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Honda CBF600 (2008-2013)

£5,855

599cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 11

Sporting a new, detuned version of the current CBR600RR engine and a new cast aluminium chassis, bodywork and suspension (now adjustable for preload) the updated Honda CBF600 is practical, easy to ride, fairly swift, comfortable and thanks to ABS brakes as standard, safe too. The Honda CBF600 is aimed at new and ‘born again’ riders and it does everything it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XTZ660 (1991-1999)

N/A

659cc, 47bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XTZ660 (or Teneré) comes from a time when Continental cool meant enormous trail-style bikes and a far-away look in the eyes. Actually that might just have been piles, since the Yamaha XTZ660 boasts one of the most uncomfortable seats ever created outside of the Inquisitions of 15th-Century Spain. The exhaust and spokes rot and the electrics are poor. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GSX-R750 (1996-1999)

N/A

749cc, 130bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 16

In 1996 Suzuki unveiled their new Suzuki GSX-R750. The engineers had ditched the cradle frame, which had been a feature of the bike since it invented modern superbiking in 1985. They replaced it with a chassis developed from their RGV Grand Prix machine, crammed in a fallen angel of a motor and then sculpted the shape in a wind tunnel. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Vertemati Supermoto (2002-2004)

N/A

570cc, 57bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

Vertemati is not alone amongst its fellow Italian factories in bobbing helplessly between solvency and insolvency. And on that basis alone it’s a tough call to recommend them. However, the range of bikes they did make in-between crises are powerful, stiff, hard bastards that need an expert’s hand to get anything like the best from them. The Vertemati Supermoto is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda VT600 Shadow (1992-2002)

N/A

583cc, 54bhp, 111mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda VT600 Shadow is pretty much the antithesis of the original chopper credo. If the first true chops were all about bad boy, bristly individuality, the 600 Shadow is about as soft, unthreatening and unoriginal as it gets. It’s bland, novice-friendly and safe and predictable, but you’;ve really got to ask yourself if you want that sort of thing. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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KTM 640 Adventure (1997-2007)

N/A

625cc, 54bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

If you’re used to smooth riding, civilized singles like BMW’s F650 range then KTM’s 640 Adventure will come as something of a shock. It’s very vibey, absurdly tall, not that comfortable and pre-2004 models suffer from patchy engine reliability. Having said that in the muddy side of its dual-purpose role it’s untouchable for handling, presence and rugged toughness.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (1989-2003)

N/A

742cc, 61bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Big trail bike you really can take off road. The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was one of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best. Power output is much lower than the latest machines but the slimmer seat makes it easier to manage one you leave the Tarmac. It’s not light though and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki W650 (1999-2006)

N/A

675cc, 49bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

Relive the 60s with the delightful Kawasaki W650. Styling is spot on – the exhausts are closer to a 60s Bonneville than Triumph’s own latter day replica. Modern handling, engine and reliability means all the joy of a classic with none of the grief. Relaxed performance unlike the Boneneville of the 1960s.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 (1991-2012)

£6,674

744cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 is a modest cruiser which is a surprisingly competent all-round bike as well as an effective posing tool. It’s one of Guzzi’s older generation of bikes and has had very few updates since 1989 but it doesn’t matter. It’s excellent round town, works over distance with a  screen fitted and has a charm the Japanese ...

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

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