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Cagiva Planet 125 (1998-2003)

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124cc, 23bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The cousin of the successful, ‘mini 916’ Cagiva Mito, the Cagiva Planet 125 takes its engine, running gear and chassis from the mad little sportsbike so it’s got a good pedigree. It’s also beautifully designed and knocks the socks off its competitors (largely scooters). Let’s face it, which would you rather have?

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Monster 1000 (2003-2005)

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922cc, 85bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 14

For schmoozing about town there’s really nothing more rewarding than a Ducati Monster 1000 with its easy-going dual spark (DS) motor. With its handsome, air-cooled V-twin hanging out in the breeze and trademark trellis frame the Ducati Monster 1000 is the quintessential roadster motorcycle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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 916/996/998 (1994-2005)

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998cc, 123bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Evolution of the legendary Ducati 916 has an even punchier engine and a refined chassis. It’s still an uncompromising motorcycle designed to lap tracks fast which means it’s not such fun on a wet back road but it always makes the rider feel very special - whether they’re out on a blast or just staring at the Ducati 916, 996 or 998s gorgeous ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1200C (1997-2005)

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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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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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BMW R1150GS Adventure (2002-2005)

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1130cc, 85bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1150GS Adventure is the ultimate round-the-world, do it all motorcycle – as Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman proved in their ‘Long Way Round’ motorcycle adventure. The BMW R1150GS Adventure is a jacked up, kitted out, heavy duty version of the already excellent BMW R1150GS and is the Hummer of the motorcycle world. Awesome in every way…

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1100S (1999-2005)

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1085cc, 98bhp, 141mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1100S is now starting to be regarded as something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form. Classy (and crucially un-ugly) styling, VFR-esque comfort and versatility plus BMW quality and residuals make for a stonking and attractive all-rounder, if not quite the sports bike BM intended…  

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