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Honda CBR250R (2011-current)

£4,199

249cc, 26bhp, mph, Insurance group 13

Motorcycling needs new blood to ensure survival. Honda’s take on this is to attract people into motorcycling with a cheap, honest and stylish workhorse – and the CBR250R is it. This all-new machine is not just suited to restricted cat’ A licence holders, but also anyone who wants a simple, easy to ride, modern-dressed machine capable of returning high mpg ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Derbi DRD 125 SM (2009-current)

£2,899

124cc, 15bhp, 77mph, Insurance group

If your parents have a fair old wedge to chuck on your first bike, 125SM ownership is not only guaranteed to put a ruddy big smile on your face, but also pull the girls outside the local KFC. Nothing in its class looks as good. In 30 and 40mph limits (its natural hunting ground) it’s rapid enough. But anywhere else ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki TL1000S (1997-2001)

N/A

996cc, 125bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer (2000-2005)

N/A

998cc, 143bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

The Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer is a streetbike with an R1 engine – it could have been a compact brute of a machine with fearsome manners and ability to waste sports bikes below 80mph. But it’s actually a big softie with plenty of punch. Arguably the ultimate all round bike – a Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer does the lot and does it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Tiger (1993-1998)

N/A

885cc, 84bhp, 119mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Tiger is a versatile tourer and inter-city commuter with the same rear wheel power as a BMW R1150GS. The Triumph Tiger is handy in the bends, rides easily and the wide seat, 24-litre tank and good screen put long-distance commuting and touring well within its capabilities.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit (1996-2006)

N/A

1152cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit is one of biking's true bargains. Grunty Suzuki GSX-R1100 derived engine, decent handling for its day and simple to tune up should you require more lairy A roads fun. The 2000 onwards GSF1200 Bandit's are more touring based, bit softer, but the finish is slightly better.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi V11 (2001-2005)

N/A

1064cc, 91bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 13

The V11 is something of an oddball in Moto Guzzi recent history, but one actually gaining in appeal and charm. The first Moto Guzzi V11 was launched in 1999 and was a worthy, good–looking if heavy roadster using Moto Guzzi’s traditional and characteristic transverse 1100 V-twin shaft mated to a raft of top spec cycle parts yet let down by equally ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-9R (1994-2002)

N/A

899cc, 143bhp, 175mph, Insurance group 16

Like so many motorcycles the Kawasaki ZX-9R began life as a sports machine, didn’t quite cut it and ended up as an excellent sporty sports-tourer. It’s indecently fast and should put 175+mph on the clock with minimal hassle. Early Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were heavy but from the ‘C’ variant of 1998 onwards it’s light enough to be a capable if not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki DR-Z400S (2001-2008)

£4,199

398cc, 39bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock. The DR-Z400S is tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. The Suzuki DR-Z’400S' bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm.

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

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