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Honda CBR1000F (1987-1997)

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998cc, 135bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The sports-touring Honda CBR1000F was always in the shadow of more exciting motorcycles, yet had a decade long production run. It had its good points, such as a comfortable riding position, good build quality - except for early camchain tensioner problems - and respectable handling. But the Honda CBR1000F is so bland it makes Katie Melua look like a brazen rock chick.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

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599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GSX750 (1997-2002)

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749cc, 85bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

This was Suzuki's answer to the Kawasaki Zephyr 750 and although the Suzuki GSX750 has its admirers, it never really caught on in the UK and there aren't very many about secondhand. The Suzuki GSX750 is a competent performer but the soft suspension and indifferent finish detract from an otherwise user-friendly package.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Triumph Sprint Executive (1997-1998)

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885cc, 92bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Sprint Executive is a competent sports-touring machine that rides like it looks – top-heavy, fast and old. It’s essentially a 900 Trophy with a Rickman-style fairing slapped across its mug, but the triple-cylinder motor makes a nice noise and it’s reasonably comfortable if you can forgive the noisy, imperfect screen. The Triumph Sprint Executive comes with colour-coded hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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MZ 1000S (2004-2007)

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999cc, 117bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 15

MZ is trying something different with its parallel twin 1000S and Streetfighter, but it lacks the X factor and doesn't have the kind of dealer/distributor back-up you need when buying a slightly oddball motorbike. Decent to ride, and the Streetfighter version looks more appealing than the 80s style S model, but hasn't really got anything novel or unique about it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 900SS (1990-2002)

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904cc, 80bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 14

Real retro sports motorcycle that was outdated when new. If you’re after all-out speed, practicality or reliability look elsewhere. If you want old school charm, a great twin cylinder sound track, stunning looks and handling to surprise the odd modern motorcycle the Ducati 900SS is worth a look.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki GPZ1100 (1995-1998)

N/A

1052cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The Kawasaki GPZ1100 is more sporty tourer than sports tourer. Launched with zero cutting edge technology but a honking great engine with a hearty midrange that makes rapid riding easy. On the spec sheet the Kawasaki GPZ1100 is an overweight dinosaur but on the road it’s actually a great machine. Just don’t go chasing the latest GSX-Rs on a twisty road.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Ducati 750SS (1991-2002)

N/A

748cc, 64bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 13

This is the latest in a long, long line of Ducati 750SS which date back to the early 1970s (think Paul Smart). The most recent version of the Ducati 750SS is not a bad all-round motorcycle, and the fuel injection’s a marked improvement, but it’s hard work and a lot of money for not, perhaps, quite enough reward. One for the fans?

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 620 Sport (2002-2003)

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618cc, 60bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 11

Cosmetic and engine update from the long running SS family of sports-retro Ducatis. The entry level Ducati 620 Sport was never a big seller and wasn’t on offer for long. It’s not that fast or comfy but it handles well. Afflicted by the traditional Italian glitches but a cheap way into Ducati motorcycle ownership.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

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992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

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

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