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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha TW125 (1999-2004)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 55mph, Insurance group 6

If you have a large camper van and need a bike to ride across beaches then the Yamaha TW125 is perfect, but in every way it is entirely impractical transport. A sluggish SR125 motor, circus clown riding position and questionable build quality make the Yamaha TW125 a bit too quirky for most people.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda FMX650 (2005-2012)

£3,999

644cc, 37bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 11

When faced with the prospect of an exciting new genre – supermoto – Honda eschewed the concepts of excitement and boldness and instead produced the Honda FMX650 - a squidgy suet of a motorcycle. It is perky enough if you’re a new biker, possibly, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles than the Honda FMX650. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CA125 Rebel (1995-1999)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

This 125 cruiser from the '90s loses out a little bit, mainly because it uses the old 1980s Honda CB125cc twin cylinder motor. If you're short in the leg, or short on cash, then the Honda CA125 Rebel makes an acceptable used bargain, as the build quality is a cut above some other 125 cruisers, but Honda's VT125 Shadow is miles better.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda NSR125R (1996-2001)

N/A

124cc, 11.3bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 7

The problem with the Honda NSR125R, and all other two-stroke 125cc motorcycles out there, is that the newer, four-stroke, Honda CBR125R has come along and made them look expensive and unreliable. The Honda NSR125R itself isn’t a bad motorcycle, but it’s way too dear and way too hard to de-restrict. Honda NR750 superbike styling looks great.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Neval Dnepr (1974-2000)

N/A

749cc, 45bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 8

The Dnepr/Ural machines are a real antiques roadshow, which can trace their roots back to the 1940s. First seen as a Cossack 650cc, the Neval Dnepr is basic two - or three - wheeled transport. OK, it isn't the most fashionable, fast or reliable bike in the world, but you can get it repaired by a cobbler in Uzbekistan for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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 Zephyr 550 (1991-1998)

N/A

553cc, 50bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

Launched the same time as the bigger 750 and 1100 Zephyrs, the Kawasaki Zephyr 550 never really caught on in the UK and once the Zephyr's reputation for corrosion spread, and the rival Suzuki Bandit 600 arrived in 1995, the 550 was doomed. It makes an OK commuter in the summer, but it is undepowered, rides too soft and rots ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva Canyon 500 (1996-2002)

N/A

499cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 9

There are no end of single cylinder commuter/trailie bikes around if you have the urge, so the Cagiva Canyon loses out for a couple of good reasons in that hard-fought battle for novice biker cash; first off, it's not the most reliable, even by Italian standards. Secondly, it just doesn't have the oomph to match its city slicker looks. What's ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell S1 Lightning (1997-1998)

N/A

1203cc, 86bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 15

Quirky doesn't adequately describe the Buell S1 Lightning and this mid-90s take on the Buell dream has its plus points, as well as a few serious flaws in its roadster concept. The engine and gearbox felt outdated even when new, the handling was OK, with the braking perhaps slightly less so.  The 93bhp White Lightning has more oomph and is ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 1

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