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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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Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-2014)

£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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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
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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 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBF1000 (2010-current)

£9,499

998cc, 106bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

There wasn’t anything really wrong with the old bike apart from it appeared a little dated and it was more of an ugly duckling rather than a stunning swan. However, Honda have addressed that, given the CBF a new face, new clocks, lightened the frame and improved fuel economy. Great ergonomics, easy to ride, just enough power, relatively lightweight handling, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Italjet Dragster (1998-2003)

N/A

49cc, 14.5bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 2

Italian manufacture Italjet are best known for their futuristic-looking Dragster scooter, which came into the UK from 1998-2003. With funky styling, a Ducati-type steel trellis frame and hub centre steering the Dragster has developed a cult following, and spawned dedicated websites like www.italjetdragster.com. There are still companies providing spares, accessories and tuning parts, like www.italjet.co.uk. You can still see modified ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki RGV250 (1987-1997)

N/A

249cc, 56.6bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Back in the late 1980s and early 90s the two-stroke RGV250 was the closest thing you could get to a Grand Prix bike on the road. If you were lucky enough to own what we regard as the best RGV250: the ‘N’ model, complete with its twin, piggy-back exhaust cans, upside down forks and a banana swingarm, here was a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW S1000RR (2009-2011)

£13,735

999cc, 190bhp, 184mph, Insurance group 17

BMW’s S1000RR is the German company’s first venture into modern superbike territory and what a serious effort it is. Although it shares similar technology to the competition (GSX-R1000, Fireblade, ZX-10R etc) of dohc, 16-valves, stacked gearbox and so on, the engine delivers a mighty class leading claimed 190bhp at the back wheel. Add a good gearbox, impressive fuel injection and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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