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Ducati Monster 695 (2006-2008)

£4,995

695cc, 73bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

The Ducati Monster 695 is the latest version of junior Monster and is revitalised with more capacity, better equipment and brakes and all-new paintjobs. Cheeky handling, verve and novice-friendliness are unchanged, however. The Ducati Monster 695 is the cheapest way into Ducati style.   Watch the Ducati Monster 695 take on the Triumph Street Triple, Yamaha's FZ6 Fazer, the Honda Hornet, Suzuki's GSR600 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 (1991-2012)

£6,674

744cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 is a modest cruiser which is a surprisingly competent all-round bike as well as an effective posing tool. It’s one of Guzzi’s older generation of bikes and has had very few updates since 1989 but it doesn’t matter. It’s excellent round town, works over distance with a  screen fitted and has a charm the Japanese ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSF650 Bandit (2005-2006)

£4,299

656cc, 77bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 11

A well-mannered middleweight that’s simple to use, cheap to buy and cheap to run. The Suzuki GSF650 Bandit doesn’t particularly excel in any one department, but for newer riders it’s worth considering with a low seat height and forgiving manners. The GSF650 Bandit's capacity advantage over its older GSF600 Bandit sibling doesn’t actually translate into significantly more go.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati M750/800 Monster (1996-2005)

N/A

749cc, 62bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

There was the Ducati M900 Monster (became the Ducati M1000 Monster), then the Ducati M600 Monster (became the Ducati M620 Monster) and then the Ducati M750 Monster (which became the Ducati M800 Monster), covering the vacant middle ground in the Ducati Monster family. As with the others, the Ducati M750 Monster or Ducati M800 Monster is a beautiful, painfully cool machine and, like the others, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 620 Sport (2002-2003)

N/A

618cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Cosmetic and engine update from the long running SS family of sports-retro Ducatis. The entry level Ducati 620 Sport was never a big seller and wasn’t on offer for long. It’s not that fast or comfy but it handles well. Afflicted by the traditional Italian glitches but a cheap way into Ducati motorcycle ownership.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda CBR600RR (2003-2006)

N/A

599cc, 115bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Barely related to the long-running all-round Honda CBR600F – the Honda CBR600RR is a track biased missile – and an excellent one. On the road, the ‘F’ version is a better bet for most with a more roomy riding position, stable handling and a less revvy engine but get the Honda CBR600RR on the track and it’s in its element.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

N/A

651cc, 42bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 8

There’s nothing quite so surprising as something utterly unremarkable. And so it is with the Kawasaki KLR650 – it’s comfortable, grunty, quiet and reliable. Forget your fancy-pants BMW R1200GS' - providing you can live with adjusting and lubing a chain the Kawasaki KLR650 is at least as good at overlanding and a mere fraction of the price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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CCM R30 (2001-current)

£5,028

644cc, 44bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM R30 comes in two versions with two different wheel options. First there’s the older motorcycles with the Austrian made Rotax motor made until mid-2002, then there’s the Suzuki XF650 Freewind-powered version made from then on. You can chose between cast or spoked wheels – the spoked ones arguably look better and work better when using the motorcycle off-road, but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star (1997-current)

£5,499

649cc, 40bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 8

The Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star is a fun and hassle-free way to enjoy your cruising. It’s got a low, comfy seat, big bike looks, ease of use and nice styling on its side. Add that to a low purchase price and the Yamaha XVS650 Drag Star makes a good case for itself as an affordable alternative to Harley’s 883 Sportster ...

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

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