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Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

£8,310

1203cc, 103bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 15

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW G650 (2007-2012)

N/A

652cc, 52bhp, 105.6mph, Insurance group 9

BMW’s sometime popular BMW 's F650GS single-cylinder range gets updated stable mates. Consisting of a road cum enduro motorcycle (BMW G650 XChallenge - £5,875), a supermoto motorcycle (BMW G650 XMoto - £6,070), and a dual-purpose soft trailie motorcycle (BMW G650 XCountry - £4,895), which is more akin to the Scrambler style motorcycle of yesteryear, all share the same frame and engine, but ride and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rieju SMX 125 (1997-current)

£2,799

124cc, 14.5bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 5

The Rieju SMX 125 and 50 models are Supermoto styled bikes aimed at novices, with the 125 featuring a 14bhp Yamaha engine, Paioli suspension and a tall seat height. The 50cc SMX Pro version also has trick bits like Galfer wavy dics and a chromed exhaust system. Just that bit more stylish than the average learner bike.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda CBR900RR Fireblade (2000-2001)

N/A

929cc, 152bhp, 164mph, Insurance group 17

The Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s biggest revamp to date came for 2000 and it wasn’t exactly what fans were expecting. New fuel injection was thirsty and made smooth riding harder. The 17” wheel tamed the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade’s lively nature. More importantly the raucous, powerful Yamaha YZF-R1 was in the scene and the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was on the horizon – both better ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX600F (1996-2000)

N/A

599cc, 73bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 11

Consistently slaughtered for not being the fastest / lightest / latest but the Suzuki GSX600F is a superb all-rounder. It doesn’t cost the earth and is fast enough to be exciting too. As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well but when the budget 600 class came of age with bikes like the Fazer and SV650 the Suzuki ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT125C Shadow (1999-2007)

£3,299

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT750C Shadow (2004-2007)

£5,845

745cc, 45bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VT750C Shadow's a sleek and smooth (if slightly underpowered) cruiser. The shaft drive is a welcome addition but carbs and drum brakes are a bit old hat for a modern machine. Still, it looks the part, rides well and lacks the agricultural feel of its, ahem, American counterparts.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Sherco 50 (2003-current)

£2,250

50cc, 8bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 1

A tiny, Minarelli-engined, screamer that’s collected a hatful of 50cc supermoto titles, including multiple French National crowns. It handles superbly, tuning parts are relatively easy to come by and, most importantly, it’s easy to de-restrict. Providing you’ve got the appropriate licence, of course. Ahem.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Moto Guzzi Breva 1100/1200 (2005-2011)

£6,999

1064cc, 86bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 13

The compact and nimble Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 is a totally different animal to the Moto Guzzi California 1100EV or Moto Guzzi V11, which are that bit harder to ride. The Breva 1100 has a lighter clutch, niftier chassis and smoother V-twin than Moto Guzzis of old. The Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 feels much shorter, carrying its weight that bit lower somehow. The Breva ...

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

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