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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer (2000-2005)

N/A

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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Triumph Trophy 1200 (1991-2004)

N/A

1180cc, 108bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 14

Originally more sportster than tourer, Hinckley Triumph’s first bike slowly evolved into a fully-fledged tourer with a slightly sporty personality. The main change to the Triumph Trophy 1200 came in 1995 with a much-improved fairing and bodywork, as well as colour matched hard luggage fitted as standard. The Triumph Trophy 1200 is a proper, big (and tall) old school tourer ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Kawasaki GPZ1100 (1995-1998)

N/A

1052cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The Kawasaki GPZ1100 is more sporty tourer than sports tourer. Launched with zero cutting edge technology but a honking great engine with a hearty midrange that makes rapid riding easy. On the spec sheet the Kawasaki GPZ1100 is an overweight dinosaur but on the road it’s actually a great machine. Just don’t go chasing the latest GSX-Rs on a twisty road.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva Raptor 1000 (2000-2005)

N/A

996cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

Is the Cagiva Raptor 1000 the wise alternative to a Ducati Monster? Penned by the same designer, the similarities are outstanding. The Suzuki engine is more reliable than any Duke but Cagiva parts back up can be patchy and specialist knowledge scarce. Small, fast and unstable on rough surfaces and stacks of fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW HP2 (2005-2008)

N/A

1170cc, 105bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

It’s hard, objectively, to see the point of the BMW HP2. It’s a 105bhp, 175kg off-roader that costs almost £11,000. Yes, it does have some clever technology like air suspension, but on the flip side its use as a road bike is limited, which is why the factory now offers free 17-inch rims and tyres with each new HP2. It’s ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Buell XB12R Firebolt (2003-2007)

N/A

1203cc, 100bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 16

The Buell XB12R Firebolt is a real Frankenstein’s monster of a motorcycle – but it works. Ancient Harley-Davidson engine mated to a stubby, innovative, high-tech aluminium frame with lots of well thought out touches makes a superb, nimble sports bike. The Buell XB12R may not be the fastest thing in a straight line but awesome in corners and stacks of fun.  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Bimota SB6 (1994-1999)

N/A

1074cc, 156bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

For many The SB6/7 is the pinnacle of old school Bimota craft. The recipe back then was simple: take the best and most powerful Japanese engines and wrap them in the most exquisite and fine handling hand-made Italian chassis and bodywork. The SB6/7 had hairy Suzuki GSX-R engines, sublime handling and craftsmanship and characteristically Italian unreliability and fickleness. After this, ...

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

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