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Ducati 1199 Panigale S ABS (2012-current)

£20,250

1198cc, 195bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 17

A mould-breaking motorcycle. Apart from the colour and the noise it makes, the Panigale has nothing in common with Ducati superbikes of old. The chassis is ‘frameless’, there’s a new-generation ‘superquadro’ L-twin engine and it comes with the very latest electronic rider aids, which work. Producing a claimed 195bhp and weighing 188kg, wet, it has a fearsome power-to-weight ratio, but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2012-current)

£12,399

998cc, 157.75bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Not much has changed with the 2012 R1, but the big news is it now has a six-stage traction control system, incorporating anti-wheelie in its two most intrusive levels. It also has a restyled nose, a slotted YZR-M1-style top yoke and a longer, softer rear shock. The changes aren’t enough to compete with the new-generation of hardcore superbikes, like the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition (2010-2012)

£16,474

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

It might look like a common or garden 180bhp V4 Aprilia RSV4 Factory, but this special edition version (only 350 are being made, 50 to come to the UK) has moved road-going superbikes on as much as the BMW S1000RR did. It’s loaded with cutting-edge electronic riding aids, which make you faster and safer. Its new traction and wheelie control ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 1198SP (2010-2011)

£17,995

1198cc, 170bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 17

Replacing the 1198S, Ducati’s new 1198SP features an electronic quickshifter, an Ohlins TTX rear shock, slipper clutch and a lighter, larger 18-litre fuel tank. Overall weight is down 1kg to 168kg dry. Short of spending over £30k for the limited edition homologation-special 1198R Corse, the SP is the ultimate evolution of the 1198. It’s a brutally grunty machine, which needs ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia RSV4 Factory (2009-current)

£16,932

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

At last, we’ve finally been able to ride the RSV4 in the dry after its sopping wet launch in Spring 2009! As we said before, Aprilia built the RSV4 as a race bike first, road bike second. You won’t even scratch the surface of what it’s capable of on the road in terms of power and handling. Video: 415-mile road ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2009-2011)

£13,399

998cc, 179bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

This is like no in-line-four cylinder sportsbike ever produced. It’s simply sensational.  The Yamaha R1’s ultra-short-stroke engine has a cross-plane crankshaft, with its crank pins set at 90° and has irregular firing intervals, which is technology lifted directly from Valentino Rossi’s factory YZR-M1. At a standstill the motor spins up like a two-stroke and on the move the R1’s ability ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade (2009-2012)

£11,300

999cc, 178bhp, 180mph, Insurance group 17

The big news for the 2009 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade isn’t its new, oval-shaped indicators, but its revolutionary electronically-controlled Combined ABS system. This makes the Honda Fireblade the world’s first ever ABS-equipped superbike. This system takes none of the enjoyment out of riding this incredible superbike and it feels just the same to ride as a normal Blade, even on the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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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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BMW HP2 Sport (2008-2012)

£15,250

1170cc, 128bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

The BMW HP2 Sport is expensive and quite rightly so considering this is the finest sporting package BMW have rocked up with. Forget the fact that the HP2 Sport is an old air-cooled Boxer engine that supplies the goods, think more in the way this motorcycle will keep up with Japanese superbikes on the open road because of its handling, ...

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

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