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Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod Muscle (2009-current)

£13,845

1250cc, 109.2bhp, 145.1mph, Insurance group 16

Harley’s cruiser V-Rod has been about since 2001, and the new Muscle is… is just another styling exercise to bolster what is arguably a tired range. The Muscle is essentially a reworked V-Rod with design touches (muscular, flowing lines) to front it up as a serious boulevard traffic light blaster. Except it isn’t that muscular – 12.25sec standing quarters anyone?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RSV4R (2010-current)

£14,132

998cc, 180bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

Aprilia’s RSV4R is a more affordable version of the all-singing, all-dancing RSV4 Factory. The engine is basically the same, without some of the Factory’s advanced electronics, but the chassis parts are slightly lower-spec. Despite this it’s still a beautifully-balanced technology-packed Italian missile. It’s monstrously fast, gives you loads of confidence in the corners, has superb ride quality, looks great (especially ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX (2009-2011)

£11,774

1151cc, 105bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

The Moto Guzzi Stelvio is well built, sounds great, stylish, easy to handle, comfortable, practical and comes with that historic Moto Guzzi badge on the tank. It’s not as focussed as the BMW R1200GS Adventure on road and nowhere as accomplished off-road, but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either, it’s easy to ride and it comes with an air ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Thunderbird (2009-current)

£11,149

1597cc, 85bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s all-new Thunderbird is bravely aimed at taking on Harley in the US, but in terms of spec, quality, performance and price looks the best-equipped rival ever to do just that. It performs well, handles better, is beautifully built and has all the cruiser goodies you could wish for. But if we have to be critical, it’s a bit derivative ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2009-2011)

£10,825

999cc, 161bhp, 178.9mph, Insurance group 17

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 is the first completely new GSX-R1000 in the big Suzuki’s history, but it feels uncannily similar to the K7/K8 model it replaces. Despite a new short-stoke engine and an all-new chassis, the K9 hasn’t captured the spirit of the grunt-filled, lightweight K5 bike as we’d hoped and still lacks the agility to keep with its rivals ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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KTM RC8R (2009-2010)

£14,995

1195cc, 159.34bhp, 169.55mph, Insurance group 17

Unashamedly a circuit-based blaster that will need a road-rider to be fully aware of what he is about to buy if it’s to be used on the road. From the competition-biased WP suspension to the 170bhp engine and the lightweight Marchesini wheels in between, the KTM RC8R cries out for corners to be taken at speed. Although it doesn’t need to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW K1300GT (2009-2013)

£13,500

1293cc, 160bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 17

The BMW K1300GT is a Grand Tourer in the true sense of the words. It manages to combine massive performance with supreme practicality and comfort. There’s no getting away from the sheer size of the BMW K1300GT - it’s a massive chunk of engineering that looks and feels imposing at a standstill. Get it moving, however and that bulk just ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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BMW K1300R (2009-current)

£12,125

1293cc, 173bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 17

It may look largely the same as the outgoing model but the latest version of BMW’s naked K1300R has had a host of small changes that add up to a much better bike all-round. With a claimed 173bhp and some seriously clever optional 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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Ducati 1198S (2008-2011)

£17,250

1198cc, 168bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Nobody else has a 168bhp V-twin on its books, complete with traction control, Ohlins suspension, data-recording etc, and if they did it’d probably cost more than the £14,750 Ducati 1198S. And there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have the same devastating performance all wrapped up in a chassis that has more character than Lord Of the Rings’ Gandalf. This is ...

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

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