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Honda CB1300S (2005-current)

£11,199

1284cc, 113bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 14

Classic early superbike lines crash head-on with a practical top fairing and an inexpensive ABS option to make the Honda CB1300S a competent tourer-cum-commuter that’s a pleasure to ride with above average handling, plenty of practical touches and a low seat height. Read any Honda CB1300S review and you'll find nothing but praise for the way the Honda CB1300S gets ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Zephyr 750 (1992-1998)

N/A

738cc, 76bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

The Kawasaki Z1 was an awesome bike in its day, but the Zephyr 750/1100 tribute bike - like tribute bands - doesn't quite capture the lairy, dangerous essence of the original. The 750 is too soft, a bit underpowered and the 1100 is simply a lardbucket that makes a Bandit 1200 look like a sportbike.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva River 600/500 (1995-2002)

N/A

497cc, 34bhp, 104mph, Insurance group 8

The Cagiva River is one of the great oddballs of Italian motorcycling of the last decade. Forget traditional performance, passion and style, the city commuter River is the opposite: workmanlike, pedestrian and dull. Honest and different, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Raptor 650 (2003-current)

£4,999

645cc, 69bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Cagiva Raptor 650's smart Italian style plus a reliable Japanese engine equals a cool, capable light/middle weight all round motorcycle. It’s a blast on back roads but long motorway journeys can be blustery. It’s an extremely unusual bike – imported by Dorset dealer Three Cross Motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Monster M620 (2001-2006)

N/A

618cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Ducatis inspire passion and the Ducati M620 Monster offers a way into the dream for those who are just starting out. Like its stablemates, it looks great and sounds gorgeous but complaints about lack of power, basic suspension and its physical size (it’s very small) mean the Ducati M620 Monster is not ideal for everyone. Watch video of this bike and more on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell X1 Lightning (1998-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell X1 Lightning evolved from the M2 Cyclone and features the same short wheelbase chassis, with Showa suspension on the early run base models, then WP kit on the later X1 Lightning, and souped up White Lightning variant. With more grunt than the M2 the X1 feels like more fun and the build quality improved somewhat as time went ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Buell S1 Lightning (1997-1998)

N/A

1203cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Quirky doesn't adequately describe the Buell S1 Lightning and this mid-90s take on the Buell dream has its plus points, as well as a few serious flaws in its roadster concept. The engine and gearbox felt outdated even when new, the handling was OK, with the braking perhaps slightly less so.  The 93bhp White Lightning has more oomph and is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 1
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Yamaha TDM900 (2002-current)

£8,399

897cc, 74bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

The Yamaha TDM900 is a streetbiking oddball that’s as brilliant beating congestion as it is swinging bends. The parallel twin motor is spunky enough for fun, while the wide bars really let you take charge and hustle. It’s such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell M2 Cyclone (1997-2002)

N/A

1203cc, 93bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

Buell twins are oddball machines and have struggled to win over traditional Harley and Japanese retro bike owners alike. The basic problem is the old hat pushrod V-twin, with its frankly clunky gearbox and diesel-esque power delivery. The Buell M2 Cyclone is one of the more funky versions of the Buell concept from the late 90s, but lacks the easygoing ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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BMW R1150R (2001-2006)

N/A

1130cc, 76bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 12

The BMW R1150R is an honest-to-goodness Boxer twin that will provide years of faithful commuting service while not exactly setting pulses racing. Once you’ve overcome the idiosyncratic indicator switchgear arrangement (one per bar, plus another to cancel), the lumpy motor and poor gearbox, it’s actually quite endearing.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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