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Ducati 1199 Panigale R (2013-current)

£26,995

1198cc, 195bhp, 180mph, Insurance group

This is a bike for two types of people: the well-healed Ducati collector, or a race team owner who will strip it down and compete in Superstock 1000 championships. Acceleration is slightly more urgent out of the corners, but essentially the Panigale R feels and handles the same as the base model, S or Tricolore. It is, of course, a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2012-current)

£10,999

999cc, 182bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

The now old GSX-R was an exceptional bike, winning AMA and world endurance titles and narrowly missing out on a BSB title. Suzuki have simply improved the weak points, namely better brakes, more midrange, lighter handling with a few cosmetic tweaks, which in the end produces an exceptional road bike with real world manners. It may lack sophisticated traction control ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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MV Agusta F4 1000 (2010-2013)

£14,250

998cc, 186bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

MV’s new-generation F4 is still an unashamed racing bike with lights, but the Italian firm have smoothed out all the old rough edges and created a thoroughly usable superbike for the road. It’s 10kg lighter too. It’s still not as soft or cuddly as a Japanese 1000, but it has considerably sharper teeth and is a thousand times more exclusive ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Ducati 1198S (2008-2011)

£17,250

1198cc, 168bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Nobody else has a 168bhp V-twin on its books, complete with traction control, Ohlins suspension, data-recording etc, and if they did it’d probably cost more than the £14,750 Ducati 1198S. And there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have the same devastating performance all wrapped up in a chassis that has more character than Lord Of the Rings’ Gandalf. This is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2008-2010)

£8,950

998cc, 185.4bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

The new Kawasaki ZX-10R scores an easy five out of five; it surely must be the fastest production 1000cc bike of the current crop. But this ZX-10R is not all about Kawasaki’s new blistering engine and head-banging attitude, it’s controllable and handles much better than the previous ZX-10R and despite the blistering pace is actually easier to ride. Not for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2001-2003)

N/A

599cc, 101bhp, 158mph, Insurance group 14

What a makeover! And just in time… As other sports 600s were creeping ahead, Suzuki looked as if it would be left for dead. And then they came up with this Suzuki GSX-R600. Slimmed down, firmed up and with power and torque figures to raise front wheels as well as eyebrows, the “new” Suzuki GSX-R600 was an absolute storm.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2006-2007)

N/A

998cc, 170bhp, 174mph, Insurance group 17

Every once in a while a sportster comes along that is just right. The 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is one of those machines. It delivers polished, glitch-free 180mph potency with almost no effort and yet blends this not just with the expected Honda build quality and class, but also a fat, hum-dinger, wheelie-pulling midrange that makes it more sheer fun ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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