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Yamaha YZF-R1 (2012-current)

£12,399

998cc, 157.75bhp, 185mph, Insurance group 17

Not much has changed with the 2012 R1, but the big news is it now has a six-stage traction control system, incorporating anti-wheelie in its two most intrusive levels. It also has a restyled nose, a slotted YZR-M1-style top yoke and a longer, softer rear shock. The changes aren’t enough to compete with the new-generation of hardcore superbikes, like the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia SR50 (2004-2171)

£2,171

49cc, bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 2

This is the basic Aprilia SR 50, called the SR 50 Street. There’s also a higher-spec SR 50 R and SR 50 R Factory. With lots of styling cues taken from Aprilia’s fire-breathing superbikes, this 50cc scooter gives Italian style to restricted licence holders. Although it only does 30mph, there are lots of performance parts available to improve speed, braking ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F800R (2009-current)

£7,595

798cc, 87bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 12

BMW placed the F800R as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad of 600cc middleweight bikes eg Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc! And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW HP2 Sport (2008-2012)

£15,250

1170cc, 128bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

The BMW HP2 Sport is expensive and quite rightly so considering this is the finest sporting package BMW have rocked up with. Forget the fact that the HP2 Sport is an old air-cooled Boxer engine that supplies the goods, think more in the way this motorcycle will keep up with Japanese superbikes on the open road because of its handling, ...

  • 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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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 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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