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Honda GL1500 Gold Wing (1988-2000)

N/A

1520cc, 100bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 15

So definitive a full-dress tourer, the Honda GL1500 Gold Wing remained in production for over a decade and (nearly) all rivals gave up bothering to compete. Third generation Gold Wing boasted all-new, super-smooth, super grunty flat-six, fabulously equipped and integrated design and lavish comfort to beat all-comers. Only recently superceded (by GL1800 and BMW K1200LT), and even then not by ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSF600 Bandit (1996-2005)

N/A

600cc, 78bhp, 129mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit was so successful it spawned a whole class. Budget middleweight roadsters. The recipe is simple take one aging but acceptable supersport engine, bung it in a basic, straightforward roadster chassis and price it as keenly as possible. The first Bandits proved best sellers, great for novices and as all-rounders. Latest versions are now 650cc and there’s ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GS125ES (1982-2000)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

If you want to get to work, carry a butty box and do it all on about 69p per day, then the Suzuki GS125ES is for you. It's about as exciting as cold porridge, but like the Honda C90, or Kawasaki KH125, the Suzuki GS125ES simply provides basic two wheeled transport and costs peanuts to run.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Honda VFR750F (1995-1998)

N/A

749cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

For many, bike journalists included, the best road bike ever built. In 1994 Honda revised an already exceptional motorcycle, giving it super-model looks while still retaining those quintessential VFR qualities of legendary reliability, consistent performance and supreme comfort. The bodywork become less angular and gained Ferrari-esque louvres on its side panels.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Sprint RS (1999-2004)

N/A

955cc, 118bhp, 154mph, Insurance group 14

Never a big seller when new but the Triumph Sprint RS can be a real bargain on the used market. Sporty sports tourer with Triumph’s powerful, mellifluous three cylinder engine. The Triumph Sprint RS is similar to the better selling Sprint ST but with a cheaper and lighter conventional swingarm, less plastic, firmer suspension, sharper geometry and a different exhaust. The ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KE100 (1974-1998)

N/A

99cc, 10bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

If you want basic transport, in a two stroke trail bike package, then the Kawasaki KE100 is arguably the template for the entire class. Starting life as the 100 G4 TR, it evolved into the KM100 and KE100, eventually killed off by looming emissions regulations in 1998. The lKawasaki KE100  has sightly dodgy brakes and electrics, but otherwise a tough, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2005-2006)

N/A

636cc, 114bhp, 168mph, Insurance group 15

The hardest 600 of modern times just got a little softer – and a little better, too. The Kawasaki ZX-6R's track-intent is still present and correct, but thankfully the suspension is more responsive and less harsh. Its new slippery shape means that 170mph is just a following wind away. Also new for 2005 is a slipper clutch and petal discs.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2004-2006)

N/A

998cc, 165bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

It’s hard to fault the clinical, precise and devastatingly fast Yamaha YZF-R1. Its chassis can cope with all kinds of road surfaces and demolishes tight hairpins at any track. But it does demand skill and rivals like the CBR1000RR and GSX-R1000 are simply less work. For purists the Yamaha YZF-R1 still has something unique; a superb focus on the dark ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia RSV1000 Mille (1998-2003)

N/A

998cc, 128bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Why buy a Ducati when you could have an Aprilia RSV1000 Mille? OK, the name may not be as famous but the Mille is a superb superbike with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. Looks are distinctive, reliability is pretty good it’s just unfortunate that dealer back up can be patchy.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia RS250 (1994-2004)

N/A

249cc, 55bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 12

Aprilia’s RS250 is the last of a dead breed; its ring-a-ding-ding the requiem for meaningful two-strokes and their sweet perfume. Built to ape the Italian factory’s 1993 250GP winner the motorcycle perched a reed-valve motor in a near-perfect chassis to produce one of the finest handling machines of all time. Bella.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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