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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Piaggio MP3 Hybrid (2009-current)

N/A

124cc, 14.7bhp, 55mph, Insurance group

Hybrid technology has finally reached motorcycles – the MP3 Hybrid has an electric motor that can assist the petrol engine or run as a standalone engine. But sadly it’s not quite ready to provide a viable alternative yet – price is expected to be high and the electric assistance isn’t good enough. Doubt has been cast over the green credentials ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Yamaha XJ900S Diversion (1994-2004)

N/A

892cc, 90bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 12

Introduced two years after its little 600cc brother, the bigger Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is a real, no-nonsense all-rounder. Ok, so it lacks outstanding performance or any semblance of sexiness but who cares? For bikers on a budget who ride in the real world, the Yamaha XJ900S Diversion is hard to beat. Has a long standing and respectable heritage, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Adventurer (1995-2002)

N/A

885cc, 70bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Adventurer, a cruiser style version of the Thunderbird, adds dollop of crass to already glittery, faux concoction. It’s an OK motorcycle, thanks mostly to the stupendous Triumph triple engine, but the Triumph Adventurer is about as cool and stylish as purple velvet loon pants. Oh, did someone say they’re back in?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat (1996-2003)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

If you're after a versatile sports-touring motorcycle, with a reliable engine, decent suspension and braking, plus the ability to carry two people plus kit for a two week holiday, the Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat is damn-near perfect.  The Thundercat makes a real alternative to the VFR750/800 series and is very underrated.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Sachs Roadster 800 (2000-2004)

N/A

805cc, 57bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 10

The Sachs boasts gorgeous design with excellent build quality and ought to be better than it is. It seems a bit busy, trying to be part roadster, part sportsbike, part cruiser and the result is a slightly disappointing, split-personality that doesn’t really deliver on any level. You can have fun and it’ll make you smile… But it’s unlikely to ever ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki DR125SE (1985-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to an XT125 or the like.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3

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