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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 87mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Sachs X-Road (2004-current)

£2,799

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 7

The Sachs X-Road 125 is a one-of-a-kind. Styled like a supermoto with wide 17-inch rims, excellent brakes and red painted tubular steel frame it’s also got an underseat silencer and comes with aggressive-looking and grippy ‘wet’-style tyres. The handling is extremely good, but the gearing is odd and it’s quite vibey.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Kawasaki ZX-7R (1996-2003)

N/A

748cc, 123bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Kawasaki ZX-7R is proof that a motorcycle doesn’t have to be the latest, lightest and most powerful to be popular. The Kawasaki ZX-7R was no match for Suzuki’s GSX-R750 when launched in 1996 and was never updated significantly until it was deleted in 2003. But people love them and bought the Kawasaki ZX-7R because it looked great and they’re ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZRX1200 (2001-2007)

N/A

1164cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki ZRX1200 is a big, beefy, retro styled bike with plenty of grunt, a comfortable riding position and good looks (especially the Kawasaki ZRX1200 R version, which pays homage to the Eddie Lawson replica Z1100R of the '80s). But the Kawasaki ZRX1200 is really heavy, has a notchy gearbox and the handling and braking feels outdated compared to the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ER-5 (1996-current)

£3,345

498cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Kawasaki ER-5 has a straightforward parallel-twin middleweight commuter that’s as easy to use as a pair of pants. As a cheap workhorse you won’t find much wrong with the Kawasaki ER-5 - providing your expectations don’t go beyond simply getting from A to B.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda XL1000 Varadero (2001-2010)

£8,500

996cc, 93bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 13

In theory: the Honda XL1000V Varadero is a great idea; take the funky Firestorm motor and put it inside an adventure touring chassis. But the result didn’t live up to that and the Honda XL1000V Varadero hasn’t matched the success of the BMW R1150GS. Whileit has bags of comfort, luggage capacity and grunt, its thirsty engine, top heavy handling and ...

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

N/A

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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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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Kawasaki GTR1000 (1986-1999)

N/A

997cc, 110bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

The Kawasaki GTR1000, an 80s touring dinosaur, has its good points; a screen which actually protects the rider well, shaft drive, comfy saddle, a massive 28.5 litre fuel capacity and - for the time - respectable handling. But the aged GPZ1000 motor, weak brakes and dated styling limit its appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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