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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

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599cc, 97.5bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

It was never the fastest or the most powerful in the supersports class of 04 and 05, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 was easily the most fun, especially on the track. Boasting the lightest weight of all its contenders, the most track-focused chassis and the most evil sounding engine note, the Suzuki GSX-R600 is the 600 for dedicated hardcore riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZZ-R600 (1990-2007)

N/A

599cc, 99bhp, 154mph, Insurance group 13

Overlooked by many but those who’ve ridden them know how good they can be. The Kawasaki ZZ-R600 is an unlikely nutter bike but, on speed alone, it’s up there in the upper echelons of  the “bikes that can get you nicked in second gear” category. Roomy and comfortable, the Kawasaki ZZ-R600 is practical, too, and you can pick them up ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 XF650 Freewind (1997-2002)

N/A

644cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

Cruise comfortably at 80mph, screw the pants off it on a winding road or peer over traffic from the high seat on your way to work: the Suzuki XF650 Freewind is a versatile motorcycle that’s great value and something a little different. The handling’s particularly notable. If you must take the Suzuki XF650 Freewind off road, keep it very simple ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX750F (1998-2005)

N/A

750cc, 93bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki GSX750F is a competent sports tourer with one of the worst images in biking (its nickname is “the teapot”). Renowned for being ugly and lacking passion, the Suzuki GSX750F is certainly underdog to the likes of the Honda VFR750/800s but owners love them and their “quirky” looks. The Suzuki GSX750F may not be hardcore but it’s reliable.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 750SS (1991-2002)

N/A

748cc, 64bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 13

This is the latest in a long, long line of Ducati 750SS which date back to the early 1970s (think Paul Smart). The most recent version of the Ducati 750SS is not a bad all-round motorcycle, and the fuel injection’s a marked improvement, but it’s hard work and a lot of money for not, perhaps, quite enough reward. One for the fans?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR600RR (2003-2006)

N/A

599cc, 115bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Barely related to the long-running all-round Honda CBR600F – the Honda CBR600RR is a track biased missile – and an excellent one. On the road, the ‘F’ version is a better bet for most with a more roomy riding position, stable handling and a less revvy engine but get the Honda CBR600RR on the track and it’s in its element.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR600F (2000-2007)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

When the Honda CBR600F got fuel injection, it also had its personality split. From this point on, two Honda CBR600s would run concurrently: the Honda CBR600F and the Honda CBR600FS (now superseded by the Honda CBR600RR). One a sporty all-rounder, the other, a full-on sportsbike. The Honda CBR600F was, and remains, a brilliant motorcycle with real power and excitement but with the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2003-2004)

N/A

636cc, 112bhp, 162mph, Insurance group 15

The ZX-6R of 2003 marked a dramatic return to form for Kawasaki. At its launch this machine was the hardest, most technologically advanced 600 of all time, boasting radial brakes, upside-down forks and fully digital clocks alongside fuel-injection, a lap timer and all wrapped up in a tiny, tight chassis and plastics. Gorgeous.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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