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Kawasaki Z1000SX (2014-current)

£9,199

1043cc, 140bhp, 165mph, Insurance group

The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX is a clever, considered and very worthwhile update of an already excellent machine. The Z1000SX was already something of a connossieurs’ choice: fast, effective, decently equipped, involving, good value and yet understated and unshowy too. Kawasaki hasn’t lost any of that. It hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bath water. Instead it has corrected or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z800 (2013-current)

£7,499

806cc, 111bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer (2012-current)

£12,399

1237cc, 127bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 17

The surprise with the Crosstourer is two-fold: first that the 1200 V4 powertrain works so well in an adventure bike package (it already seems so familiar and ‘right’ to me it seems like it’s been around for years) and second that it genuinely brings a new and tempting dimension – namely V4 performance and sophisticated automatic transmission – to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Versys 1000 (2012-current)

£9,499

1043cc, 116bhp, 140mph, Insurance group

Its odd looks will always raise questions, but the engine won’t, it’s a peach. There’s loads of low down, a nice spread of torque and the dollop of top end power should see it as the quickest bike in this category. It’s also extremely comfortable, will eat mile after mile all day long and handles reasonably well (up to a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-current)

£9,499

782cc, 101bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

The Crossrunner has already proved controversial for being passed off as a new bike when, effectively, it’s little more than a re-worked, re-styled nine-year-old VFR800 with some ‘parts bin’ equipment. But there’s no denying that, as a concept, as a two-wheeled ‘cross-over’ machine, the Crossrunner simply works. It’s one of the best, friendliest and truly versatile bikes around – anywhere. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Piaggio X7 Evo 300 (2010-current)

£3,599

278cc, 22bhp, 85mph, Insurance group

The versatile Piaggio X7 300 Evo is a bit of a sneaky bargain – it’s powered by the same brilliant 278cc motor as the Vespa GTS 300 (since the Piaggio Group owns Vespa) but it's £300 cheaper. Not everyone will be willing to sacrifice the Vespa style and logo, but if you’re on a budget it’s a cheaper way to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Triumph Tiger 800 XC (2010-current)

£8,699

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The new 800 XC is very much the bigger, burlier brother of Triumph’s two new Tigers. From the moment you swing your leg on board it’s clearly a taller, seemingly more substantial machine. The combination of 21-inch wire front wheel (in place of the 800’s cast 19incher), longer travel (by 40mm) 45mm forks (the 800’s are 43mm) and slightly wider ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 800 (2010-current)

£8,099

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s new Tiger 800 is the slightly more basic, more road-orientated and novice-friendly (not to mention cheaper) version of its two, new, three cylinder dual-purpose machines. The other is the Tiger 800XC. It’s a great bike, too –  impressing immediately with excellent ergonomics, and a superbly linear and progressive power delivery.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Z1000SX (2010-2013)

£9,199

1043cc, 138bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Loosely based on Kawasaki’s excellent Z1000, the SX fits snugly in to the gap between said naked bike and the track orientated ZX-10R, making it a grown-up bike for the real world. The near 140bhp inline four motor gives sporting potential, but creature comforts like a new seat, vibration reduction and additional fairing make it a viable long-distance touring bike. For many riders this ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Multistrada 1200 (2010-current)

£12,850

1198cc, 150bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 17

With the world united on the brilliance of Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 S-models, the arrival of the two base model Multistradas have slipped under the radar and into the UK. Whereas the S-models are topped off with electronically adjusted Ohlins suspension and carbon parts on the S-sport, panniers on S-Touring, the base models have manually adjustable Marzocchi forks and Sachs rear ...

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

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