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Yamaha YBR250 (2009-current)

£3,799

249cc, 21bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 5

With no roadster to fill the void in Yamaha’s range between a learner 125 and something like an 80bhp XJ6, the Japanese firm have decided to bring the YBR250 in to the UK as a limited run. It’s friendly, practical and swift enough to have some fun - plus it's 33bhp licence-friendly too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia Shiver GT (2009-2011)

£7,474

749cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 15

The standard Aprilia SL750 Shiver is just another funky naked bike – but the simple addition of a fairing turns it in to one of the best Italian all rounders you can buy. The Shiver GT is very competent, mixing practicality with style, performance and character for not a huge amount of cash.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Streetfighter S (2009-2012)

£14,695

1099cc, 155bhp, 154mph, Insurance group

The Ducati Streetfighter looks like a crashed 1098 superbike but packs so much presence and attitude it works standing still. It needs to because at £13,995 for the S-version we rode here, it has a hell of a lot of competition on its hands in one of the biggest-growing classes in the UK. Ducati claim it’s the lightest bike in the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800R (2009-current)

£7,595

798cc, 87bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 12

BMW placed the F800R as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad of 600cc middleweight bikes eg Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc! And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Café Classic (2009-2012)

£6,169

744cc, 48bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 14

The new Moto Guzzi Café Classic is a café racer version of the V7 Classic retro roadster warmly received last year. Powered by Guzzi’s small block 750 Nevada V-twin powertrain in an old school twin shock chassis, it’s a dinky, cute runaround and almost embarassingly toy-like for anyone over 5’10”. But what makes it great is how beautifully and classily ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki Gladius (2009-current)

£5,699

645cc, 75.9bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 10

The old SV650 was a good bike and to be honest Suzuki didn’t have to do much to make it a great bike once more. But they have gone one better and given us an excellent bike. Obvious improved looks but the real beauty it’s under the skin, the lovely fuelled, smooth, punchy, little V-Twin.  As an added extra bonus ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW K1300S (2009-current)

£12,375

1293cc, 175bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 17

It may look largely the same as the outgoing model but the latest version of BMW’s rocketship K1300S has had a host of small changes that add up to a much better bike all round. With a claimed 175bhp and some seriously clever electronically-adjustable suspension, traction control and a long list of options to choose from, BMW has built a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XJ6 Diversion (2009-current)

£6,499

600cc, 77bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 12

The new Yamaha XJ6 Diversion is the half-faired version of the Yamaha XJ6. It's more powerful, better handling and prettier than the trusty old Diversion of the late 80s and early 90s. But just like that old original, it offers practical, fun and above all, affordable biking. It’s easy to ride, so it’s perfect for new riders looking for their ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 (2009-current)

£6,099

600cc, 77bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

This is the naked version of the half-faired Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. Aside from the lack of fairing, it is exactly the same spec, but somehow it has transformed the Yamaha from sensible budget middleweight to exciting mini streetfighter. With its ‘baby Yamaha FZ-1’ looks and sit-up-and-beg riding position this is a very cheap way to get your rocks off. On ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Monster 1100 (2009-2013)

£8,675

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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