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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 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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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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Honda CMX250 Rebel (1996-2000)

N/A

234cc, 17bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 5

For laid-back cruising, miniature style, you can’t get much better than the Honda CMX250 Rebel. The engine’s been around forever and the light weight makes for a gentle learning curve. The lack of power can soon become a problem, however, although cruising through town is a right giggle. Just don’t try too much touring if you buy a Honda CMX250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB750 F2 (1992-2001)

N/A

747cc, 73bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda CB750 F2 is not the most exciting motorcycle to leave the Honda factory but a competent, comfortable cruising motorcycle nonetheless. Adequate suspension, good riding position, top brakes and a strong engine are plus points but the Honda CB750 F2 is let down by average handling and a lack of real zest. Sadly, rather boring.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Hesketh V1000 (1982-current)

£12,060

1192cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Believe it or not, but you can still buy an 80s classic Hesketh V1000 motorcycle, brand new, made in small numbers by Broom Engineering. The original Hesketh V1000 was hailed as the saviour of the British industry back in 1981, but this heavy, rather touring orientated V-twin motorcycle was - and still is - an acquired taste. From 2004 onwards, the Hesketh ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GN125 (1994-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

With incredibly low running costs, modest but useful urban performance and funky retro looks, the Suzuki GN125 is an ideal about-town motorcycle or learner bike. Incredibly easy to ride, with a reliable engine and minimal maintenance, the Suzuki GN125 is forgiving and a great confidence-builder. Lousy brakes and finish let it down a bit but, for a real world workhorse, ...

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

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