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Kawasaki Z750R (2011-current)

£7,349

748cc, 105bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

Kawasaki say they’re gunning for the Street Triple R with the new Z750R, but it ultimately lacks excitement and you don’t get the kind of performance you want from a 750 or an ‘R’ tagged bike. It seems the marketing men have gone a bit giddy with that badge. If you’re expecting a smaller version of the excellent new Z1000, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha BW’s 125 (2010-current)

£2,799

125cc, 8.9bhp, 65mph, Insurance group

The BW’s 125 is an off-road inspired scoot that goes nicely and looks even nicer - rugged styling marks it out as a small scoot aimed at blokes. At £2,499 it’s not the cheapest 125 scooter on the market, but nice detailing and decent performance help to justify the price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Ducati Monster 1100S (2009-2013)

£10,195

1078cc, 95bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Like the Ducati Monster 696 that arrived earlier in 2008, the bigger capacity Monster range was, after 15 years, in desperate need of an update. And the result is the best air-cooled Monster ever. Only subtle styling tweaks have been applied, but serious thought and attention has been lumped on the engine and chassis components. If it’s a pleasurable, no-nonsense, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha Aerox R (1998-current)

£2,199

49cc, 2.6bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 2

Yamaha’s funky race replica two-stroke scooter is nippy, agile and lots of fun, although the single seat limits pillion options. It’s one of the best looking scooters around and can be seen tearing up city streets as well as being paddock transport for Yamaha-sponsored MotoGP/WSB and BSB stars. Upside forks and disc brakes means the little Aerox R can be ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 5
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Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod Muscle (2009-current)

£13,845

1250cc, 109.2bhp, 145.1mph, Insurance group 16

Harley’s cruiser V-Rod has been about since 2001, and the new Muscle is… is just another styling exercise to bolster what is arguably a tired range. The Muscle is essentially a reworked V-Rod with design touches (muscular, flowing lines) to front it up as a serious boulevard traffic light blaster. Except it isn’t that muscular – 12.25sec standing quarters anyone?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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KTM 990 Adventure (2009-2012)

£9,545

999cc, 106bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 13

The KTM 990 Adventure is already a brilliant adventure trail bike, but the 2009 adds a little bit more refinement and power. A new crank has smoothed vibes, and touch extra power is not instantly noticeable but welcome all the same.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Monster 1100 (2009-2013)

£8,675

1078cc, 95bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Like the Ducati Monster 696 that arrived earlier in 2008, the bigger capacity Monster range was, after 15 years, in desperate need of an update. And the result is the best air-cooled Monster ever. Only subtle styling tweaks have been applied, but serious thought and attention has been lumped on the engine and chassis components. If it’s a pleasurable, no-nonsense, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2007-2008)

£8,999

998cc, 170bhp, 182mph, Insurance group 17

Yamaha’s latest R1 features new-found midrange drive from junking Yamaha’s tried and tested five-valve per cylinder in favour of the traditional four-valve set up, but at the same time installing some of the “bad boy” engine manners the original model was famed for. The chassis also gets updated by way of new frame, swingarm and suspension to make this latest ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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