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Yamaha TRX850 (1996-2000)

N/A

849cc, 79bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 13

A Ducati with Japanese reliability? That was the plan. The Yamaha TRX850 was a match for Ducati’s 900SS of its day but never sold well – the last few machines were ushered out of showrooms for under £4K. Shame. the Yamaha TRX850 is a sporty motorcycle but road biased with tons of character. Can be a bargain on the used ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha TDM850 (1991-2001)

N/A

849cc, 77bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

Fairly revolutionary when launched and certainly years ahead of its time the Yamaha TDM850 was a sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it. As a serious ‘street trailie allrounder it’s pretty effective, too. The later 900 is better, but the Yamaha TDM850 is still decent, good value, different, and largely overlooked.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

Surprisingly cool, versatile and fun retro – indeed one of the first. Triumph Thunderbird 900 took the pleasing and fruity Triumph Trident and refashioned it into an althogether more stylish package. There’s handling, comfort and decent poke inside those cream and chrome walls, while cred is guaranteed by the name on the tank. Nice.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph America (2002-current)

£7,199

790cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Triumph America is a cruiser with real cred – it harks back to the Thunderbird and other Triumphs modified in the States in the 60s and 70s. This means the Triumph America's not regarded as a Harley clone or copy like so many Japanese cruisers. It’s a competent motorcycle too. It’s not particularly rapid or sporty but the Triumph ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

N/A

899cc, 143bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR800 V-Tec (2001-2012)

£9,950

781cc, 107bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

In the late 90s the old VFR800 was a great bike but needed updating. Its replacement, the Honda VFR800 V-Tec, is a beautiful thing and rides, goes and handles superbly too, but the Honda VFR800 V-Tec's variable valve timing caused some controversy - it's clever, but is it really necessary?  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki VN800 Classic (1996-2004)

N/A

805cc, 54bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 10

Strong, reliable and with pretty funky handling for a cruiser, the Kawasaki VN800 makes for a useful bike as well as a perfect pose-machine. Massive, it’s got all the right bits in all the right places giving a good ride with loads of street presence. Not bad value but a bugger to keep clean.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Bonneville (2000-current)

£6,549

790cc, 61bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 9

Triumph aimed the Bonneville like an arrow straight at the heart of Harley’s 883 Sportster. With a heritage to rival the Yank’s and a better riding performance the Triumph Bonneville is unquestionably the better motorcycle. The handling is more than respectable, the brakes markedly better and, of course, it’s British.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha TDM900 (2002-2014)

£8,399

897cc, 74bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

The Yamaha TDM900 is a streetbiking oddball that’s as brilliant beating congestion as it is swinging bends. The parallel twin motor is spunky enough for fun, while the wide bars really let you take charge and hustle. It’s such an easy motorcycle to ride you could do it with your eyes shut.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800S (2006–2010)

£7,450

798cc, 84.5bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 11

A revolutionary addition to the BMW stable, the BMW F800S has filled the yawning chasm between the marque’s 650 motorcycles and 1200 motorcycles with power, style and charisma. The BMW F800S has an excellent engine, superb handling and everyday usability to make it a bike you could learn to ride on yet keep, and enjoy, a very long time after you’ve got your motorcycle licence.   Watch the ...

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

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