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Triumph Trident 900 (1991-1998)

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885cc, 100bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

Reborn Triumph’s 900 Trident was about as straightforward a bike as Hinckley could produce, and also happened to be one of the best of the early machines. The three-cylinder motor was distinctive, flexible and robust, the handling, though tall, better than the average roadster and it was comfortable, attractive enough and versatile, too. No wonder the Triumph Trident lived longer ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

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599cc, 97.5bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

It was never the fastest or the most powerful in the supersports class of 04 and 05, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 was easily the most fun, especially on the track. Boasting the lightest weight of all its contenders, the most track-focused chassis and the most evil sounding engine note, the Suzuki GSX-R600 is the 600 for dedicated hardcore riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XV125 Virago (1997-2004)

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124cc, 13bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 4

If you're starting out on two wheels then the Yamaha XV125 Virago V-twin is one of the best made little motorbikes you can choose. Reliable motor, solid chassis, nice low seat and wide `bars give a feeling of confident control on the machine. Later XVS125 models have an extra 3bhp in the V-twin motor and the bike is 4kgs lighter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ Skorpion 660 (1994-2003)

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660cc, 48bhp, 116mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Skorpion was stylishly designed (by acclaimed Brits Seymour-Powell) single using a Yamaha engine which proved a refreshingly able antidote to Japanese fours in the mid-to-late 90s. Light, lithe, affordable, generally reliable and reassuringly practical.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda NTV600/650 (1988-1997)

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647cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda NTV650 isn’t just about frugal motoring, a quality build and endless reliability. Because somehow Honda segued in a cheeky charm and a handling package that has to be ridden to be believed. Most Honda NTV650s will be a little tired after a decade or more on the streets but at the right price they’re simply superb motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda RVF750R RC45 (1994-99)

N/A

749cc, 120bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Kawasaki Z750 (2003-2006)

N/A

748cc, 100bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki Z750 simply hammers its rivals of the time in the naked sector with a genuine 100 back wheel bee-aitch-pees, which it marries to insane looks and an addictive personality that echo its bigger, madder Z1000 brother. This could be the ultimate commuter.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati ST2 & ST4 (1996-2003)

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916cc, 105bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The forgotten Ducati family – sports touring motorcycles. While Monsters rule in town and the Superbikes jostle for supremacy on the track, few think of these practical yet exciting machines when Ducati is mentioned. It’s a shame as the Ducati ST2 and Ducati ST4 are excellent machines. The Ducati ST4’s more powerful 916cc engine is the biggest difference between it and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

N/A

498cc, 59bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 8

Long in the tooth but surprisingly fast and easy to live with, the Kawasaki GPZ500S’s a true and reliable all-rounder. The  Kawasaki GPZ500S is a prime candidate for a “first big bike” and one with the performance and handling to tempt you to hold on to it after rivals have lost their (underpowered) appeal.

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

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