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Aprilia RS4 125 (2011-current)

£4,471

124cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

At £3999 OTR there are cheaper 125s but then none of those rivals have the same heritage or kudos. Despite making only 15bhp it’s great fun to ride - the fact the new four-stroke engine thrives on revs keeps the old RS spirit alive. It handles well, stops well, and most importantly looks the part. What more could a 17-year-old ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Triumph Daytona 675 (2009-current)

£8,399

675cc, 126bhp, 156mph, Insurance group 16

You would be hard pushed to tell the difference from the successful but outgoing Triumph Daytona 675 model and the latest 2009 model. But stand closer and the differences jump out at you i.e. the new angular top fairing, Nissin monoblock calipers, revised suspension and so on. The engine and performance changes you can’t see, but combined with the great ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4v (2008-current)

£10,432

1151cc, 105bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

After just two years in production the Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport gets a new engine. So it’s out with the old two-valver and in with a new 105bhp four-valve head motor, taken from the Stelvio adventure bike and the Griso 8v cruiser (yes, Guzzi call the Griso an ‘8v’ and all the other bikes in their range with the same ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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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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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2000-2003)

N/A

749cc, 140bhp, 171mph, Insurance group 16

For a bike with a lineage as race-bred and focused as the Suzuki GSX-R750, it’s no small irony that the original superbike is something of a compromise. It has all the handling of the 600 and most of the usable power of the 1000. The result is a motorcycle that’s near perfect on road or track. The Suzuki GSX-R750's handling ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2006-2007)

£8,800

998cc, 181bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Slightly more user friendly than the psycho C-model Kawasaki ZX-10R of 2004/05 but the latest Kawasaki ZX-10R is still a pretty extreme, track focused missile. Competitive in the 1000cc sports category, so obscenely fast and fine handling. Kawasaki ZX-10R  headlights not to everyone’s taste visually but it’s a look that gets cars out of the way sharpish.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZXR400 (1995-1998)

N/A

398cc, 62bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 12

‘Extreme’ is a word that’s bandied everywhere these days. But when it comes to motorcycling, they don’t come much more so than Kawasaki’s ZXR400. Small (so popular with the ladeez), light, stumpy, extremely revvy and a fabulous handler, the little ZXR is refined essence of four-cylinder sportster with all the good and bad that implies. It’s not big, it’s not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2004-2005)

N/A

998cc, 181bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

The Kawasaki ZX-10R is sold as the ultimate track bike – the 2004/05 ZX-10R was one of Kawasaki’s first machines after the firm gave itself a kick up the arse in 2002. The 10R’s one wild ride and an absolute weapon in experienced hands. It’s light, makes massive power and handles superbly on the track –a bit of a handful ...

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

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