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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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Suzuki GSX-R600 (2011-current)

£8,799

599cc, 125.8bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

Suzuki has slashed an incredible 9kg from the 2011 GSX-R600. The engine has more midrange, a close ratio gearbox and for the first time, Showa Big Piston Forks and Brembo monobloc radial front brakes. Aside from a handful of components, the GSX-R600 is completely new. The easy-going nature of the bike is still there, but it’s sharper, more agile and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati Monster 1100S (2009-2013)

£10,195

1078cc, 95bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 14

Like the Ducati Monster 696 that arrived earlier in 2008, the bigger capacity Monster range was, after 15 years, in desperate need of an update. And the result is the best air-cooled Monster ever. Only subtle styling tweaks have been applied, but serious thought and attention has been lumped on the engine and chassis components. If it’s a pleasurable, no-nonsense, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Yamaha YZF-R7 (1999-2000)

N/A

749cc, 106bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

The Yamaha YZF-R7 was a limited edition machine top dollar machine only sold to the public so Yamaha could race it in World Superbike. Just 500 were sold for road use (40 in the UK) and they were about £22,000. Also known as the OW02, the Yamaha YZF-R7's race success was limited partly due to the rules favoring twin cylinder ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph TT600 (2000-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

Triumph wowed us all when they beat all the Japanese manufacturers to putting a fuel injected engine in to a 600cc sportsbike. Shame about the glitches. Later Triumph TT600s are better but the handling and brakes have never been in doubt: they’re awe-inspiring. Dodgy looks but a true Brit.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Husqvarna SM450R (2004-current)

£5,994

449cc, 48bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

2005 was the last year the UK importers officially brought in the Husqvarna SM450R. Which is a shame as it’s an unbelievably good bike, but it was felt that the 510SMR (road bike) and SM450RR (race bike) serviced all our needs between them. Slim, fast, agile and desirable the SM450R is very much the supermoto fantasy made metal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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MV Agusta F41000S (2004-2012)

£14,000

998cc, 155bhp, 184mph, Insurance group 17

The MV Agusta F41000S blends a monster engine, God-given handling and heart-aching beauty to be possibly one of the most desirable two-wheeled creations of all time. Only its high price, discomfort and lack of convincing reliability prevent it taking full marks.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell XB12S Lightning (2003-current)

£7,745

1203cc, 100bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 16

The Buell XB12S Lightning is weird but it works. An antique, character-rich engine in a stubby street-fighter motorcycle chassis dripping technical innovation. Buell motorcycles is a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson set up by employee/ motorcycle racer/visionary Eric Buell. The Buell XB12S Lightning  is a very individual motorcycle and hugely enjoyable to ride. Easy to love if hard to justify.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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