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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

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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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MZ Skorpion 660 (1994-2003)

N/A

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 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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KTM 625 SMC (2003-2007)

N/A

625cc, 53bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 11

The KTM 625 SMC sits between the no-compromise 660 SMC and the heavier, more road-oriented LC4s in KTM’s supermoto line-up. But it’s not there to make up the numbers. It’s probably the pick of the bunch – combining the niceties of electric start with the harder race-spec SMC edge. New bikes come restricted to 30bhp but it takes about 10 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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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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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-1999)

N/A

599cc, 106bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

N/A

599cc, 109bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

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

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