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Ducati 696 Monster (2008-current)

£6,995

696cc, 67.5bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The new 696 Monster is Ducati’s most important bike, this is the bike that brings in the money and the sales, and thankfully it seems Ducati have got it spot on with the all new Monster. Thankfully they’ve not played around with the styling too much, and just improved the old bike as a package, in terms of engine performance ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R6 (2008-current)

£9,299

599cc, 133bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Yamaha’s designers had one problem with superceding its 2006-07 R6, and that was how to improve a motorcycle that was very good in the first place. But improve it they have with clever attention to details borne from its World Supersport racing program. A designer’s touch here and the same effort there, has led to the Yamaha R6 being the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2004-2005)

N/A

599cc, 97.5bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

It was never the fastest or the most powerful in the supersports class of 04 and 05, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 was easily the most fun, especially on the track. Boasting the lightest weight of all its contenders, the most track-focused chassis and the most evil sounding engine note, the Suzuki GSX-R600 is the 600 for dedicated hardcore riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR600RR (2007-2008)

£7,200

599cc, 118bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Honda have hit back hard with the track focused CBR600RR. They want their 600 crown back and after our first initial ride it seems they’ve done it. They’ve rectified the old motorcycle’s weak points, namely lack of midrange and weight. The Honda CBR600RR is now the lightest in the class, and has much more midrange and razor sharp handling.   Watch the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (2004-2005)

N/A

749cc, 146bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

The 2004 and 2005 Suzuki GSX-R750s are almost perfect. The new radial brakes solved the slight stopping issues of the last incarnation, the styling’s on the money and the motor and chassis are better than most of us can ever hope to fully exploit. The only fly in the 10/40W is the K5 GSX-R1000, which is so utterly brilliant there ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda NTV600/650 (1988-1997)

N/A

647cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda NTV650 isn’t just about frugal motoring, a quality build and endless reliability. Because somehow Honda segued in a cheeky charm and a handling package that has to be ridden to be believed. Most Honda NTV650s will be a little tired after a decade or more on the streets but at the right price they’re simply superb motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Triumph Speed Four (2002-2006)

£5,349

599cc, 97bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 12

That engine still isn’t perfect but it ain’t half bad. A bit snatchy around town but, out in the open, it’s a dream. Alongside that handling and those brakes, you’re in for one hell of a ride on board the Speed Four. Incredibly capable and beautifully built, its distinctive looks are ideal for those who don’t want to go with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Daytona 600/650 (2003-2005)

N/A

599cc, 110bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The Triumph Daytona 600/650 is lighter, smoother, faster and infinitely prettier than the TT600. What’s more, Bruce Anstey won the Junior TT on one in 2003 which goes to show what improvements Triumph made to their 600cc sports middleweight contender. The Triumph Daytona 600/650 is a beauty: an involved ride with excellent handling, amazing brakes and it’s good value.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2006-2007)

£7,199

599cc, 111bhp, 163mph, Insurance group 15

Although a great bike and almost certainly the best value of 2006's 600 class by 2007 it had been overtaken by the sublime, new-that-year Honda’s CBR600RR, out-revved and raced by the track-happy new Yamaha’s YZF-R6, lacked the intoxicated triple drive of Triumph’s 675 Daytona and lacked the cutting edge aggression of the new-for-2007 Kawasaki’s ZX-6R. If you can take all that with ...

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

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