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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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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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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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Honda RVF750R RC45 (1994-99)

N/A

749cc, 120bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 17

Like the race version, Honda's road-going RC45 doesn't quite hit the spot, but it's still an impressive piece of exquisite engineering. As the ultimate ‘90s Superbike, the Honda RC45 lacks the pure focus of a Yamaha R1, the visceral punch of a Ducati 916 or the exotic edginess of a Bimota SB6R. Also, people might think your Honda RC45 is a Honda RVF400 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2004-2005)

£6,599

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

For a supersports machine that’s as easy to ride to the shops as it is round Donington Park the 2005 Yamaha YZF-R6 comes close to spot-on. Launched as a rearguard action while the factory prepared their dinky, ride-by-wire ’06 hottie, this older version of the Yamaha YZF-R6 still comes with toys like radial brakes and is seriously underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-1999)

N/A

599cc, 106bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 14

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 749 (2003-2007)

N/A

748cc, 116bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Preferred by some to the Ducati 999, and for good reason. The Ducati 749 is a cheaper motorcycle new or used, plus the smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The Ducati 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision, in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that ...

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