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MZ Mastiff (1998–2006)

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659cc, 50bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Mastiff is solidly-built and with looks that could launch nuclear missiles, “aggressive” just about sums up the Mastiff. However, it’s a great road bike, easy and huge fun to ride. Perfect pulling power for townies or twisties and tough enough to withstand abuse and the elements. Pleasantly unusual, too. It’s a goodie.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Speed Triple (1997-2004)

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955cc, 120bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

The Triumph Speed Triple is one of the second generation of Hinckley Triumphs that, in the late 1990s, really put them back on the map. The Speed Triple is essentially a naked, upright, ‘streetfightered’ Daytona, but it’s a surprising winner that’s not only brimful of bad boy character, but also manages to employ the wonderful and unique 955 triple motor ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2001-2002)

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988cc, 160bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 16

This Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the original ‘Gixxer-thou’ – THE top dog sports bike of its day. Later Suzuki GSX-R1000s became smaller and more revvy as well as faster round circuits and arguably easier to handle. The original Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1 and K2 models are still supremely competent sports bikes and pretty decent all round machines too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

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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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MZ Baghira (2001-2007)

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659cc, 50bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Baghira is a great bike for taking you to work or throwing you around mountainsides at weekends, the Baghira’s a torquey little beast with brilliant, light handling. Cornering’s hilarious. In town, that towering seat comes in handy. Quirky looks and a good price should make it real competition against its rivals

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit (1996-2006)

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1152cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit is one of biking's true bargains. Grunty Suzuki GSX-R1100 derived engine, decent handling for its day and simple to tune up should you require more lairy A roads fun. The 2000 onwards GSF1200 Bandit's are more touring based, bit softer, but the finish is slightly better.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CB1100 X-11 (1999-2002)

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1137cc, 134bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Non-retro naked street-rod motorcycle was a brave marketing decision from Honda. Unfortunately the Honda CB1100 X-11's sales were slow and the plug was pulled quickly. Often thought of as an unfaried Honda CBR1100XX Super BlackBird – but it’s not. The Honda CB1100 X-11 is indecently powerful, big, very well put together and slightly iffy in the corners.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 (1990-1997)

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1052cc, 147bhp, 172mph, Insurance group 16

The ZZ-R11 long reigned as speed top dog, but that all changed in 1996 when Honda’s Super Blackbird assumed the title of “Fastest Production Motorcycle”. Intriguingly, however, the ZZ-R continues to impress, aceing the the Blackbird in top gear roll on tests, remaining a great all-rounder and now being better value than ever.

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

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