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Triumph Daytona 955i (1997-2006)

£7,499

955cc, 147bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 955i is an extremely rapid, sweet handling superbike. Unfortunately it was about four years too late in a fiercely competitive class. The R1, GSX-R1000 and FireBlade are lighter and faster. The Triumph Daytona 955i’s saving grace is its character from its gruff three-cylinder engine, distinctive understated looks and the fact few riders can use anything like all ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster (1995-current)

£6,995

1200cc, 64bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 13

The mid-sized Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster makes a lot of sense. It’s got a bit more presence, punch and space than the smaller 883cc family but without the weight and unwieldy feel of the 1340/1450cc big end motorcycles. It’s classic, air cooled Harley – if you want one you’ll probably not consider anything else. Full name is the Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha FZ1/FZS1000 (2006-current)

£9,199

998cc, 150bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

What you get with the Yamaha FZ1/FZS1000 is the awesome 2002 R1 engine in a more practical but still high-spec chassis. The Japanese firm class the Yamaha Fazer 1000 as a sports motorcycle and they’re right – but it has the ability of a sports tourer and a city motorcycle, too – with more than a splash of musclebike / ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati ST3 (2003-2007)

£7,650

992cc, 102bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

The ignored Ducati family – the sports touring motorcycles – got a big boost with the arrival of the Ducati ST3 model in 2003. Its three valve per cylinder engine was new and unique in the Ducati range – previous sports touring Ducatis made do with other motorcycles' hand me downs. A refreshing, different sports touring motorcycle with decent reliability so far.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Sport 1000 (2005-2008)

£7,495

992cc, 92bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 15

The Ducati Sport 1000 series are mouthwateringly-styled tributes to 70s motorcycles greats boasting modern thrills and mechanicals. Great as a look-at-me motorcycle and the detailing is exquisite but it’s neither a true sportsbike nor year-round transport. For rarity, go for the limited edition Ducati Paul Smart 1000, for practicality the slightly dull, twin seat Ducati GT1000, but the best motorcycle on balance (and mst wrist-breakingly ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Navigator (2000-current)

£6,999

996cc, 95bhp, 132mph, Insurance group 13

The Cagiva Navigator isn’t a giant trailie in the mould of BMW’s chuffing GS. Au contraire - this is a sportsbike with wide bars, a super supermoto if you like. The comfort and tank range make the Navigator a great cross-country motorcycle and the ex-superbike motor takes the performance way beyond the reach of its competitors. Only the firm’s fragile ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Multistrada 1000/1100 DS (2004-2009)

£7,750

992cc, 85bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 15

The Ducati Multistrada 1000DS is a bold attempt at tourer/town/sportster hybrid motorcycle and mostly hits the mark. Whacky styling masks a truly versatile motorcycle mixed with Italian style. Low screen, smallish tank and limited performance from Ducati Multistrada 1000DS' air-cooled two-valve engine are only slight niggles. That and its ugly face.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1200ST (2005-2007)

£9,095

1170cc, 110bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

The R1200ST is BMW’s Boxer-twin sports-tourer, now that the old R1100S has been supplanted by the newer, more sports-oriented R1200S. The problem is that the ST is on well-contested ground here – lining up against machines like Triumph’s excellent Sprint ST and Honda’s superb VFR800 VTEC, both of which are faster, sharper and cheaper.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW R1200S (2006-2007)

£8,955

1170cc, 122bhp, 148mph, Insurance group 13

Somehow you already know if you want the BMW R1200S. The looks divide opinions, but only half as much as the Boxer engine and the Telelever/Paralever suspension do. BMW has strained the limits of these design parameters – and it only just comes off. As an oddball track motorcycle it works, but as an accomplished all-rounder it falls short of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJR1300 (1998-current)

£8,099

1251cc, 105bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

Ah, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a proper man’s motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and a colossal motor. And it’s especially lovely in the SP’s Yamaha speed block colours complete with Ohlins shocks, just the sort of thing that sunny Sundays were made for. A motorcycle to make you feel good.   Watch the video to see ...

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

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