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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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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 YZF-R6 (1998-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 14

Hardcore, know the score. The Yamaha YZF-R6 is a sexy uber-capable track bike that works on the road too. It caught the 600 race rep class napping and nothing came close until Suzuki launched its 2001 GSX-R600 – that’s a long time to rule the 600 roost and shows just how good the original Yamaha YZF-R6 was.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 3.5
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2001-2003)

N/A

599cc, 101bhp, 158mph, Insurance group 14

What a makeover! And just in time… As other sports 600s were creeping ahead, Suzuki looked as if it would be left for dead. And then they came up with this Suzuki GSX-R600. Slimmed down, firmed up and with power and torque figures to raise front wheels as well as eyebrows, the “new” Suzuki GSX-R600 was an absolute storm.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (1996-2000)

N/A

599cc, 92bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

A raw, involving, lunatic on wheels. The more throttle-happy you are with it, the more the Suzuki GSX-R600 will thrill. Virtually dead low down, wake it up at higher revs and you’ll be clinging on for dear life. Not as finely honed as today’s Suzuki GSX-R600 but, for some, that just adds to the manic appeal. Ridiculous, dangerous fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ Baghira (2001-2007)

N/A

659cc, 50bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Baghira is a great bike for taking you to work or throwing you around mountainsides at weekends, the Baghira’s a torquey little beast with brilliant, light handling. Cornering’s hilarious. In town, that towering seat comes in handy. Quirky looks and a good price should make it real competition against its rivals

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Laverda 750 S (1997-2002)

N/A

748cc, 85bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

For a brief, mostly shining few years in the mid-to-late 1990s, legendary Italian marque Laverda (they of the 1970s Jota etc) was back. Trouble was, although the machines’ cycle parts were like an Aladdin’s cave of goodies, they handled superbly, looked decent and weren’t too exotically priced, the twin cylinder engines, though updated, were based on the 500 Montjuic of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Husqvarna SM570R (2001-2004)

N/A

576cc, 41bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 11

Although the Husqvarna SM570R's comes with lights and a licence plate it’s nothing short of a full-blooded race bike. Perfect for blasting through town on the odd commute of B-road blast the SM570R is most at home on the track, hammering around the outside of sportsbikes on the kind of twisty tarmac that let’s you really exploit the bike’s light ...

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

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