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Kawasaki Z750R (2011-current)

£7,349

748cc, 105bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

Kawasaki say they’re gunning for the Street Triple R with the new Z750R, but it ultimately lacks excitement and you don’t get the kind of performance you want from a 750 or an ‘R’ tagged bike. It seems the marketing men have gone a bit giddy with that badge. If you’re expecting a smaller version of the excellent new Z1000, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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KTM 690 Duke R (2010-2011)

£8,899

690cc, 71.4bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 11

Even though the bike tested was a pre-production unit – virtually finished bar the paintwork and decals – this bigger capacity 690 Duke is altogether a different machine than non-R model 690 Duke (654cc). The extra 36cc (KTM won’t confirm this figure until after official model launch, mid Nov ’09) of the new R-model with carbonfibre front mudguard and revised ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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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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Suzuki GSR600 (2006-2010)

£5,200

599cc, 88bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSR600 is a middleweight inline four in the same mould as Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s Hornet 600. It’s a perfectly acceptable ride, but to be honest the Suzuki GSR600 adds almost nothing to the biking world – especially when Suzuki’s own Bandit 600 (and 650 version) does exactly the same job for less money than the Suzuki GSR600. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati M750/800 Monster (1996-2005)

N/A

749cc, 62bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

There was the Ducati M900 Monster (became the Ducati M1000 Monster), then the Ducati M600 Monster (became the Ducati M620 Monster) and then the Ducati M750 Monster (which became the Ducati M800 Monster), covering the vacant middle ground in the Ducati Monster family. As with the others, the Ducati M750 Monster or Ducati M800 Monster is a beautiful, painfully cool machine and, like the others, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie (2003-2011)

£5,199

744cc, 48bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 10

The Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie is an ideal buy for newer or returning riders and a doddle to ride. Everything is smooth, competent and especially helpful for nervous hands. The more experienced may find it a bit dull but it makes a superb commuter, whatever your level of skill.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati M600 Monster (1993-2001)

N/A

583cc, 53bhp, 116mph, Insurance group 13

A mini version of the highly-successful Ducati M900 Monster, the 600 has always been a hit with ‘first big bikers’,  women especially. It looks fabulous, sounds even better and offers sprightly, spirited performance. What’s more, the Ducati M600 Monster is an affordable way in to the sought-after Ducati motorcycles brand.   Watch video of this bike and more on MCN | TV ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB600F Hornet (1998-2006)

£5,199

599cc, 97bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 12

The Honda CB600F Hornet uses simple ingredients, thoughtfully combined to create a motorcycle far better than you’d guess. Old Honda CBR600F engine plus a basic frame, cost conscious suspension and upright bars make a versatile motorcycle that’s fun and practical. High level exhaust, USD forks and wide rear tyre add a dash of pzazz. The CB600F Hornet suits shorter bikers well. - Check out hondahornet.co.uk for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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CCM 640 Supermoto (1999-2000)

N/A

636cc, 60bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM 640 comes in three versions – the 640 RS is a roadster with swoopy bodywork, there’s a Dual Sport version with taller suspension and off-road wheels and then there’s the more popular Supermoto, with more traditional, off-road style panels and numberboard-style front fairing. All that separates CCM’s 640 machines from their 604-designated counterparts is a wider cylinder bore. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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