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Honda CBF125 (2009-current)

£2,600

125cc, 11.3bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

Cheap-as-chips replacement for the venerable CG125 offers the same kind dependable utilitarian transport but with a dash of style. The CBF125 has flown out of showrooms since its introduction in January – so much so that dealers complain of not being able to get hold of them quickly enough – and we’re not surprised. It’s a Honda, it’s good looking, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ER-6n (2009-2011)

£5,799

649cc, 72bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 10

The first Kawasaki ER-6n already offered fantastic value for money – fun, practicality and decent looks for £4500. It didn’t need a revamp, but for this year it now has a classier more grown up image. The chassis has been tweaked to isolate vibration, and suspension quality was also improved in response to owner comments.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4v (2008-current)

£10,432

1151cc, 105bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 15

After just two years in production the Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport gets a new engine. So it’s out with the old two-valver and in with a new 105bhp four-valve head motor, taken from the Stelvio adventure bike and the Griso 8v cruiser (yes, Guzzi call the Griso an ‘8v’ and all the other bikes in their range with the same ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha V-MAX (2008-current)

£21,499

1679cc, 197bhp, 143mph, Insurance group 15

The V-Max is what happens when you mix 1679cc and nearly 200 horsepower in a motorcycle that's one part cruiser, one part sportbike - and all parts thrilling. It's difficult to explain just how quickly the V-Max builds speed. Cruise along at 30 mph in second gear, pick up the throttle and hold on tight... you'll be doing 90 mph before ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CBF600 (2008-2013)

£5,855

599cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 11

Sporting a new, detuned version of the current CBR600RR engine and a new cast aluminium chassis, bodywork and suspension (now adjustable for preload) the updated Honda CBF600 is practical, easy to ride, fairly swift, comfortable and thanks to ABS brakes as standard, safe too. The Honda CBF600 is aimed at new and ‘born again’ riders and it does everything it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell 1125R (2007-2010)

£8,495

1125cc, 146bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell 1125R is vastly improved in the six months since its launch in late 2007 but, make no mistake, it is not Japanese or Italian standard in any one area of the bike. The engine is a 131bhp Rotax V-twin that delivers solid punches. But vibration can be an issue, depending on what uprated ECU setting is installed – ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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 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 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 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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