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Rieju RS3 125 LC (2011-current)

£3,399

124cc, 15bhp, 81mph, Insurance group

On the surface the Rieju does enough to be considered ahead of bikes from more established brands like Honda – with a fast engine and extras like a quickshifter with the R version - but poor build quality and bad handling can’t be ignored.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MV Agusta F4 RR 312 1078 (2008-2013)

£16,799

1078cc, 190bhp, 190mph, Insurance group 17

This is the ultimate evolution of MV Agusta’s famous F4 model, which has been with us in one form or another since 1999. The in-line-four-cylinder MV Agusta 1078cc F4 1078 RR 312 replaces last year’s 998cc F4 R 312. The ‘312’ bit of the name refers to the top speed achieved by the bike on MV’s test track: 312km/h (193mph). ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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MV Agusta F4 1000 312 (2007-2013)

£14,750

998cc, 183bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

It’s called the ‘312’ because MV claims it’ll do 312km/h, which equates to about 193mph. When we put it to the test it only managed 182 along a two-mile runway, albeit in a headwind. Costing fifteen grand it needs to be head and shoulders better than the GSX-R1000s and R1s of the world, and it isn’t.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (2000-2001)

N/A

929cc, 152bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 17

The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s biggest revamp to date came for 2000 and it wasn’t exactly what fans were expecting. New fuel injection was thirsty and made smooth riding harder. The 17” wheel tamed the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s lively nature. More importantly the raucous, powerful Yamaha YZF-R1 was in the scene and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was on the horizon – both better ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-7R (1996-2003)

N/A

748cc, 123bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Kawasaki ZX-7R is proof that a motorcycle doesn’t have to be the latest, lightest and most powerful to be popular. The Kawasaki ZX-7R was no match for Suzuki’s GSX-R750 when launched in 1996 and was never updated significantly until it was deleted in 2003. But people love them and bought the Kawasaki ZX-7R because it looked great and they’re ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 999 (2003-2006)

N/A

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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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

N/A

599cc, 109bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 748 (1994-2003)

N/A

748cc, 103bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 16

The Ducati 748  is nearly identical to the iconic Ducati 916 but with a smaller engine (and narrower rear wheel). That means sublime handling on smooth surfaces, terrible comfort, high running costs and a feel-good experience most other motorcycle can’t touch. Even well over a decade on few motorcycles match the simple, gorgeous curves of the Ducati 748.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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