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Ducati 1198S (2008-2011)

£17,250

1198cc, 168bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Nobody else has a 168bhp V-twin on its books, complete with traction control, Ohlins suspension, data-recording etc, and if they did it’d probably cost more than the £14,750 Ducati 1198S. And there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have the same devastating performance all wrapped up in a chassis that has more character than Lord Of the Rings’ Gandalf. This is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2008-2010)

£8,950

998cc, 185.4bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

The new Kawasaki ZX-10R scores an easy five out of five; it surely must be the fastest production 1000cc bike of the current crop. But this ZX-10R is not all about Kawasaki’s new blistering engine and head-banging attitude, it’s controllable and handles much better than the previous ZX-10R and despite the blistering pace is actually easier to ride. Not for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 848 (2007-2013)

£10,995

848cc, 122bhp, 166mph, Insurance group 17

The Ducati 848 isn’t just a small 1098, it’s much more than that. The 848 is a proper fast (top speed is 166mph), fine-handling, gorgeous Ducati superbike in its own right. It’s no longer the poor relation to its big brother, like the 748 and 749 used to be. But costing £9500 you’re going to need to be anything but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 1098 (2007-2011)

£11,250

1099cc, 160bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

This is the Ducati motorcycle we’ve been waiting for since the original Ducati 916. It’s a Ducati motorcycle in the truest form. Blood red, stunning to look at and absolutely pure in its purpose. It’s been a long time coming but it finally looks like Ducati has built a sports bike that can run with the best. The Ducati 1098 finally stands for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki TL1000S (1997-2001)

N/A

996cc, 125bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki TL1000R (1998-2004)

N/A

996cc, 135bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Suzuki TL1000 range feature one of the truly great V-twin engines, in some of the most unpredictable handling chassis ever devised. The Suzuki TL1000R has an improved rear shock, which doesn't misbehave so much as the TL1000S model's, but both motorcycles get so light at the front end, so very easily with all that V-twin grunt on tap. The ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2001-2002)

N/A

988cc, 160bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 16

This Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the original ‘Gixxer-thou’ – THE top dog sports bike of its day. Later Suzuki GSX-R1000s became smaller and more revvy as well as faster round circuits and arguably easier to handle. The original Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1 and K2 models are still supremely competent sports bikes and pretty decent all round machines too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 CBR1000RR Fireblade (2006-2007)

N/A

998cc, 170bhp, 174mph, Insurance group 17

Every once in a while a sportster comes along that is just right. The 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is one of those machines. It delivers polished, glitch-free 180mph potency with almost no effort and yet blends this not just with the expected Honda build quality and class, but also a fat, hum-dinger, wheelie-pulling midrange that makes it more sheer fun ...

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

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