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Yamaha X-Max 250 (2004-current)

£4,299

250cc, 21bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 7

Yamaha’s YP 250R X-Max is a middleweight twist-and-go ‘maxi-scooter’. It has all the practicalities of a conventional scooter with a bit more oomph for longer journeys and decent-sized wheels and tyres for cornering confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Adventurer (1995-2002)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Adventurer, a cruiser style version of the Thunderbird, adds dollop of crass to already glittery, faux concoction. It’s an OK motorcycle, thanks mostly to the stupendous Triumph triple engine, but the Triumph Adventurer is about as cool and stylish as purple velvet loon pants. Oh, did someone say they’re back in?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Speed Triple (1997-2004)

N/A

955cc, 120bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

The Triumph Speed Triple is one of the second generation of Hinckley Triumphs that, in the late 1990s, really put them back on the map. The Speed Triple is essentially a naked, upright, ‘streetfightered’ Daytona, but it’s a surprising winner that’s not only brimful of bad boy character, but also manages to employ the wonderful and unique 955 triple motor ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki TL1000R (1998-2004)

N/A

996cc, 135bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Suzuki TL1000 range feature one of the truly great V-twin engines, in some of the most unpredictable handling chassis ever devised. The Suzuki TL1000R has an improved rear shock, which doesn't misbehave so much as the TL1000S model's, but both motorcycles get so light at the front end, so very easily with all that V-twin grunt on tap. The ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

N/A

499cc, 57bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 9

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

Surprisingly cool, versatile and fun retro – indeed one of the first. Triumph Thunderbird 900 took the pleasing and fruity Triumph Trident and refashioned it into an althogether more stylish package. There’s handling, comfort and decent poke inside those cream and chrome walls, while cred is guaranteed by the name on the tank. Nice.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki DL650 V-Strom (2004-2010)

£6,125

645cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

As a fun, realistic alternative to a licence-bashing sports middleweight, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom's on to a winner. That engine is sublime, with mountains of really useable power where you want it. To an extent, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is built to a budget, but it’s a real performer. Cost-effective and versatile, the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is well worth a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia MX125 (2003-2006)

£3,199

124cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 8

The Aprilia MX 125 is just amazing fun - once de-restricted of course - with a rev-happy two-stroke engine taken from the race-bred Aprilia RS125 and an excellent Supermoto style chassis. The Aprilia MX125 has real class, looks and feels like a proper grown up motorcycle, but question marks over reliability, high initial price and insurance make this an expensive ...

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

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