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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2003-2004)

N/A

636cc, 112bhp, 162mph, Insurance group 15

The ZX-6R of 2003 marked a dramatic return to form for Kawasaki. At its launch this machine was the hardest, most technologically advanced 600 of all time, boasting radial brakes, upside-down forks and fully digital clocks alongside fuel-injection, a lap timer and all wrapped up in a tiny, tight chassis and plastics. Gorgeous.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2005-2006)

N/A

636cc, 114bhp, 168mph, Insurance group 15

The hardest 600 of modern times just got a little softer – and a little better, too. The Kawasaki ZX-6R's track-intent is still present and correct, but thankfully the suspension is more responsive and less harsh. Its new slippery shape means that 170mph is just a following wind away. Also new for 2005 is a slipper clutch and petal discs.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2004-2006)

N/A

998cc, 165bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

It’s hard to fault the clinical, precise and devastatingly fast Yamaha YZF-R1. Its chassis can cope with all kinds of road surfaces and demolishes tight hairpins at any track. But it does demand skill and rivals like the CBR1000RR and GSX-R1000 are simply less work. For purists the Yamaha YZF-R1 still has something unique; a superb focus on the dark ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2006-2007)

£7,499

599cc, 131bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The 2006 Yamaha R6 was the most high-tech, track focussed motorcycle you could buy when it was released. Technology to put Yamaha’s own R1 of the day to shame, reinforcing that 600cc motorcycles are no longer a budget option but for many, simply the best choice. Rapid, gorgeous and sometimes frustrating on the road but still easy to fall in ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2004-2005)

£6,599

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

For a supersports machine that’s as easy to ride to the shops as it is round Donington Park the 2005 Yamaha YZF-R6 comes close to spot-on. Launched as a rearguard action while the factory prepared their dinky, ride-by-wire ’06 hottie, this older version of the Yamaha YZF-R6 still comes with toys like radial brakes and is seriously underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-1999)

N/A

599cc, 106bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 999 (2003-2006)

N/A

998cc, 124bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 17

Although arguably a better bike, the Ducati 999 has never really stepped out of the shadows of the preceding, iconic Ducati 916 series of motorcycles. It lacks the grunty, fluid finesse of its V-twin rival motorcycles, the comfort of Japanese superbikes and has typical Ducati failings; of poor riding position, useless mirrors and quirky electrics. On the right racetrack, the Ducati 999 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 916/996/998 (1994-2005)

N/A

998cc, 123bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Evolution of the legendary Ducati 916 has an even punchier engine and a refined chassis. It’s still an uncompromising motorcycle designed to lap tracks fast which means it’s not such fun on a wet back road but it always makes the rider feel very special - whether they’re out on a blast or just staring at the Ducati 916, 996 or 998s gorgeous ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

N/A

599cc, 109bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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