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Honda VFR1200F (2010-2011)

£12,325

1237cc, 160bhp, mph, Insurance group

The new VFR is a good bike – but it’s not a great one. And after all the hype and expectation (Honda themselves are pumping it up as “the Ultimate Road Sports Motorcycle” and it’s simply not) that is not good enough.Logically, to justify its almost £12K tag, the new VFR should offer abilities and specification head and shoulders above ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Morini Scrambler (2009-current)

£10,120

1187cc, 115.3bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 17

If the idea of a 1187cc, 115bhp V-twin machine with Scrambler clothing and mild off-road capability provokes the madness within, the Scrambler is the doorway to the nearest nut house. On the road-biased tyres (an optional fit because the standard knobblies aren’t speed rated for 100mph-plus action), the Scrambler is a scream. Wheelies and sports-like riding come with a twist ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX (2009-2011)

£11,774

1151cc, 105bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

The Moto Guzzi Stelvio is well built, sounds great, stylish, easy to handle, comfortable, practical and comes with that historic Moto Guzzi badge on the tank. It’s not as focussed as the BMW R1200GS Adventure on road and nowhere as accomplished off-road, but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either, it’s easy to ride and it comes with an air ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2009-2011)

£10,825

999cc, 161bhp, 178.9mph, Insurance group 17

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 is the first completely new GSX-R1000 in the big Suzuki’s history, but it feels uncannily similar to the K7/K8 model it replaces. Despite a new short-stoke engine and an all-new chassis, the K9 hasn’t captured the spirit of the grunt-filled, lightweight K5 bike as we’d hoped and still lacks the agility to keep with its rivals ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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KTM RC8R (2009-2010)

£14,995

1195cc, 159.34bhp, 169.55mph, Insurance group 17

Unashamedly a circuit-based blaster that will need a road-rider to be fully aware of what he is about to buy if it’s to be used on the road. From the competition-biased WP suspension to the 170bhp engine and the lightweight Marchesini wheels in between, the KTM RC8R cries out for corners to be taken at speed. Although it doesn’t need to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XVS950A Midnight Star (2009-current)

£6,999

942cc, 55bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

You’d never guess this was an entry level custom cruiser, at only £6500 it’s a hell of a lot of bike for the money. It questions whether you need a larger bike, as it does everything a larger customs does and is considerably cheaper. It feels large, like a proper custom bike, comfortable, strong engine, more than enough for two ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

£8,310

1203cc, 103bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 15

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2009-2012)

£11,300

999cc, 178bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

The big news for the 2009 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade isn’t its new, oval-shaped indicators, but its revolutionary electronically-controlled Combined ABS system. This makes the Honda Fireblade the world’s first ever ABS-equipped superbike. This system takes none of the enjoyment out of riding this incredible superbike and it feels just the same to ride as a normal Blade, even on the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CB1000R (2008-current)

£9,299

998cc, 130bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Forget the dinosaur CB1000 of the early nineties, or the now defunct 900 Hornet, the CB1000R is a whole new bag for Honda, designed with Europe, using a retuned version of the 2007 FireBlade engine and with 2008 FireBlade forks and brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and fabbo styling. In fact the only thing the CB1000R lacks is a bit ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Stelvio (2008-2012)

£10,474

1151cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Stelvio is Moto Guzzi’s answer to the hugely-successful BMW R1200GS. It is brand new from the ground-up featuring a new chassis, suspension, wheels, tyres and Moto Guzzi’s latest 8v 1200cc V-twin motor. Next to the BMW it’s not as fast, light or focussed but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either. It offers up more confidence in the corners ...

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

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