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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)

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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 CB750 F2 (1992-2001)

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747cc, 73bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CB750 F2 is not the most exciting motorcycle to leave the Honda factory but a competent, comfortable cruising motorcycle nonetheless. Adequate suspension, good riding position, top brakes and a strong engine are plus points but the Honda CB750 F2 is let down by average handling and a lack of real zest. Sadly, rather boring.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GSX750F (1998-2005)

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750cc, 93bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki GSX750F is a competent sports tourer with one of the worst images in biking (its nickname is “the teapot”). Renowned for being ugly and lacking passion, the Suzuki GSX750F is certainly underdog to the likes of the Honda VFR750/800s but owners love them and their “quirky” looks. The Suzuki GSX750F may not be hardcore but it’s reliable.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM 640 LC4 Supermoto (1998-2007)

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625cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The KTM LC4 640 is KTM’s popular supermoto stalwart – a rough, tough bugger that’s a capable commuter, trackday sleeper and friend to the wannabe stunt monkey. It sits on the civilized side of the LC4 family, benefiting from an anti-vibe damper, and an electric start to complement the kicker. Like all supermotos it’s as cheap as chips, geared for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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KTM 625 SMC (2003-2007)

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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)

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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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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

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651cc, 42bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 8

There’s nothing quite so surprising as something utterly unremarkable. And so it is with the Kawasaki KLR650 – it’s comfortable, grunty, quiet and reliable. Forget your fancy-pants BMW R1200GS' - providing you can live with adjusting and lubing a chain the Kawasaki KLR650 is at least as good at overlanding and a mere fraction of the price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZR-7 (1999-2004)

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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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CCM 604 (1998-2002)

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598cc, 52bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

CCM’S 604 came in a wide variety of styles; from supermoto to green laner to roadster. But mechanically each one was essentially the same hardy Rotax motor and quality suspension propelling an oil-in-the-frame chassis. Although they made way for the Suzuki-engined 644 in 2003 the older 604 is still a good, cheap motorcycle providing you look after it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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