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Piaggio MP3 LT (2009-current)

£6,499

399cc, 34bhp, 100mph, Insurance group

The biggest yet of Piaggio’s peculiar MP3s has an identity crisis. It looks like a scooter but the law classes it the same as a Reliant Robin three-wheeler car. Because Piaggio has added a footbrake and widened the space between the front wheels by 45mm, to 465mm, it falls into category B1 on European driving licences, defined as ‘three or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Buell 1125R (2007-current)

£8,495

1125cc, 146bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell 1125R is vastly improved in the six months since its launch in late 2007 but, make no mistake, it is not Japanese or Italian standard in any one area of the bike. The engine is a 131bhp Rotax V-twin that delivers solid punches. But vibration can be an issue, depending on what uprated ECU setting is installed – ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XVS1100 (1998-current)

£6,999

1063cc, 62bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Yamaha XVS1100 - a big  cruiser of yesteryear is more a mid sized cruiser of today. It's an evolution of Yamaha’s long running XV1100 Virago which used to be its custom-style range topper but now it’s dwarfed by the near-two litre megacruisers. The Yamaha XVS1100 is somewhat old tech but light weight and manageability are always useful.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Triumph Thruxton (2003-current)

£7,349

865cc, 69bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Thruxton is a great looking retro cafe racer, which just doesn't have the punchy power you'd expect of a big twin. It also sounds dull, boring almost. Compared to buying a well restored Triton 650 for the same money, the modern day Triumph Thruxton is a weak imitation of genuine cafe racer cool.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GSR600 (2006-2010)

£5,200

599cc, 88bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Suzuki GSR600 is a middleweight inline four in the same mould as Yamaha’s FZ6 and Honda’s Hornet 600. It’s a perfectly acceptable ride, but to be honest the Suzuki GSR600 adds almost nothing to the biking world – especially when Suzuki’s own Bandit 600 (and 650 version) does exactly the same job for less money than the Suzuki GSR600. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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