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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

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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Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated.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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Yamaha XJ900S Diversion (1994-2004)

N/A

892cc, 90bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 12

Introduced two years after its little 600cc brother, the bigger Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is a real, no-nonsense all-rounder. Ok, so it lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness but who cares? For bikers on a budget who ride in the real world, the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is hard to beat. Has a long standing and respectable heritage, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Sachs Roadster 800 (2000-2004)

N/A

805cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Sachs boasts gorgeous design with excellent build quality and ought to be better than it is. It seems a bit busy, trying to be part roadster, part sportsbike, part cruiser and the result is a slightly disappointing, split-personality that doesn’t really deliver on any level. You can have fun and it’ll make you smile… But it’s unlikely to ever ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MZ Skorpion 660 (1994-2003)

N/A

660cc, 48bhp, 116mph, Insurance group 9

The MZ Skorpion was stylishly designed (by acclaimed Brits Seymour-Powell) single using a Yamaha engine which proved a refreshingly able antidote to Japanese fours in the mid-to-late 90s. Light, lithe, affordable, generally reliable and reassuringly practical.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha TDM850 (1991-2001)

N/A

849cc, 77bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

Fairly revolutionary when launched and certainly years ahead of its time the Yamaha TDM850 was a sort of Multistrada 12 years before Ducati thought of it. As a serious ‘street trailie allrounder it’s pretty effective, too. The later 900 is better, but the Yamaha TDM850 is still decent, good value, different, and largely overlooked.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB750 F2 (1992-2001)

N/A

747cc, 73bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CB750 F2 is not the most exciting motorcycle to leave the Honda factory but a competent, comfortable cruising motorcycle nonetheless. Adequate suspension, good riding position, top brakes and a strong engine are plus points but the Honda CB750 F2 is let down by average handling and a lack of real zest. Sadly, rather boring.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Neval Dnepr (1974-2000)

N/A

749cc, 45bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 8

The Dnepr/Ural machines are a real antiques roadshow, which can trace their roots back to the 1940s. First seen as a Cossack 650cc, the Neval Dnepr is basic two - or three - wheeled transport. OK, it isn't the most fashionable, fast or reliable bike in the world, but you can get it repaired by a cobbler in Uzbekistan for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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