-fought battle for novice biker cash; first off, it's not the most reliable, even by Italian standards. Secondly, it just doesn't have the oomph to match its city slicker looks. What's ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell X1 Lightning (1998-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell X1 Lightning evolved from the M2 Cyclone and features the same short wheelbase chassis, with Showa suspension on the early run base models, then WP kit on the later X1 Lightning, and souped up White Lightning variant. With more grunt than the M2 the X1 feels like more fun and the build quality improved somewhat as time went ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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BMW R1200S (2006-2007)

£8,955

1170cc, 122bhp, 148mph, Insurance group 13

Somehow you already know if you want the BMW R1200S. The looks divide opinions, but only half as much as the Boxer engine and the Telelever/Paralever suspension do. BMW has strained the limits of these design parameters – and it only just comes off. As an oddball track motorcycle it works, but as an accomplished all-rounder it falls short of ...

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

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