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Honda SLR650/Vigor (1996-2001)

N/A

644cc, 39bhp, 92mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda SLR650 is a fairly joyless machine that barely redeems itself as a reasonably efficient commuter. Essentially it’s a more heavily road-biased Dominator built at Honda’s plant in Spain, back in the days when the Continental factory’s quality control occasionally went adios. A Honda CB500 is simply miles better.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Honda XL650V Transalp (1987-2007)

£5,249

647cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda XL650V Transalp has been providing honest transport seemingly since the dawn of time. Revitalised with a bigger motor and a face-lift in 2000, it’s softly-chuffing charm and easy-going manners have won a devoted audience. Mostly blokes more interested in getting from A-to-B than having a giggle buy them up.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Laverda 750 S (1997-2002)

N/A

748cc, 85bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

For a brief, mostly shining few years in the mid-to-late 1990s, legendary Italian marque Laverda (they of the 1970s Jota etc) was back. Trouble was, although the machines’ cycle parts were like an Aladdin’s cave of goodies, they handled superbly, looked decent and weren’t too exotically priced, the twin cylinder engines, though updated, were based on the 500 Montjuic of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki Burgman 650 (2003-current)

£8,799

638cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The biggest scooter in the two wheeled world is really a mid sized touring motorcycle under its plastic panels, with a punchy 638cc twin cylinder motor makes a claimed 54bhp which is enough to send the 650 Burgervan to about 110mph. Too heavy, too wallowy in the corners and short on luggage capacity for serious touring riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM 640 Adventure (1997-2007)

N/A

625cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

If you’re used to smooth riding, civilized singles like BMW’s F650 range then KTM’s 640 Adventure will come as something of a shock. It’s very vibey, absurdly tall, not that comfortable and pre-2004 models suffer from patchy engine reliability. Having said that in the muddy side of its dual-purpose role it’s untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (1989-2003)

N/A

742cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Big trail bike you really can take off road. The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was one of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best. Power output is much lower than the latest machines but the slimmer seat makes it easier to manage one you leave the Tarmac. It’s not light though and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-7R (1996-2003)

N/A

748cc, 123bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Kawasaki ZX-7R is proof that a motorcycle doesn’t have to be the latest, lightest and most powerful to be popular. The Kawasaki ZX-7R was no match for Suzuki’s GSX-R750 when launched in 1996 and was never updated significantly until it was deleted in 2003. But people love them and bought the Kawasaki ZX-7R because it looked great and they’re ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Hyosung GT650 Comet (2004-current)

£3,599

647cc, 79bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 9

If the budget 600cc class is your thing then the Hyosung GT650 Comet is worth considering, but as it costs about £4000, it's not as cheap as you might expect. On paper the Hyosung GT650 Comet has more power than the Suzuki SV650, but in reality, it’s still a little bit crude and outdate, compared to the later SV650 or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Ducati 750SS (1991-2002)

N/A

748cc, 64bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 13

This is the latest in a long, long line of Ducati 750SS which date back to the early 1970s (think Paul Smart). The most recent version of the Ducati 750SS is not a bad all-round motorcycle, and the fuel injection’s a marked improvement, but it’s hard work and a lot of money for not, perhaps, quite enough reward. One for the fans?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSR600 (2006-2010)

£5,200

599cc, 88bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSR600 is a middleweight inline four in the same mould as Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s Hornet 600. It’s a perfectly acceptable ride, but to be honest the Suzuki GSR600 adds almost nothing to the biking world – especially when Suzuki’s own Bandit 600 (and 650 version) does exactly the same job for less money than the Suzuki GSR600. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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