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Aprilia SL1000 Falco (1999-2005)

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997cc, 118bhp, 156mph, Insurance group 15

The Aprilia SL1000 Falco is a generally well-regarded, half-faired, ‘street sports’ version of RSV which never quite took off in the way it could have. Unique twin beam frame and slightly detuned V-twin made it more streetable, although still very much a sportster. The Aprilia Falco is often overlooked so is a potential used bargain.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2004-2005)

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998cc, 172bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

Cold, calm and supremely effective – the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is like The Terminator. It is an exceptional sports bike that’s blisteringly fast on the road or track. It is bristling with MotoGP technology and compared to the previous motorcycles the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is manic and faster but heavier and arguably less exciting too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer (2000-2005)

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998cc, 143bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer is a streetbike with an R1 engine – it could have been a compact brute of a machine with fearsome manners and ability to waste sports bikes below 80mph. But it’s actually a big softie with plenty of punch. Arguably the ultimate all round bike – a Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer does the lot and does it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Triumph Sprint ST (1998-2004)

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955cc, 118bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

Superb British all rounder Triumph Sprint ST pipped Honda’s VFR800 simply by using a straight bat when the VFR tried all kinds of trick but ultimately unnecessary technology. Plus the Triumph Sprint ST undercuts the VFR on price too. Superb all-round sports tourer with a grunty three cylinder engine that makes it anything but bland.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-12R (2000-2006)

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1199cc, 178bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

For many owners the Kawasaki ZX-12R combines the best aspects of the Honda Blackbird or Hayabusa, but mixes in a dose of good old fashioned lairy fun. The Kawasaki ZX-12R is a beefy, roomy sports-tourer, with an engine that keeps tempting you to open it up. Decent build quality too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 VN1500 Classic (1996-2004)

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1470cc, 69bhp, 118mph, Insurance group 12

A far, far cheaper way of cruising than buying into the Harley dream. Reliable too. The VN1500s are positively vast so, if road presence is important to you, they could be your thing. Lots of gutsy, low down performance with smooth touring speeds at the top end mean relaxed, joyful and easy riding.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 916/996/998 (1994-2005)

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998cc, 123bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Evolution of the legendary Ducati 916 has an even punchier engine and a refined chassis. It’s still an uncompromising motorcycle designed to lap tracks fast which means it’s not such fun on a wet back road but it always makes the rider feel very special - whether they’re out on a blast or just staring at the Ducati 916, 996 or 998s gorgeous ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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