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Honda RVF750R RC45 (1994-99)

N/A

749cc, 120bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Laverda 750 S (1997-2002)

N/A

748cc, 85bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

For a brief, mostly shining few years in the mid-to-late 1990s, legendary Italian marque Laverda (they of the 1970s Jota etc) was back. Trouble was, although the machines’ cycle parts were like an Aladdin’s cave of goodies, they handled superbly, looked decent and weren’t too exotically priced, the twin cylinder engines, though updated, were based on the 500 Montjuic of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Daytona 600/650 (2003-2005)

N/A

599cc, 110bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 600/650 is lighter, smoother, faster and infinitely prettier than the TT600. What’s more, Bruce Anstey won the Junior TT on one in 2003 which goes to show what improvements Triumph made to their 600cc sports middleweight contender. The Triumph Daytona 600/650 is a beauty: an involved ride with excellent handling, amazing brakes and it’s good value.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

N/A

899cc, 143bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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MV Agusta F41000S (2004-2012)

£14,000

998cc, 155bhp, 184mph, Insurance group 17

The MV Agusta F41000S blends a monster engine, God-given handling and heart-aching beauty to be possibly one of the most desirable two-wheeled creations of all time. Only its high price, discomfort and lack of convincing reliability prevent it taking full marks.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi MGS-01 Corsa (2004-current)

£18,499

1225cc, 121bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Guzzi go modern. While most of their bikes trade on heritage, style and charisma the MGS-01 has a high-tech 21st century chassis with an intelligently updated version of the V-twin engine that’s at the heart of the brand. It’s only available as a race bike but we’re hopeful of a road version soon.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport (2006-current)

£9,374

1151cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 13

The beleagured but charismatic Italian Moto Guzzi concern has been labelled many things in recent years but ‘sports’ has never been one of them. In truth, the Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport isn’t a sports bike either. Instead it's an aggressively styled roadster using a mix of the latest Breva 1100 and Griso goodies. Too heavy to be a street scalpel, but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2005-2006)

£8,799

999cc, 176bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

The first Suzuki GSX-R1000 set new superbike standards in 2001, the second one did it again in 2003 and this, the third full Suzuki GSX-R1000 update, went straight back to the top of the superbike tree in 2005 and stayed there, pretty much ever since. The reasons for the Suzuki GSX-R1000's dominance are simple. Sublime, lithe ergonomics and handling, radical ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport (1995-2000)

N/A

1064cc, 90bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

You can surprise a few four cylinder sportbike owners on the 1100 Sport, but you have to really work hard at the job, and the bottom line is that the 1100 Sport is too heavy, too old fashioned for seriously fast motorcycling. Trackdays often end in tears.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZXR400 (1995-1998)

N/A

398cc, 62bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 12

‘Extreme’ is a word that’s bandied everywhere these days. But when it comes to motorcycling, they don’t come much more so than Kawasaki’s ZXR400. Small (so popular with the ladeez), light, stumpy, extremely revvy and a fabulous handler, the little ZXR is refined essence of four-cylinder sportster with all the good and bad that implies. It’s not big, it’s not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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