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Honda NC750X (2014-current)

£6,299

745cc, 54bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

Riding the NC for any length of time reveals a bike that handles sweetly, brakes more than adequately, is comfortable, tackles scabby back roads well and, with the addition of the DCT gearbox, is easy to ride and super economical in terms of fuel use. There’s a lot to like. If, however, you want a bike that will be the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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KTM 1190 Adventure (2013-current)

£12,999

1195cc, 150bhp, 140mph, Insurance group

The new 1190 is radically different from the 990 it replaces. The whole package of chassis, electronic suspension and rider aids makes this 150bhp, 230kg bike seriously capable with more rider-friendly characteristics than any previous KTM Adventure. It can also be ridden faster than I ever thought possible – in this respect it’s more like a Ducati Multistrada, but with ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Monster 1200S (2014-current)

£12,995

1198cc, 145bhp, 150mph, Insurance group

In isolation I like the new Monster, which has character, looks good and is modern but still very much a Monster. The new liquid-cooled engine is much better than the old bike’s. There’s loads of mid-range and low-down grunt, and it sounds fantastic for a standard bike. The handling on the S model is excellent, just as happy on road ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki Ninja 300 (2012-current)

£4,799

296cc, 39bhp, 93mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has hit the nail on the head with this bike. Finally the market has a practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable. The firm says 40% of buyers will be under 24 years old, going on sales of the 250, and it’s this kind of grassroots support motorcycling needs. Kawasaki also says 22% of 250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Kawasaki Z1000 (2014 - current)

£9,499

1043cc, 140bhp, mph, Insurance group

The new 2014 Z1000 is a ballsy move by Kawasaki – and not just because it looks like something out of a Terminator movie. No, it’s ballsy because it’s rejected the current (and often expensive) fashion for electronic rider aids, because it focuses on real world riding thrills rather than fantastic and often irrelevant (for a street super naked at ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda NC700D Integra (2012-2013)

£7,699

670cc, 51bhp, 98mph, Insurance group

A maxi-scooter that's really a motorbike, with the same engine and chassis as Honda's NC700S and NC700X. Although technically accomplished, the Integra has a utilitarian feel, like a motorcycle made for people who don't particularly like motorcycling.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z800 (2013-current)

£7,499

806cc, 111bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CRF250L (2012-current)

£4,199

250cc, 23bhp, mph, Insurance group

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – this is it.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer (2012-current)

£12,399

1237cc, 127bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 17

The surprise with the Crosstourer is two-fold: first that the 1200 V4 powertrain works so well in an adventure bike package (it already seems so familiar and ‘right’ to me it seems like it’s been around for years) and second that it genuinely brings a new and tempting dimension – namely V4 performance and sophisticated automatic transmission – to the ...

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

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