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Yamaha Fazer8 (2010-current)

£7,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s Fazer range of bikes used to be all about hard-working, do it all, value for money bikes. One look at the today’s price for the new Fazer8 says otherwise when comparing it to the competition – and the fact there is the slightly bigger capacity but vastly superior FZ1 in Yamaha’s line up. But what you have to remember ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Victory Hammer 8-Ball (2010-current)

£11,495

1731cc, 92bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

The Victory Hammer 8-Ball is basically a lower-seat, cheaper specification version of the Hammer muscle bike. It still has the same gutsy motor, but instead of twin front brake discs it has a single caliper and rotor, plain black paint instead of the more upmarket finish usually seen and the suspension is lowered front and rear to drop the seat ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha FZ8 (2010-current)

£6,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s original FZS600 Fazer and later models always represented value for money workhorses – the sort of bike you could commute and have fun on anytime, anywhere. But now the XJ6 and Diversion fills the cheap and cheerful slot left by the death of the FZ6 S2 and FZ6 Fazer. The replacement machine is the new FZ8 (and half-faired FZ8 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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 3.5
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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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Honda CB900F Hornet (2001-2007)

£5,900

919cc, 110bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

There are some motorcycles which look good on paper, but fail to fire your adrenaline on the road somehow and theHonda CB900F Hornet is one of them. Maybe it's the mushy non-adjustable front suspension, the blandola looks or perhaps the slightly iffy build quality, but the Honda CB900F Hornet doesn't quite hit the spot. Fireblade powered hooligan? More like fireplace and Val Doonican... - ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 87mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Honda XL1000 Varadero (2001-2010)

£8,500

996cc, 93bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

In theory: the Honda XL1000V Varadero is a great idea; take the funky Firestorm motor and put it inside an adventure touring chassis. But the result didn’t live up to that and the Honda XL1000V Varadero hasn’t matched the success of the BMW R1150GS. Whileit has bags of comfort, luggage capacity and grunt, its thirsty engine, top heavy handling and ...

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

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