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Honda VFR1200F (2010-2011)

£12,325

1237cc, 160bhp, mph, Insurance group

The new VFR is a good bike – but it’s not a great one. And after all the hype and expectation (Honda themselves are pumping it up as “the Ultimate Road Sports Motorcycle” and it’s simply not) that is not good enough.Logically, to justify its almost £12K tag, the new VFR should offer abilities and specification head and shoulders above ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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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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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Rieju 125 Pro Supermoto (2009-current)

£3,199

125cc, 15bhp, 73mph, Insurance group 5

Rieju’s new Marathon 125 supermoto is powered by the same engine you’ll find in Yamaha’s YZF-R125 and WR125 range, albeit fitted with a 30mm Keihin carb instead of fuel injection. Costing £3199 this Spanish-made machine is actually £400 cheaper than Yamaha’s own WR125X supermoto.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F650GS (2008-current)

£6,650

798cc, 71bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 8

BMW’s successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single is, confusingly, being based on the F800GS, neither a single (it’s a parallel twin) or a 650 (it’s 798cc) – so perhaps not surprisingly it’s miles better than the old one. Just as importantly, though, with a lowered seat, softened delivery and more, it’s every bit as novice or shortie-friendly and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia Shiver GT (2009-2011)

£7,474

749cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 15

The standard Aprilia SL750 Shiver is just another funky naked bike – but the simple addition of a fairing turns it in to one of the best Italian all rounders you can buy. The Shiver GT is very competent, mixing practicality with style, performance and character for not a huge amount of cash.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda C90 Cub (1985-2002)

£1,699

85cc, 8bhp, 50mph, Insurance group 2

The ‘updated’ version of Honda’s bum-basic commuter only needed a few upgrades over the original 1960’s design – CDI ignition is the main benefit, reducing maintenance. Otherwise, it’s still the crude but charming plod-along it always was – only emissions killed it off in the EU, variants of the Cub are still on sale in Asia.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Benelli Tre K 899 (2009-current)

£7,995

898cc, 105bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

This is the smaller engined version of Benelli’s brilliant, but unfortunately rare Tre K 1130  sports tourer. We rate it highly: it’s comfy, easy to ride, sounds great, handles well and has a wild side for when the mood takes you. It’s not the obvious choice, which will actually a plus-point for many, but some will be sceptical, worried about ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Thunderbird (2009-current)

£11,149

1597cc, 85bhp, 115mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s all-new Thunderbird is bravely aimed at taking on Harley in the US, but in terms of spec, quality, performance and price looks the best-equipped rival ever to do just that. It performs well, handles better, is beautifully built and has all the cruiser goodies you could wish for. But if we have to be critical, it’s a bit derivative ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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BMW F800R (2009-current)

£7,595

798cc, 87bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 12

BMW placed the F800R as an entry-level, sporty, naked urban machine to slot in amongst myriad of 600cc middleweight bikes eg Yamaha FZ6, Triumph Street Triple, Honda Hornet and so on – even though its engine is 798cc! And we can cheerfully say it fits in. What the BMW conveys is the feel and ride of large capacity bike with ...

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

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