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Buell XB9SX Lightning (2004-2009)

£5,990

984cc, 84bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

The Buell XB9SX is an oddity. What you get is an old-school v-twin in a high-tech chassis, all wrapped up in a mad-max style urban scrambler. On paper it makes very little sense – a modern naked middleweight out-performs it in every practical way. But it looks great, sounds mean and the handling is sublime. It would be a hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

£8,310

1203cc, 103bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 15

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Triumph Tiger 955i (2001-2006)

N/A

955cc, 104bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 13

The second generation Triumph Tiger carried on the theme of the original – a big, bruising road trail motorcycle powered by Hinckley’s distinctive triple. The difference was this was the second generation triple with updated chassis and styling to match. Later versions are well equipped and the Triumph Tiger 955i is a decent road motorcycle taller riders, but it’s also ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki SV1000 (2003-2007)

£6,049

996cc, 118bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki SV1000 is a purpose built big capacity, sensibly priced, road going sporty V-twin. Ok, the engine’s nicked from Suzuki’s old TL1000S but the rest of the SV1000 is all-new yet the price tag is very reasonable new or used. The faired Suzuki SV1000 ‘S’ version has lower bars but is the better all-rounder. The unfaired SV1000 with higher bars is a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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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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Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro (1996-2000)

N/A

992cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

Centaur; half man, half horse - interesting concept, although some might say the Guzzi V10 Centauro was half motorbike, half Shirehorse... In practice, the Centauro handled poorly, rode a bit harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe. It just looked downright weird.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki ZRX1200 (2001-2007)

N/A

1164cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a big, beefy, retro styled bike with plenty of grunt, a comfortable riding position and good looks (especially the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R version, which pays homage to the Eddie Lawson replica Z1100R of the '80s). But the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is really heavy, has a notchy gearbox and the handling and braking feels outdated compared to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi Breva 1100/1200 (2005-2011)

£6,999

1064cc, 86bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

The compact and nimble Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 is a totally different animal to the Moto Guzzi California 1100EV or Moto Guzzi V11, which are that bit harder to ride. The Breva 1100 has a lighter clutch, niftier chassis and smoother V-twin than Moto Guzzis of old. The Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 feels much shorter, carrying its weight that bit lower somehow. The Breva ...

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

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