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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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Triumph TT600 (2000-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

Triumph wowed us all when they beat all the Japanese manufacturers to putting a fuel injected engine in to a 600cc sportsbike. Shame about the glitches. Later Triumph TT600s are better but the handling and brakes have never been in doubt: they’re awe-inspiring. Dodgy looks but a true Brit.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Husqvarna SM450R (2004-current)

£5,994

449cc, 48bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

2005 was the last year the UK importers officially brought in the Husqvarna SM450R. Which is a shame as it’s an unbelievably good bike, but it was felt that the 510SMR (road bike) and SM450RR (race bike) serviced all our needs between them. Slim, fast, agile and desirable the SM450R is very much the supermoto fantasy made metal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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MV Agusta F41000S (2004-2012)

£14,000

998cc, 155bhp, 184mph, Insurance group 17

The MV Agusta F41000S blends a monster engine, God-given handling and heart-aching beauty to be possibly one of the most desirable two-wheeled creations of all time. Only its high price, discomfort and lack of convincing reliability prevent it taking full marks.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell XB12S Lightning (2003-current)

£7,745

1203cc, 100bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 16

The Buell XB12S Lightning is weird but it works. An antique, character-rich engine in a stubby street-fighter motorcycle chassis dripping technical innovation. Buell motorcycles is a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson set up by employee/ motorcycle racer/visionary Eric Buell. The Buell XB12S Lightning  is a very individual motorcycle and hugely enjoyable to ride. Easy to love if hard to justify.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Bimota SB8R (1999-2000)

N/A

996cc, 133bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

Exotic, ultra-rare and built with a level of attention few manufacturers can match. But unlike the Bimotas of previous decades, the SB8R doesn’t radically out perform Japanese competition of the same time. It does manage to be a little better though and race success backed this up. Lack of dealer back up makes ownership worrying.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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