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Honda VFR400R (NC30) (1988-1994)

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399cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VFR400R, or NC30 as it’s commonly known, is effectively a 400cc version of the iconic VFR750R (RC30) and as such is a cheaper alternative to the RVF400R which succeeded it in 1994. It has excellent handling, still looks good and a usable engine for road and track, although it’s not as quick flat out as some of the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star (1996-2001)

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1294cc, 75bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 14

If you want a cruiser because it attracts attention then the Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star certainly does the job. With a V-Max motor ( detuned of course ) Tonka Toy bodywork and a gnat's bollock of ground clearance, the Yamaha XVZ1300A Royal Star is something truly different from the typical 90s V-twin Harley tribute act.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

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918cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha FZS600 Fazer (1998-2004)

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599cc, 95bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

In many ways the older Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is better than the new model; much more midrange oomph, better weather protection, more upright riding position. But it does look kinda 80s disco from some angles and it's also a bit greedy on fuel. Otherwise, teh Yamaha FZS600 Fazer is a versatile all-rounder with great brakes and a reliable motor.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ SX125 (2002-2005)

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124cc, 14.6bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

It's like Skoda cars; once you get your head around the concept of riding an MZ, you'll probably realise how good they can be. The MZ SX125 has a gutsy little 15bhp motor, a lanky lad sized chassis and decent off-road ability if you fancy it. Bit expensive compared to Far Eastern 125s, but well made.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda ST1100 Pan European (1989-2004)

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1084cc, 100bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 13

For anyone looking for a long-distance tool the Honda ST1100 Pan European is probably one of the safest bets around. The only problem is availability – owners rate them so highly that low-mileage machines are rarer than hen’s teeth. Not that mileage matters as the motor and construction quality is thermospherically high.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR750F (1995-1998)

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749cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

For many, bike journalists included, the best road bike ever built. In 1994 Honda revised an already exceptional motorcycle, giving it super-model looks while still retaining those quintessential VFR qualities of legendary reliability, consistent performance and supreme comfort. The bodywork become less angular and gained Ferrari-esque louvres on its side panels.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW R1150GS Adventure (2002-2005)

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1130cc, 85bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1150GS Adventure is the ultimate round-the-world, do it all motorcycle – as Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman proved in their ‘Long Way Round’ motorcycle adventure. The BMW R1150GS Adventure is a jacked up, kitted out, heavy duty version of the already excellent BMW R1150GS and is the Hummer of the motorcycle world. Awesome in every way…

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW F650 (1993-2007)

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652cc, 50bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 9

Born as the baby to the BMW R1150GS (now 1200cc), the BMW F650GS has a long and credible pedigree, including a string of varients. The BMW F650 has off-road pretentions but, in the real world, is a sturdy and sensible road motorcycle (the BMW F650 Dakar’s the one for the green lanes), it deals with most situations with predictable power and confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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