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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 4.5
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KTM RC8 (2008-2010)

£10,695

1148cc, 152.2bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

The KTM RC8 is the revelation of 2008… even though we’ve known it’s been coming for four years. Perhaps we should’ve given KTM more credit because all their machines (on and off-road) to date are superb. Nonetheless the RC8 is simply stunning and for all the right reasons. Its engine is powerful and usable; handling shames Japanese and Italian superbikes; ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki 250R Ninja (2008-2011)

£4,649

249cc, 32.5bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The American market has been a big success for the Kawasaki Ninja 250 range for years and years and… But even the Yanks need a fresh brew every now and then and the Ninja 250R is the latest offering. Fortunately for 33bhp probationary riders in mainland Europe and the UK, we are getting the bike too, complete with emissions compliant fuel ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

N/A

599cc, 97.5bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

It was never the fastest or the most powerful in the supersports class of 04 and 05, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 was easily the most fun, especially on the track. Boasting the lightest weight of all its contenders, the most track-focused chassis and the most evil sounding engine note, the Suzuki GSX-R600 is the 600 for dedicated hardcore riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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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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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2004-2005)

N/A

998cc, 172bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

Cold, calm and supremely effective – the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is like The Terminator. It is an exceptional sports bike that’s blisteringly fast on the road or track. It is bristling with MotoGP technology and compared to the previous motorcycles the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is manic and faster but heavier and arguably less exciting too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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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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