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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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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

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992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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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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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)

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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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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