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Yamaha FZR400 EXUP (1988-1994)

N/A

399cc, 64bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

The Yamaha FZR400 was always over-shadowed by the class-leading Hondas, both the CBR and V4 NC30 and NC35s, and, on track, was a little behind Kawasaki’s ZXR400 for sheer speed. However, the rev-happy Yamaha FZR400RR attracted the hooligans by the bucket load, drawn to the high-revving engine, sharp handling and high corner speed. And, as it was also always considerably ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KR-1S (1990-1992)

N/A

249cc, 53bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 10

Kawasaki’s KR-1S was the quickest mass-produced, 250 two-stroke ever (139mph being recorded in a 1990 speed test), being quicker than both Suzuki’s RGV and even Aprilia’s later (but RGV-powered) RS250. On the downside it came with slightly questionable reliability and handling that could tank slap you into casualty. Dangerous, but hugely addictive.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki GSX-R400R (1990-1996)

N/A

400cc, 60.6bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 10

Suzuki’s GSX-R400 is easily mistakable for its larger brother the 750 with its distinctive slingshot looks and aluminum frame. Not as sought after as the other Japanese 400cc imports, but that keep prices low and means you can grab a bargain. Handling is excellent handling, but the engine requires a thrashing as its all revs, but it’s still rewarding to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda RVF400 (1994-1996)

N/A

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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Suzuki RGV250 (1987-1997)

N/A

249cc, 56.6bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Back in the late 1980s and early 90s the two-stroke RGV250 was the closest thing you could get to a Grand Prix bike on the road. If you were lucky enough to own what we regard as the best RGV250: the ‘N’ model, complete with its twin, piggy-back exhaust cans, upside down forks and a banana swingarm, here was a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

N/A

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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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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Yamaha YZF-R1 (1998-2003)

N/A

998cc, 150bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

The third and final great sports bike of the nineties. The FireBlade set the agenda, the 916 added finesse and the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with and updated Yamaha YZF-R1s are even more potent and easier to use too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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