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Kymco CK1 (2014-current)

£1,999

125cc, 10bhp, 65mph, Insurance group

Like those Japanese rivals, the CK1 is a fairly stylish air-cooled, four-stroke single. Unlike them, it costs under two grand. All-new commuter aims to fill the gap between cheap and cheerful Chinese offerings and more proven, pricier, Japanese ones. It succeeds, too, being well-specced, stylish and well priced. Not perfect, it arguably delivers the best of both worlds.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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WK 125R (2011-current)

£1,699

124cc, 11bhp, 78mph, Insurance group

The Taiwanese-built WK 125R is an entry-level 125cc motorcycle for British riders on a budget. Imported by the same team behind Quadzilla Quads, it’s a cheap, cheerful and functional alternative to more expensive European or Japanese learner machines. It’s a little basic, quite heavily outmoded and unlikely to last a lifetime, but it’s also fairly cool, fun to ride and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Derbi DRD 125 SM (2009-current)

£2,899

124cc, 15bhp, 77mph, Insurance group

If your parents have a fair old wedge to chuck on your first bike, 125SM ownership is not only guaranteed to put a ruddy big smile on your face, but also pull the girls outside the local KFC. Nothing in its class looks as good. In 30 and 40mph limits (its natural hunting ground) it’s rapid enough. But anywhere else ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Piaggio X7 250ie (2008-current)

£2,999

244cc, 22bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

The Piaggio X7 250 ie is halfway between a full-on maxi scooter and a lightweight city scooter, so in theory should offer comfort and a bit of class with some traffic busting ability. It manages it too – it feels substantial and quality but slices traffic like a 50cc scooter.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki DR125SM (2008-2012)

£2,965

124cc, 12bhp, 75mph, Insurance group

It does what is says on the tin but with some added extra style. The four stoke motor is virtually bullet proof if on the slow side and old compared to the two stoke competition. But it’s dependable, easy to ride, cheap to run, light, functional but with added extra Supermoto styling.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1987-2006)

£1,995

346cc, 18bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

If you want to travel back through time to the 1950s then the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the bike for you. Great engineering details, and it actually makes a pleasant rural commuter bike, returning 70mpg or more at a steady 55mph. Needs TLC of course, like most old classics, but still undeniably good fun.

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

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