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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2011-current)

£8,799

599cc, 125.8bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Suzuki has slashed an incredible 9kg from the 2011 GSX-R600. The engine has more midrange, a close ratio gearbox and for the first time, Showa Big Piston Forks and Brembo monobloc radial front brakes. Aside from a handful of components, the GSX-R600 is completely new. The easy-going nature of the bike is still there, but it’s sharper, more agile and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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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BMW K1300R (2009-current)

£12,125

1293cc, 173bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 17

It may look largely the same as the outgoing model but the latest version of BMW’s naked K1300R has had a host of small changes that add up to a much better bike all-round. With a claimed 173bhp and some seriously clever optional electronically-adjustable suspension, traction control and a long list of options to choose from, BMW has built a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Yamaha YZF-R7 (1999-2000)

N/A

749cc, 106bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The Yamaha YZF-R7 was a limited edition machine top dollar machine only sold to the public so Yamaha could race it in World Superbike. Just 500 were sold for road use (40 in the UK) and they were about £22,000. Also known as the OW02, the Yamaha YZF-R7's race success was limited partly due to the rules favoring twin cylinder ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2007-2008)

£8,999

998cc, 170bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Yamaha’s latest R1 features new-found midrange drive from junking Yamaha’s tried and tested five-valve per cylinder in favour of the traditional four-valve set up, but at the same time installing some of the “bad boy” engine manners the original model was famed for. The chassis also gets updated by way of new frame, swingarm and suspension to make this latest ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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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Triumph TT600 (2000-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

Triumph wowed us all when they beat all the Japanese manufacturers to putting a fuel injected engine in to a 600cc sportsbike. Shame about the glitches. Later Triumph TT600s are better but the handling and brakes have never been in doubt: they’re awe-inspiring. Dodgy looks but a true Brit.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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