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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

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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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Suzuki TL1000S (1997-2001)

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996cc, 125bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2001-2002)

N/A

988cc, 160bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 16

This Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the original ‘Gixxer-thou’ – THE top dog sports bike of its day. Later Suzuki GSX-R1000s became smaller and more revvy as well as faster round circuits and arguably easier to handle. The original Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1 and K2 models are still supremely competent sports bikes and pretty decent all round machines too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport (1995-2000)

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1064cc, 90bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

You can surprise a few four cylinder sportbike owners on the 1100 Sport, but you have to really work hard at the job, and the bottom line is that the 1100 Sport is too heavy, too old fashioned for seriously fast motorcycling. Trackdays often end in tears.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 999 (2003-2006)

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998cc, 124bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 17

Although arguably a better bike, the Ducati 999 has never really stepped out of the shadows of the preceding, iconic Ducati 916 series of motorcycles. It lacks the grunty, fluid finesse of its V-twin rival motorcycles, the comfort of Japanese superbikes and has typical Ducati failings; of poor riding position, useless mirrors and quirky electrics. On the right racetrack, the Ducati 999 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RSV1000 Mille (1998-2003)

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998cc, 128bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Why buy a Ducati when you could have an Aprilia RSV1000 Mille? OK, the name may not be as famous but the Mille is a superb superbike with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. Looks are distinctive, reliability is pretty good it’s just unfortunate that dealer back up can be patchy.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Bimota SB6 (1994-1999)

N/A

1074cc, 156bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

For many The SB6/7 is the pinnacle of old school Bimota craft. The recipe back then was simple: take the best and most powerful Japanese engines and wrap them in the most exquisite and fine handling hand-made Italian chassis and bodywork. The SB6/7 had hairy Suzuki GSX-R engines, sublime handling and craftsmanship and characteristically Italian unreliability and fickleness. After this, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Bimota Mantra (1995-2002)

N/A

904cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 16

”What the hell is that?” is likely to be the first comment from anyone who sees you ride into town on a Bimota Mantra. But don't be scared, underneath designer Sacha Lakic's tribute to Buck Rogers sci-fi there's a sensible Ducati-engined cruiser/roadster. A claimed 85bhp from the old 904cc Duke motor, plus classy suspension and chassis detailing make the Bimota ...

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

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