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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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Aprilia SRV850 (2012-current)

£8,432

839cc, 76bhp, 126mph, Insurance group

The world’s most powerful ever scooter is loads of fun but has an unfinished feel, with iffy suspension and a lack of attention to detail. If outrunning hot hatches on a step-thru is you’re thing, you’ll love it. If you buy it believing Aprilia’s claim that it corners like a sports bike, you’ll be disappointed. It’s essentially a tweaked and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-current)

£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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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 4.5
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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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Ducati 848 (2007-2013)

£10,995

848cc, 122bhp, 166mph, Insurance group 17

The Ducati 848 isn’t just a small 1098, it’s much more than that. The 848 is a proper fast (top speed is 166mph), fine-handling, gorgeous Ducati superbike in its own right. It’s no longer the poor relation to its big brother, like the 748 and 749 used to be. But costing £9500 you’re going to need to be anything but ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Thunderbird 900 (1993-2003)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

Surprisingly cool, versatile and fun retro – indeed one of the first. Triumph Thunderbird 900 took the pleasing and fruity Triumph Trident and refashioned it into an althogether more stylish package. There’s handling, comfort and decent poke inside those cream and chrome walls, while cred is guaranteed by the name on the tank. Nice.

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

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