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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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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

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599cc, 109bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Ducati 748 (1994-2003)

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748cc, 103bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 16

The Ducati 748  is nearly identical to the iconic Ducati 916 but with a smaller engine (and narrower rear wheel). That means sublime handling on smooth surfaces, terrible comfort, high running costs and a feel-good experience most other motorcycle can’t touch. Even well over a decade on few motorcycles match the simple, gorgeous curves of the Ducati 748.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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)

N/A

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)

N/A

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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BMW C1 (2000-2002)

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125cc, 15bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 6

A motorcycle with a roof that doubles as accident protection. Be the smartest commuter in the city or ‘that twonk in the Noddy moped’ depending on your perspective. The BMW C1's £4K price tag (it dropped by £600 when the 200cc version came out) was high for an overweight scooter – even if it did keep you dry. Few were ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5

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