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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki TL1000S (1997-2001)

N/A

996cc, 125bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki TL1000R (1998-2004)

N/A

996cc, 135bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Suzuki TL1000 range feature one of the truly great V-twin engines, in some of the most unpredictable handling chassis ever devised. The Suzuki TL1000R has an improved rear shock, which doesn't misbehave so much as the TL1000S model's, but both motorcycles get so light at the front end, so very easily with all that V-twin grunt on tap. The ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB250 (1992-2003)

N/A

234cc, 20bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

Never were the words “trusty little workhorse” so apt as to describe Honda’s CB250. The latest incarnation, launched in 1992, represented the swansong for a motorcycle with a history going back to the 1970s. Trusted, reliable and entirely without pretence, the Honda CB250 is a cracking little motorcycle that’s given long service to bikers everywhere.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Triumph Tiger (1993-1998)

N/A

885cc, 84bhp, 119mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Tiger is a versatile tourer and inter-city commuter with the same rear wheel power as a BMW R1150GS. The Triumph Tiger is handy in the bends, rides easily and the wide seat, 24-litre tank and good screen put long-distance commuting and touring well within its capabilities.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit (1996-2006)

N/A

1152cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit is one of biking's true bargains. Grunty Suzuki GSX-R1100 derived engine, decent handling for its day and simple to tune up should you require more lairy A roads fun. The 2000 onwards GSF1200 Bandit's are more touring based, bit softer, but the finish is slightly better.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

N/A

899cc, 143bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

N/A

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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BMW R1150R (2001-2006)

N/A

1130cc, 76bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 12

The BMW R1150R is an honest-to-goodness Boxer twin that will provide years of faithful commuting service while not exactly setting pulses racing. Once you’ve overcome the idiosyncratic indicator switchgear arrangement (one per bar, plus another to cancel), the lumpy motor and poor gearbox, it’s actually quite endearing.

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

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