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Honda RVF400 (1994-1996)

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399cc, 59.4bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

Honda’s RVF400 was a pin-up race replica that had sports bike fans dribbling down their paddock jackets in the mid-nineties. The trouble was that Honda never officially brought the NC35 (its ‘factory’ code name) into the UK, which was a crying shame, although many have found their way here as ‘grey’ imports. Replacing the VFR400R (NC30), which Honda did officially ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ Mastiff (1998–2006)

N/A

659cc, 50bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Mastiff is solidly-built and with looks that could launch nuclear missiles, “aggressive” just about sums up the Mastiff. However, it’s a great road bike, easy and huge fun to ride. Perfect pulling power for townies or twisties and tough enough to withstand abuse and the elements. Pleasantly unusual, too. It’s a goodie.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XV250S Virago (1995-2001)

N/A

248cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha XV250S Virago is a trusty, reliable and easy to ride option on which to hone your biking skills. If you fancy a big cruiser later on, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a great place to start: it’s got the looks and appears bigger than a 250, so you won’t feel left out down at the Ace. The Yamaha ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star (2000-2004)

N/A

249cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

When the XV250S Virago was discontinued, the new Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star replaced it. They’re very similar and that’s good news for owners: the long-running Virago branch of the Yamaha family has a great reputation. The little Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star is just as good and, if your heart’s set on a smaller capacity cruiser, you’ll find it hard to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda CBR1000F (1987-1997)

N/A

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 F6C Valkyrie (1996-2005)

N/A

1520cc, 100bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 14

The Honda F6C Valkyrie is one of those traffic-stopping motorcycles that non-bikers are simply fascinated by. Basically a stripped down Honda GL1500 Gold Wing, with lower gearing and six carbs, the Honda F6C Valkyrie is actually reasonably good fun to ride and some might say it's best made motorcycle in America. The Honda Rune 1800 looks like some kind of Dan Dare ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

N/A

918cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda NTV600/650 (1988-1997)

N/A

647cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda NTV650 isn’t just about frugal motoring, a quality build and endless reliability. Because somehow Honda segued in a cheeky charm and a handling package that has to be ridden to be believed. Most Honda NTV650s will be a little tired after a decade or more on the streets but at the right price they’re simply superb motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ SX125 (2002-2005)

N/A

124cc, 14.6bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

It's like Skoda cars; once you get your head around the concept of riding an MZ, you'll probably realise how good they can be. The MZ SX125 has a gutsy little 15bhp motor, a lanky lad sized chassis and decent off-road ability if you fancy it. Bit expensive compared to Far Eastern 125s, but well made.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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