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Buell S1 Lightning (1997-1998)

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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 The engine and gearbox felt outdated even when new, the handling was OK, with the braking perhaps slightly less so.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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Buell M2 Cyclone (1997-2002)

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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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Cagiva Raptor 1000 (2000-2005)

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996cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

Is the Cagiva Raptor 1000 the wise alternative to a Ducati Monster? Penned by the same designer, the similarities are outstanding. The Suzuki engine is more reliable than any Duke but Cagiva parts back up can be patchy and specialist knowledge scarce. Small, fast and unstable on rough surfaces and stacks of fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1100R (1995-2003)

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1085cc, 80bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Often overlooked as a new machine, BMW's R1100R now makes tons of sense as a used bike. It’s the naked version of BMW’s twin cylinder ‘Boxer’ – undoubtedly their best range of motorcycles at the time. The R1100R is an incredibly versatile machine that does anything well except high speed work and track days.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia Tuono 125 (2003-2005)

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125cc, 14bhp, 81mph, Insurance group 7

Simply put the Aprilia Tuono 125 is an Aprilia RS125 with nose fairing and flat bars. Which is why it’ll suit taller 17-year-olds much better than its racier sibling. It loses nothing in handling terms, with excellent brakes and packs stunning looks into what’s already a very tempting package. And once de-restricted it’s a flyer.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1150R (2001-2006)

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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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Aprilia Moto 6.5 (1995-2002)

N/A

649cc, 42bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 9

Whatever star quality the Philippe Starck-designed Aprilia Moto 6.5 may possess as a motorcycling design icon (and it has lots), it’s sadly more than matched by its overwhelming ‘averageness’ in terms of performance. The Aprilia Moto 6.5 is OK, in a F650/Pegaso sort of way, but you’ve got to love to weird looks to contemplate it. 

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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