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Honda VFR800F (2014-current)

£10,499

782cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group

In delivering refined versatility, class and understated quality and entertainment, this new VFR is a success. My only slight regrets are two-fold: this newcomer doesn’t (quite) have the clean sheet, no expense-spared ethos of the originals, it’s a tiny bit ‘parts-bin’. And, two, it’d have been better still if it’d been a VFR900F, say, with a full colour TPFT instrument ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Triumph America LT (2014-current)

£7,999

865cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

Though by definition a ‘smaller bagger’ it’s not really a small bike. It’s manageable, yes, but is sufficiently full sized to carry two and luggage and tour hundreds of miles with ease. The LT also has enough style, comfort, performance and practicality and yet is still a doddle to get on with, as well. And, for the type of riders ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Ducati 899 Panigale (2013-current)

£12,495

898cc, 148bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 17

A step forward from the old 848, now littered in rider aids like traction control, ABS, EBC (Engine brake Control) all as standard quick-shifter. The ergonomics are more rider friendly, it’s easier and more forgiving and it looks stunning mirroring the line of the original Panigale. But, more importantly, the 899’s quicker and lighter than the old bike, too. Despite ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW F800GS Adventure (2013-current)

£9,650

798cc, 85bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

BMW set out to turn its 800GS into an authentic adventure bike and on this first showing have certainly achieved just that. Basically it’s an 800GS with a bigger (underseat) tank, extended bodywork and a host of options. Think of it as a ‘3/4 version of the 1200 Adventure’ (even though, at 800cc, it’s actually 2/3) and you should get ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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 VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-2014)

£9,499

782cc, 101bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

The Crossrunner has already proved controversial for being passed off as a new bike when, effectively, it’s little more than a re-worked, re-styled nine-year-old VFR800 with some ‘parts bin’ equipment. But there’s no denying that, as a concept, as a two-wheeled ‘cross-over’ machine, the Crossrunner simply works. It’s one of the best, friendliest and truly versatile bikes around – anywhere. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki W800 (2011-current)

£6,799

773cc, 47bhp, 110mph, Insurance group

Our first test of Kawasaki’s new W800 suggests that Britain’s own Triumph, after for five years having things all its own way in the ‘retro roadster’ class, has a new, real rival on its hands. Not only is the Kawasaki W800 cheaper and better specced than its closest Bonneville rival, the Kawasaki’s uprated engine means there’s now no discernible performance ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Tiger 800 XC (2010-current)

£8,699

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The new 800 XC is very much the bigger, burlier brother of Triumph’s two new Tigers. From the moment you swing your leg on board it’s clearly a taller, seemingly more substantial machine. The combination of 21-inch wire front wheel (in place of the 800’s cast 19incher), longer travel (by 40mm) 45mm forks (the 800’s are 43mm) and slightly wider ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Tiger 800 (2010-current)

£8,099

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s new Tiger 800 is the slightly more basic, more road-orientated and novice-friendly (not to mention cheaper) version of its two, new, three cylinder dual-purpose machines. The other is the Tiger 800XC. It’s a great bike, too –  impressing immediately with excellent ergonomics, and a superbly linear and progressive power delivery.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Trident 900 (1991-1998)

N/A

885cc, 100bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

Reborn Triumph’s 900 Trident was about as straightforward a bike as Hinckley could produce, and also happened to be one of the best of the early machines. The three-cylinder motor was distinctive, flexible and robust, the handling, though tall, better than the average roadster and it was comfortable, attractive enough and versatile, too. No wonder the Triumph Trident lived longer ...

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

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