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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2009-2011)

£10,825

999cc, 161bhp, 178.9mph, Insurance group 17

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 is the first completely new GSX-R1000 in the big Suzuki’s history, but it feels uncannily similar to the K7/K8 model it replaces. Despite a new short-stoke engine and an all-new chassis, the K9 hasn’t captured the spirit of the grunt-filled, lightweight K5 bike as we’d hoped and still lacks the agility to keep with its rivals ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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KTM RC8R (2009-2010)

£14,995

1195cc, 159.34bhp, 169.55mph, Insurance group 17

Unashamedly a circuit-based blaster that will need a road-rider to be fully aware of what he is about to buy if it’s to be used on the road. From the competition-biased WP suspension to the 170bhp engine and the lightweight Marchesini wheels in between, the KTM RC8R cries out for corners to be taken at speed. Although it doesn’t need to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB1000R (2008-current)

£9,299

998cc, 130bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Forget the dinosaur CB1000 of the early nineties, or the now defunct 900 Hornet, the CB1000R is a whole new bag for Honda, designed with Europe, using a retuned version of the 2007 FireBlade engine and with 2008 FireBlade forks and brakes, a beautiful single-sided swingarm and fabbo styling. In fact the only thing the CB1000R lacks is a bit ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2004-2005)

N/A

998cc, 172bhp, 178mph, Insurance group 17

Cold, calm and supremely effective – the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is like The Terminator. It is an exceptional sports bike that’s blisteringly fast on the road or track. It is bristling with MotoGP technology and compared to the previous motorcycles the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is manic and faster but heavier and arguably less exciting too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (1992-1999)

N/A

918cc, 128bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

The motorcycle that changed how sports motorcycles were built. The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with its competitor motorcycles not by being more powerful (it wasn’t) but by being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg which made it perform superbly. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.  

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR FireBlade (2002-2003)

N/A

954cc, 149bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The last Honda CBR900RR FireBlade by Tadao Baba is the most exciting to ride and lighter than its successors. Later Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades were faster but heavier and less involving. Like any Honda CBR900RR FireBlade this one is incredibly fast, surprisingly reliable, amazingly comfortable and well built too. A stunning motorcycle that looks extra tasty in white.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda SP1/2 (2000-2010)

£9,399

999cc, 133bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The Honda SP1 and Honda SP2 were built to prove a point; that the world's number one bike maker could beat Ducati on the track, using a V-twin. Sadly, that makes the Honda SP1/2 less satisfying, because it has an on/off fuelling set up, too much power for the chassis and a cramped riding position. On the upside, the Honda ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia RSV1000 Mille (1998-2003)

N/A

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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