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Ducati Monster 1100S (2009-2013)

£10,195

1078cc, 95bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Like the Ducati Monster 696 that arrived earlier in 2008, the bigger capacity Monster range was, after 15 years, in desperate need of an update. And the result is the best air-cooled Monster ever. Only subtle styling tweaks have been applied, but serious thought and attention has been lumped on the engine and chassis components. If it’s a pleasurable, no-nonsense, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory (2010-2011)

£7,874

749cc, 92bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 11

The standard Dorsoduro has always been impressive; much more user friendly on the road compared to the larger Ducati Hypermotard and KTM, but couldn’t match the competitions on track performance. However the new stiffer racier Factory should narrow that gap if not erase it, and it’s even more mouth watering than before with lashing of real carbon fibre. - Video: ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Versys (2010-current)

£6,549

649cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 9

There wasn’t much wrong with the old Versys, it just needed a few minor faults addressing which Kawasaki have done. They have reduced the engine vibration which was a major fault and improved the bike cosmetically, whilst adding more extras like heated grips. It’s a jack of trades, and at under £6000 a bit of bargain all round bike. - ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB400 Super Four (1992-current)

N/A

399cc, 52bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda CB400 Super Four, like most 400cc grey imports, is a junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 ‘Big One’. As such it’s a chunky, good-looking, well-equipped roadster that’s both novice-friendly, reasonably versatile and sporty, too. Expect usual grey import foibles (secondhand, sometimes difficult parts/servicing availability); don’t expect giant slaying performance. Cute, likeable and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ER-6f (2009-2011)

£5,999

649cc, 71bhp, mph, Insurance group

The original Kawasaki ER-6f was universally acclaimed by MCN’s road testers and the revised ER sees the love affair continue. It’s a rare package of fun, practicality and affordability, which is great for novices and experienced riders alike. Its sporty, Ninja looks prove budget doesn’t have to mean bland, while revisions to the 649cc parallel twin engine have eradicated most of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell XB9SX Lightning (2004-2009)

£5,990

984cc, 84bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

The Buell XB9SX is an oddity. What you get is an old-school v-twin in a high-tech chassis, all wrapped up in a mad-max style urban scrambler. On paper it makes very little sense – a modern naked middleweight out-performs it in every practical way. But it looks great, sounds mean and the handling is sublime. It would be a hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki Z1000 (2010-2013)

£9,099

1043cc, 136bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The 2010 Z1000 is the most impressive sports naked ever to roll out of Japan. It has excellent performance, handling and is super-stylish to boot. It’s less intimidating and easier to ride than a fire-breathing European super naked too. Compared to something like a KTM Super Duke or Ducati Streetfighter, the Z1000 is on the heavy side, the brakes lack ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YBR125 Custom (2008-current)

£2,599

cc, 10bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 2

The idea behind the Yamaha YBR125 Custom is dead simple: take the straightforward YBR125 commuter, customize it a bit with high bars, more chrome and a lower seat, bump up the price a tad, and there you go, a pointlessly more expensive and less tasteful runabout. In reality, it makes a lot of sense as the low seat makes it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM 690 Duke R (2010 model)

£8,899

690cc, 71.4bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 11

Even though the bike tested was a pre-production unit – virtually finished bar the paintwork and decals – this bigger capacity 690 Duke is altogether a different machine than non-R model 690 Duke (654cc). The extra 36cc (KTM won’t confirm this figure until after official model launch, mid Nov ’09) of the new R-model with carbonfibre front mudguard and revised ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

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

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