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Yamaha XTZ660 (1991-1999)

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659cc, 47bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XTZ660 (or Teneré) comes from a time when Continental cool meant enormous trail-style bikes and a far-away look in the eyes. Actually that might just have been piles, since the Yamaha XTZ660 boasts one of the most uncomfortable seats ever created outside of the Inquisitions of 15th-Century Spain. The exhaust and spokes rot and the electrics are poor. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha TW125 (1999-2004)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 55mph, Insurance group 6

If you have a large camper van and need a bike to ride across beaches then the Yamaha TW125 is perfect, but in every way it is entirely impractical transport. A sluggish SR125 motor, circus clown riding position and questionable build quality make the Yamaha TW125 a bit too quirky for most people.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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KTM 640 Adventure (1997-2007)

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625cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

If you’re used to smooth riding, civilized singles like BMW’s F650 range then KTM’s 640 Adventure will come as something of a shock. It’s very vibey, absurdly tall, not that comfortable and pre-2004 models suffer from patchy engine reliability. Having said that in the muddy side of its dual-purpose role it’s untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (1989-2003)

N/A

742cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Big trail bike you really can take off road. The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was one of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best. Power output is much lower than the latest machines but the slimmer seat makes it easier to manage one you leave the Tarmac. It’s not light though and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Husaberg FS 400E (2001-2003)

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399cc, 39bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 11

Until recently the Husaberg FS400 was one of the few over-the-counter supermotos available. It’s a very raw experience, with a terrific induction noise from the airbox, which nestles between the frame tubes right under the seat a barking exhaust note and furious acceleration. However, it’s not the most reliable bike.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki W650 (1999-2006)

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675cc, 49bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

Relive the 60s with the delightful Kawasaki W650. Styling is spot on – the exhausts are closer to a 60s Bonneville than Triumph’s own latter day replica. Modern handling, engine and reliability means all the joy of a classic with none of the grief. Relaxed performance unlike the Boneneville of the 1960s.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ 1000S (2004-2007)

N/A

999cc, 117bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 15

MZ is trying something different with its parallel twin 1000S and Streetfighter, but it lacks the X factor and doesn't have the kind of dealer/distributor back-up you need when buying a slightly oddball motorbike. Decent to ride, and the Streetfighter version looks more appealing than the 80s style S model, but hasn't really got anything novel or unique about it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 620 Sport (2002-2003)

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618cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Cosmetic and engine update from the long running SS family of sports-retro Ducatis. The entry level Ducati 620 Sport was never a big seller and wasn’t on offer for long. It’s not that fast or comfy but it handles well. Afflicted by the traditional Italian glitches but a cheap way into Ducati motorcycle ownership.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Cagiva River 600/500 (1995-2002)

N/A

497cc, 34bhp, 104mph, Insurance group 8

The Cagiva River is one of the great oddballs of Italian motorcycling of the last decade. Forget traditional performance, passion and style, the city commuter River is the opposite: workmanlike, pedestrian and dull. Honest and different, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 152mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s F-series ZX-6R was, in its day, a serious contender to the middleweight crown of Honda’s CBR600. The Kwacker can still raise a smile, but measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude. If you’re buying on a budget then it’s worth a look, but Suzuki’s GSX-R600 will run rings around it at a trackday, while the CBR ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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