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Yamaha XT600E (1990-2004)

N/A

595cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable and solid as an old school trail bike gets. The Yamaha XT600E was the last of a long line of 4-valve air-cooled Yamaha singles, starting off with the original, much-loved XT500 of the mid-70s. This is a true trailie: decent off-round and straightforward and ujn-fussy on. Don’t expect any frills or motorway ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha TT600R (2004-current)

£4,899

595cc, 42bhp, 83mph, Insurance group 9

With its low price, air-cooled, four-stroke motor and simple steel chassis the Yamaha TT600R represents the utilitarian side of modern biking. It does have some off-road pretensions, but it’s most at home pressed into the role of tough urban commuter. On the flip side, the Yamaha TT600R turns motorways into instruments of torture.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda Dominator (1988-2001)

N/A

644cc, 43bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda Dominator is the motorcycle that defined the ‘urban trailie’ craze of the Nineties. Beloved by town-bound motorcycle couriers and B-road hackers thanks to its punchy delivery, rufty-tufty build quality and commanding riding position the  Honda Dominator still makes its mark as a value-for-money commuting motorcycle.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB750 F2 (1992-2001)

N/A

747cc, 73bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CB750 F2 is not the most exciting motorcycle to leave the Honda factory but a competent, comfortable cruising motorcycle nonetheless. Adequate suspension, good riding position, top brakes and a strong engine are plus points but the Honda CB750 F2 is let down by average handling and a lack of real zest. Sadly, rather boring.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Vertemati Supermoto (2002-2004)

N/A

570cc, 57bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

Vertemati is not alone amongst its fellow Italian factories in bobbing helplessly between solvency and insolvency. And on that basis alone it’s a tough call to recommend them. However, the range of bikes they did make in-between crises are powerful, stiff, hard bastards that need an expert’s hand to get anything like the best from them. The Vertemati Supermoto is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda VT600 Shadow (1992-2002)

N/A

583cc, 54bhp, 111mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda VT600 Shadow is pretty much the antithesis of the original chopper credo. If the first true chops were all about bad boy, bristly individuality, the 600 Shadow is about as soft, unthreatening and unoriginal as it gets. It’s bland, novice-friendly and safe and predictable, but you’;ve really got to ask yourself if you want that sort of thing. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Suzuki GSX750 (1997-2002)

N/A

749cc, 85bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

This was Suzuki's answer to the Kawasaki Zephyr 750 and although the Suzuki GSX750 has its admirers, it never really caught on in the UK and there aren't very many about secondhand. The Suzuki GSX750 is a competent performer but the soft suspension and indifferent finish detract from an otherwise user-friendly package.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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