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Yamaha XTZ660 (1991-1999)

N/A

659cc, 47bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XTZ660 (or Teneré) comes from a time when Continental cool meant enormous trail-style bikes and a far-away look in the eyes. Actually that might just have been piles, since the Yamaha XTZ660 boasts one of the most uncomfortable seats ever created outside of the Inquisitions of 15th-Century Spain. The exhaust and spokes rot and the electrics are poor. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Yamaha XT125R (2005-current)

£2,999

124cc, 12.5bhp, 71mph, Insurance group 5

Once upon a time the learner motorcycle world was only filled with two-strokes. And once your eyes had stopped running the only quality trailie was Yamaha’s DT125. And it was madly expensive. Nowadays the place is full of four-stroke cheapies like Yamaha's XT125R and we should be grateful. But we’re not because de-restricting two-stroke learners was a piece of cake ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DR125SE (1985-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to an XT125 or the like.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1987-2006)

£1,995

346cc, 18bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

If you want to travel back through time to the 1950s then the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the bike for you. Great engineering details, and it actually makes a pleasant rural commuter bike, returning 70mpg or more at a steady 55mph. Needs TLC of course, like most old classics, but still undeniably good fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha TT250R (2004-2005)

N/A

249cc, 19bhp, 71mph, Insurance group 7

The Yamaha TTR250 is a hardy wee beastie. As an undemanding, unfussy enduro bike for newer riders it excels, with a never-say-die single cylinder motor that has just enough pep for muddy fun. Now deleted from Yamaha’s range the Yamaha TT250R is still a sound used buy providing you don’t have to go too far on the tarmac.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR1000F (1987-1997)

N/A

998cc, 135bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The sports-touring Honda CBR1000F was always in the shadow of more exciting motorcycles, yet had a decade long production run. It had its good points, such as a comfortable riding position, good build quality - except for early camchain tensioner problems - and respectable handling. But the Honda CBR1000F is so bland it makes Katie Melua look like a brazen rock chick.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki GZ125 Marauder (1998-2011)

£2,965

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

Mid price cruiser style Suzuki GZ125 Marauder works well and makes a decent learner steed. It’s got more presence than the budget custom style 125s like Yamaha’s SR125 but it’s usefully cheaper than the twin cylinder alternatives which cost about a grand more when new. The Suzuki GZ125 Marauder makes a decent, frugal urban commuter too.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB250 (1992-2003)

N/A

234cc, 20bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

Never were the words “trusty little workhorse” so apt as to describe Honda’s CB250. The latest incarnation, launched in 1992, represented the swansong for a motorcycle with a history going back to the 1970s. Trusted, reliable and entirely without pretence, the Honda CB250 is a cracking little motorcycle that’s given long service to bikers everywhere.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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