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Yamaha XT600E (1990-2004)

N/A

595cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable and solid as an old school trail bike gets. The Yamaha XT600E was the last of a long line of 4-valve air-cooled Yamaha singles, starting off with the original, much-loved XT500 of the mid-70s. This is a true trailie: decent off-round and straightforward and ujn-fussy on. Don’t expect any frills or motorway ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Tiger 955i (2001-2006)

N/A

955cc, 104bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The second generation Triumph Tiger carried on the theme of the original – a big, bruising road trail motorcycle powered by Hinckley’s distinctive triple. The difference was this was the second generation triple with updated chassis and styling to match. Later versions are well equipped and the Triumph Tiger 955i is a decent road motorcycle taller riders, but it’s also ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 87mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Kawasaki ZRX1200 (2001-2007)

N/A

1164cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a big, beefy, retro styled bike with plenty of grunt, a comfortable riding position and good looks (especially the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R version, which pays homage to the Eddie Lawson replica Z1100R of the '80s). But the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is really heavy, has a notchy gearbox and the handling and braking feels outdated compared to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati M750/800 Monster (1996-2005)

N/A

749cc, 62bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

There was the Ducati M900 Monster (became the Ducati M1000 Monster), then the Ducati M600 Monster (became the Ducati M620 Monster) and then the Ducati M750 Monster (which became the Ducati M800 Monster), covering the vacant middle ground in the Ducati Monster family. As with the others, the Ducati M750 Monster or Ducati M800 Monster is a beautiful, painfully cool machine and, like the others, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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CCM 640 Supermoto (1999-2000)

N/A

636cc, 60bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM 640 comes in three versions – the 640 RS is a roadster with swoopy bodywork, there’s a Dual Sport version with taller suspension and off-road wheels and then there’s the more popular Supermoto, with more traditional, off-road style panels and numberboard-style front fairing. All that separates CCM’s 640 machines from their 604-designated counterparts is a wider cylinder bore. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZR-7 (1999-2004)

N/A

738cc, 75bhp, 126mph, Insurance group 11

With its proven engine, accessible power and easy handling, the Kawasaki ZR-7’s the ideal choice for newbies, couriers, and anyone wanting an easy life. At its budget price, it’ll appeal to the frugal, too. What it lacks in presence and excitement it makes up for in practicality and affordability.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Ducati Monster M620 (2001-2006)

N/A

618cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Ducatis inspire passion and the Ducati M620 Monster offers a way into the dream for those who are just starting out. Like its stablemates, it looks great and sounds gorgeous but complaints about lack of power, basic suspension and its physical size (it’s very small) mean the Ducati M620 Monster is not ideal for everyone. Watch video of this bike and more on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva 750/900 Elefant (1993-1999)

N/A

904cc, 68bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

On face value the Cagiva Elefant was born of an unlikely marriage, but the reality of mating up the (then Cagiva owned) Ducati V-twin with a monster trailie, desert racer type chassis proved something of a masterstroke let down only by poor build quality. The big Elefant (a 750 was also produced) was lively, handled fairly well and was even ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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