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Kawasaki Zephyr 550 (1991-1998)

N/A

553cc, 50bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

Launched the same time as the bigger 750 and 1100 Zephyrs, the Kawasaki Zephyr 550 never really caught on in the UK and once the Zephyr's reputation for corrosion spread, and the rival Suzuki Bandit 600 arrived in 1995, the 550 was doomed. It makes an OK commuter in the summer, but it is undepowered, rides too soft and rots ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki Zephyr 750 (1992-1998)

N/A

738cc, 76bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

The Kawasaki Z1 was an awesome bike in its day, but the Zephyr 750/1100 tribute bike - like tribute bands - doesn't quite capture the lairy, dangerous essence of the original. The 750 is too soft, a bit underpowered and the 1100 is simply a lardbucket that makes a Bandit 1200 look like a sportbike.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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CCM 640 Supermoto (1999-2000)

N/A

636cc, 60bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM 640 comes in three versions – the 640 RS is a roadster with swoopy bodywork, there’s a Dual Sport version with taller suspension and off-road wheels and then there’s the more popular Supermoto, with more traditional, off-road style panels and numberboard-style front fairing. All that separates CCM’s 640 machines from their 604-designated counterparts is a wider cylinder bore. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZR-7 (1999-2004)

N/A

738cc, 75bhp, 126mph, Insurance group 11

With its proven engine, accessible power and easy handling, the Kawasaki ZR-7’s the ideal choice for newbies, couriers, and anyone wanting an easy life. At its budget price, it’ll appeal to the frugal, too. What it lacks in presence and excitement it makes up for in practicality and affordability.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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CCM 604 (1998-2002)

N/A

598cc, 52bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

CCM’S 604 came in a wide variety of styles; from supermoto to green laner to roadster. But mechanically each one was essentially the same hardy Rotax motor and quality suspension propelling an oil-in-the-frame chassis. Although they made way for the Suzuki-engined 644 in 2003 the older 604 is still a good, cheap motorcycle providing you look after it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva Canyon 500 (1996-2002)

N/A

499cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 9

There are no end of single cylinder commuter/trailie bikes around if you have the urge, so the Cagiva Canyon loses out for a couple of good reasons in that hard-fought battle for novice biker cash; first off, it's not the most reliable, even by Italian standards. Secondly, it just doesn't have the oomph to match its city slicker looks. What's ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell M2 Cyclone (1997-2002)

N/A

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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BMW R1200C (1997-2005)

N/A

1170cc, 61bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1200C is a Harley-Davidson rival with German engineering. Like most cruisers, it sells on looks – this one had a part in a Bond movie too. Power is pretty modest considering the 1200cc engine but it’s enough. Dynamically it’s better than many cruisers thanks to quality engineering and light(ish) weight.  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1150RT (2001-2005)

N/A

1130cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

The BMW R1150RT has all the comfort needed to blitz Europe – and it handles too. Proof that a motorcycle can take you a pillion and plenty of luggage to those Alpine passes can be fun once you get there. The R1150RT is lighter than most full tourers of the time and superbly built too – but it's no rocket in ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1150RS (2001-2005)

N/A

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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