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Aprilia RS4 125 (2011-current)

£4,471

124cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

At £3999 OTR there are cheaper 125s but then none of those rivals have the same heritage or kudos. Despite making only 15bhp it’s great fun to ride - the fact the new four-stroke engine thrives on revs keeps the old RS spirit alive. It handles well, stops well, and most importantly looks the part. What more could a 17-year-old ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda S-Wing 125 (2007-current)

£3,999

125cc, 13bhp, 68mph, Insurance group

The Honda S-Wing is a well-equipped and competitively priced executive scooter that performs a lot better than its functional looks might suggest. Honda is pitching the S-Wing as an up-market urban commuter and in that environment it's a cut above the direct competition.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki Burgman 125 (2002-2012)

£3,465

125cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 5

If you want the comfort and practicality of a maxi-scooter but you’re limited to 125cc, the well-spec’d Burgman is a safe choice. It’s not quite up to a motorway commute, but for city use it’s a classy ride with more luggage space than you’ll know what to do with.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Derbi Terra Adventure 125 (2009-current)

£3,319

124cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

Derbi’s Terra Adventure 125 is a fantastic looking machine which bears more than a passing resemblance to the best selling BMW GS – albeit in a learner legal package. If you’re looking for adventure on a budget or just a small capacity bike to have some fun on you won’t be disappointed. 

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha WR125X (2009-current)

£4,199

124cc, 15bhp, 75mph, Insurance group

Yamaha’s all-new WR125X has everything it needs to be the class leading learner supermoto. It’s great looking, well-equipped, has a great new engine, is solidly built and is great fun to ride. The Yamaha WR125X is a serious, substantial piece of kit – the only slight downside for novice riders is its tall seat and high price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT125C Shadow (1999-2007)

£3,299

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XL125 Varadero (2001-2009)

£4,470

125cc, 15bhp, 72mph, Insurance group 6

Although only a 125, there’s plenty of big bike feel with the Honda XL125 Varadero. The proportions are right, the motor feels spunky and as it’s a Honda you know it’s not going to fall apart beneath you. As a first bike or commuter the Honda XL125 Varadero represents a clever investment with its low insurance group and parsimonious fuel ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR125R (2004-2010)

£3,170

125cc, 13bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBR125R is an excellent ‘mid market’ 125. There are cheaper to buy / run bikes, like Honda’s own CG125 but they lack kudos. There’s a flotilla of fancy, mainly European motorcycles like Aprilia’s gorgeous RS125 but they’re silly money. But the Honda CBR125R's a tidy little motorcycle with a reliable four stroke engine, safe handling and brakes.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia MX125 (2003-2006)

£3,199

124cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 8

The Aprilia MX 125 is just amazing fun - once de-restricted of course - with a rev-happy two-stroke engine taken from the race-bred Aprilia RS125 and an excellent Supermoto style chassis. The Aprilia MX125 has real class, looks and feels like a proper grown up motorcycle, but question marks over reliability, high initial price and insurance make this an expensive ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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