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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-1999)

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599cc, 106bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 749 (2003-2007)

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748cc, 116bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Preferred by some to the Ducati 999, and for good reason. The Ducati 749 is a cheaper motorcycle new or used, plus the smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The Ducati 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision, in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1150RS (2001-2005)

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1130cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1150RS is a motorcycle designed for the road not race tracks. It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer. The GS model BMWs grab headlines and sales figures but the The R1150RS shares its virtues plus has grippy road tyres too. A superb, versatile workhorse or plaything – the BMW R1150RS is not the fastest motorcycle out there ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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BMW K1200GT (2006-2008)

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1157cc, 152bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The current BMW K1200GT, launched in 2006, is very different from previous generation BMW K1200GTs. It uses BMW’s latest frame and across the frame four cylinder engine which is a much faster, more stable motorcycle with more luxury.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Buell XB12R Firebolt (2003-2007)

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1203cc, 100bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 16

The Buell XB12R Firebolt is a real Frankenstein’s monster of a motorcycle – but it works. Ancient Harley-Davidson engine mated to a stubby, innovative, high-tech aluminium frame with lots of well thought out touches makes a superb, nimble sports bike. The Buell XB12R may not be the fastest thing in a straight line but awesome in corners and stacks of fun.  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Bimota SB6 (1994-1999)

N/A

1074cc, 156bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

For many The SB6/7 is the pinnacle of old school Bimota craft. The recipe back then was simple: take the best and most powerful Japanese engines and wrap them in the most exquisite and fine handling hand-made Italian chassis and bodywork. The SB6/7 had hairy Suzuki GSX-R engines, sublime handling and craftsmanship and characteristically Italian unreliability and fickleness. After this, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F650 (1993-2007)

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652cc, 50bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 9

Born as the baby to the BMW R1150GS (now 1200cc), the BMW F650GS has a long and credible pedigree, including a string of varients. The BMW F650 has off-road pretentions but, in the real world, is a sturdy and sensible road motorcycle (the BMW F650 Dakar’s the one for the green lanes), it deals with most situations with predictable power and confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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