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KTM 690 Duke R (2010 model)

£8,899

690cc, 71.4bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 11

Even though the bike tested was a pre-production unit – virtually finished bar the paintwork and decals – this bigger capacity 690 Duke is altogether a different machine than non-R model 690 Duke (654cc). The extra 36cc (KTM won’t confirm this figure until after official model launch, mid Nov ’09) of the new R-model with carbonfibre front mudguard and revised ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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BMW G650 (2007-2012)

N/A

652cc, 52bhp, 105.6mph, Insurance group 9

BMW’s sometime popular BMW 's F650GS single-cylinder range gets updated stable mates. Consisting of a road cum enduro motorcycle (BMW G650 XChallenge - £5,875), a supermoto motorcycle (BMW G650 XMoto - £6,070), and a dual-purpose soft trailie motorcycle (BMW G650 XCountry - £4,895), which is more akin to the Scrambler style motorcycle of yesteryear, all share the same frame and engine, but ride and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Suzuki GSX600F (1996-2000)

N/A

599cc, 73bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 11

Consistently slaughtered for not being the fastest / lightest / latest but the Suzuki GSX600F is a superb all-rounder. It doesn’t cost the earth and is fast enough to be exciting too. As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well but when the budget 600 class came of age with bikes like the Fazer and SV650 the Suzuki ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT750C Shadow (2004-2007)

£5,845

745cc, 45bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VT750C Shadow's a sleek and smooth (if slightly underpowered) cruiser. The shaft drive is a welcome addition but carbs and drum brakes are a bit old hat for a modern machine. Still, it looks the part, rides well and lacks the agricultural feel of its, ahem, American counterparts.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie (2003-2011)

£5,199

744cc, 48bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 10

The Moto Guzzi Breva 750ie is an ideal buy for newer or returning riders and a doddle to ride. Everything is smooth, competent and especially helpful for nervous hands. The more experienced may find it a bit dull but it makes a superb commuter, whatever your level of skill.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati Multistrada 620 (2005-2007)

£5,495

618cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Yet another entry level Duke but the Ducati Multistrada 620 is more of an ‘all-rounder’ motorcycle to the Monsters’ ‘roadster’. The looks are an acquired taste and it’s not got a whole lot up top in the power department but the Ducati Mulitstrada 620 is a good, practical first big motorcycle. A bit more oomph and a bigger tank would have made it even more ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati M600 Monster (1993-2001)

N/A

583cc, 53bhp, 116mph, Insurance group 13

A mini version of the highly-successful Ducati M900 Monster, the 600 has always been a hit with ‘first big bikers’,  women especially. It looks fabulous, sounds even better and offers sprightly, spirited performance. What’s more, the Ducati M600 Monster is an affordable way in to the sought-after Ducati motorcycles brand.   Watch video of this bike and more on MCN | TV ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF600 (2004-2007)

£5,199

599cc, 76bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CBF600 is undoubtedly a supremely competent motorcycle but lordy, is it dull! Bulky and heavy for a 600cc motorcycle, the Honda CBF600 lacks any real “go”, despite being well designed and built. It’s a good, safe choice for a new biker but, for those with more experience, it’s unlikely to satiate your need for a rush. Once you’ve mastered the basics, ...

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

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