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BMW F800GS (2008-current)

£8,685

798cc, 85bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

BMW's new F800GS is virtually unique: a 750/800 class adventure bike, that to most degrees offers the best of both worlds. It’s light, slim and perky enough to be a credible off-roader yet it’s also substantial, grunty, roomy and potentially sufficiently well equipped to tackle crossing continents. It’s also got a price that’s hugely tempting too. Video: BMW F800GS first ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Aprilia Shiver (2007-2009)

£5,999

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

The Aprilia Shiver is the first Aprilia to be created from a clean sheet of paper since cash-rich Piaggio took to the helm, and on the basis of our test it’s a good-un. The Aprilia Shiver is one of a new breed of Aprilia motorcycles that’s going to plug the huge gap in their range between the RS125 and RSV1000R ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha T-Max (2001-2011)

£8,299

499cc, 40bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

If you want to tour occasionally, a Deauville 650 does it better. If you want to commute, a YP250 Majesty is probably all you'll ever need. So where does that leave the maxi-scooter Yamaha YP500 T-Max? Good fun to ride, but just too expensive for most urban riders sadly.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XV250S Virago (1995-2001)

N/A

248cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha XV250S Virago is a trusty, reliable and easy to ride option on which to hone your biking skills. If you fancy a big cruiser later on, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a great place to start: it’s got the looks and appears bigger than a 250, so you won’t feel left out down at the Ace. The Yamaha ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XV535 Virago (1988-2004)

N/A

535cc, 38bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 8

The XV535 Virago is where Yamaha started giving Harley-Davidson a run for their money: it was the first of their cruiser motorcycles and it certainly lasted well. The Yamaha XV535 is basic, trusted, easy to ride and with unchallenging but enjoyable performance. What's more this Virago is a great value for money motorcycle and perfect for newbies or laid back commuters.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YBR125 (2005-current)

£2,599

124cc, 10bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

Not the most stylish kid on the block but, as budget, basic learners go, the Yamaha YBR125 offers pretty good value for money. Gentle, easy going and practical, it’ll see you through your test and, if you want, beyond. The Yamaha YBR125 is best as a city ride, there’s enough poke to wind you through rush hour traffic and the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Scrambler (2006-current)

£7,349

865cc, 63bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

Visually the most arresting of the retro Bonneville range, the Triumph Scrambler also makes a great all-round everyday bike. Dream of being Steve McQueen in the Great Escape as you zip down to Tescos on your cool Triumph Scrambler – just don’t go try to jump the checkout queues!

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki XF650 Freewind (1997-2002)

N/A

644cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

Cruise comfortably at 80mph, screw the pants off it on a winding road or peer over traffic from the high seat on your way to work: the Suzuki XF650 Freewind is a versatile motorcycle that’s great value and something a little different. The handling’s particularly notable. If you must take the Suzuki XF650 Freewind off road, keep it very simple ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CLR125 CityFly (1998-2003)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Honda CLR125 CityFly is definitely an urban minx: forget its supposed off-road potential and enjoy bursts of handy acceleration in town. Taking a Honda CLR125 CityFly anywhere near a hill could hinder your fun, especially two-up, but for a bit of funky commuting, it’s an efficient and enjoyable motorcycle. And it looks gorgeous.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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