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Honda CBR1000F (1987-1997)

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998cc, 135bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The sports-touring Honda CBR1000F was always in the shadow of more exciting motorcycles, yet had a decade long production run. It had its good points, such as a comfortable riding position, good build quality - except for early camchain tensioner problems - and respectable handling. But the Honda CBR1000F is so bland it makes Katie Melua look like a brazen rock chick.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (2000-2001)

N/A

929cc, 152bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 17

The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s biggest revamp to date came for 2000 and it wasn’t exactly what fans were expecting. New fuel injection was thirsty and made smooth riding harder. The 17” wheel tamed the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s lively nature. More importantly the raucous, powerful Yamaha YZF-R1 was in the scene and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was on the horizon – both better ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX600F (1996-2000)

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599cc, 73bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 11

Consistently slaughtered for not being the fastest / lightest / latest but the Suzuki GSX600F is a superb all-rounder. It doesn’t cost the earth and is fast enough to be exciting too. As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well but when the budget 600 class came of age with bikes like the Fazer and SV650 the Suzuki ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Monster 1000 (2003-2005)

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922cc, 85bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 14

For schmoozing about town there’s really nothing more rewarding than a Ducati Monster 1000 with its easy-going dual spark (DS) motor. With its handsome, air-cooled V-twin hanging out in the breeze and trademark trellis frame the Ducati Monster 1000 is the quintessential roadster motorcycle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

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992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Gran Canyon (1998-2000)

N/A

904cc, 70bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 12

Cagiva’s Gran Canyon is a great motorcycle to ride, with nimble handling, lazy, easy-to-love power and plenty of tuning potential. Sadly, though, it’s let down by crummy component quality and ridiculous servicing costs. It shines around town or on A-roads, but it’s a less assured performer on longer, faster routes.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 749 (2003-2007)

N/A

748cc, 116bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Preferred by some to the Ducati 999, and for good reason. The Ducati 749 is a cheaper motorcycle new or used, plus the smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The Ducati 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision, in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 748 (1994-2003)

N/A

748cc, 103bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 16

The Ducati 748  is nearly identical to the iconic Ducati 916 but with a smaller engine (and narrower rear wheel). That means sublime handling on smooth surfaces, terrible comfort, high running costs and a feel-good experience most other motorcycle can’t touch. Even well over a decade on few motorcycles match the simple, gorgeous curves of the Ducati 748.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1100S (1999-2005)

N/A

1085cc, 98bhp, 141mph, Insurance group 13

The BMW R1100S is now starting to be regarded as something of a classic, especially in Boxer Cup form. Classy (and crucially un-ugly) styling, VFR-esque comfort and versatility plus BMW quality and residuals make for a stonking and attractive all-rounder, if not quite the sports bike BM intended…  

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1100R (1995-2003)

N/A

1085cc, 80bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Often overlooked as a new machine, BMW's R1100R now makes tons of sense as a used bike. It’s the naked version of BMW’s twin cylinder ‘Boxer’ – undoubtedly their best range of motorcycles at the time. The R1100R is an incredibly versatile machine that does anything well except high speed work and track days.

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

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