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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YBR250 (2009-current)

£3,799

249cc, 21bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 5

With no roadster to fill the void in Yamaha’s range between a learner 125 and something like an 80bhp XJ6, the Japanese firm have decided to bring the YBR250 in to the UK as a limited run. It’s friendly, practical and swift enough to have some fun - plus it's 33bhp licence-friendly too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha WR250X (2008-current)

£6,399

250cc, 30bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 9

In theory the WR250X is a perfect funky first bike – lightweight, funky looks and an all-new design should spell big fun. But it doesn’t – the Yamaha is badly let down by it’s chassis, which is unforgivable given the astronomic price.

  • MCN rating rating is 1
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell XB12 Super TT (2007-2008)

£7,295

1203cc, 100bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 14

The Buell XB12STT is a new, horny looking, supermoto-inspired derivative of the Buell XB12S Lightning and Buell XB12R Firebolt series is probably the most fun Buell motorcycle yet. Great looks, a stumpy and sharp chassis plus the familiarly grunty 1203cc Harley-Davidson derived engine add up to motorcycle that’s great to hoon about out. The Buell XB12STT suffers from limited practicality and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max (1991-2004)

N/A

1198cc, 140bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Mad Max. There, that tells you everything you need to know about the Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max, an ill-handling, raw powered Rottweiller of a motorcycle. The full power 140bhp model is the only one worth having, so skip the early 90s UK spec models with a feeble 95bhp.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki VL1500 Intruder (1998-2002)

N/A

1462cc, 67bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Although the Suzuki VL1500 Intruder shares a basic engine design with the Suzuki VL1400 Intruder, the two bikes have very different chassis. The Suzuki VL1500 Intruder is long, low and wide, very similar to Kawasaki's Vulcan 1500 in terms of power, overall feel and ride quality. The bottom line is this however; can you ride a bike with `Intruder' written ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha TRX850 (1996-2000)

N/A

849cc, 79bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 13

A Ducati with Japanese reliability? That was the plan. The Yamaha TRX850 was a match for Ducati’s 900SS of its day but never sold well – the last few machines were ushered out of showrooms for under £4K. Shame. the Yamaha TRX850 is a sporty motorcycle but road biased with tons of character. Can be a bargain on the used ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson VRSCR Street Rod (2005-2012)

£10,995

1130cc, 120bhp, 144mph, Insurance group 17

‘Designed for Europe’  Harley-Davidson Street Rod is a sports version of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. So while the engine remains the same as its cruiser cousin, the Harley-Davidson Street Rod's chassis has been modified to turn it into a handler. It works, too, delivering a much more invigorating ride – still no Suzuki GSX-R1000, not by a long chalk.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSF600 Bandit (1996-2005)

N/A

600cc, 78bhp, 129mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki GSF600 Bandit was so successful it spawned a whole class. Budget middleweight roadsters. The recipe is simple take one aging but acceptable supersport engine, bung it in a basic, straightforward roadster chassis and price it as keenly as possible. The first Bandits proved best sellers, great for novices and as all-rounders. Latest versions are now 650cc and there’s ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XL650V Transalp (1987-2007)

£5,249

647cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda XL650V Transalp has been providing honest transport seemingly since the dawn of time. Revitalised with a bigger motor and a face-lift in 2000, it’s softly-chuffing charm and easy-going manners have won a devoted audience. Mostly blokes more interested in getting from A-to-B than having a giggle buy them up.

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

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