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Honda CB500X (2013-current)

£5,099

471cc, 47bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch. The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBF1000 (2010-current)

£9,499

998cc, 106bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

There wasn’t anything really wrong with the old bike apart from it appeared a little dated and it was more of an ugly duckling rather than a stunning swan. However, Honda have addressed that, given the CBF a new face, new clocks, lightened the frame and improved fuel economy. Great ergonomics, easy to ride, just enough power, relatively lightweight handling, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW R1200GS Adventure (2010-2013)

£11,600

1170cc, 110bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

The world’s biggest monster traillie is a ridiculous concept that on paper at least shouldn’t work at all. It weighs 223kg, the suspension is three inches taller than the standard R1200GS and with a 33-litre tank full of fuel you need to be Britain’s strongest man to lift it off the sidestand. But in reality it’s one of the best ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki RGV250 (1987-1997)

N/A

249cc, 56.6bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Back in the late 1980s and early 90s the two-stroke RGV250 was the closest thing you could get to a Grand Prix bike on the road. If you were lucky enough to own what we regard as the best RGV250: the ‘N’ model, complete with its twin, piggy-back exhaust cans, upside down forks and a banana swingarm, here was a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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KTM RC8R (2009-2010)

£14,995

1195cc, 159.34bhp, 169.55mph, Insurance group 17

Unashamedly a circuit-based blaster that will need a road-rider to be fully aware of what he is about to buy if it’s to be used on the road. From the competition-biased WP suspension to the 170bhp engine and the lightweight Marchesini wheels in between, the KTM RC8R cries out for corners to be taken at speed. Although it doesn’t need to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 (2009-current)

£6,099

600cc, 77bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

This is the naked version of the half-faired Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. Aside from the lack of fairing, it is exactly the same spec, but somehow it has transformed the Yamaha from sensible budget middleweight to exciting mini streetfighter. With its ‘baby Yamaha FZ-1’ looks and sit-up-and-beg riding position this is a very cheap way to get your rocks off. On ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX650F (2007-current)

£6,285

656cc, 86bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

Suzuki’s new budget and novice-friendly GSXF650F all-rounder proves that sometimes, brilliance is found in the most unlikely places. Although on face value merely a ‘Bandit with a fairing’ the GSX650F’s blend of real world performance, practicality, fun factor and value is pretty much unmatched anywhere.   Watch the Suzuki GSX650F take on the Honda CBF600S and the Kawasaki ER-6F Watch ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2007-2008)

£7,190

599cc, 110bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 15

In the Kawasaki ZX-6R, Kawasaki has built a race ready 600 which is road legal, just. Everything about the ZX-6R is track focused, you could enter a standard Kawasaki ZX-6R into a club race and you wouldn’t be far behind the top runners. The more you thrash it the more fun you’ll have. The Kawasaki ZX-6R is easily the most fun ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CBR900RR FireBlade (2002-2003)

N/A

954cc, 149bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The last Honda CBR900RR FireBlade by Tadao Baba is the most exciting to ride and lighter than its successors. Later Honda CBR1000RR Fireblades were faster but heavier and less involving. Like any Honda CBR900RR FireBlade this one is incredibly fast, surprisingly reliable, amazingly comfortable and well built too. A stunning motorcycle that looks extra tasty in white.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2003-2004)

N/A

988cc, 164bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 16

Ultra fast, capable track missile that works far better on the road then you’d imagine. The MK II Suzuki GSX-R1000 (K3-K4) thou is smaller and more compact than the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1-K2 models. It’s easier to flick around race tracks but, bizarrely, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 makes an acceptable one-man sports tourer too.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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