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Derbi Cross City 125 (2007-current)

£2,156

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

The Derbi Cross City is an off-road influenced learner bike that manages the three-card trick of being stylish, novice-friendly AND affordable – but it’s not perfect. What pricks the Derbi’s bubble most of all is the tall seat. For lads of 5’9” or more it’s not really an issue and to them I’d say buy and enjoy without a qualm. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Derbi DRD 125 SM (2009-current)

£2,899

124cc, 15bhp, 77mph, Insurance group

If your parents have a fair old wedge to chuck on your first bike, 125SM ownership is not only guaranteed to put a ruddy big smile on your face, but also pull the girls outside the local KFC. Nothing in its class looks as good. In 30 and 40mph limits (its natural hunting ground) it’s rapid enough. But anywhere else ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Honda C90 Cub (1985-2002)

£1,699

85cc, 8bhp, 50mph, Insurance group 2

The ‘updated’ version of Honda’s bum-basic commuter only needed a few upgrades over the original 1960’s design – CDI ignition is the main benefit, reducing maintenance. Otherwise, it’s still the crude but charming plod-along it always was – only emissions killed it off in the EU, variants of the Cub are still on sale in Asia.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RX50 (2006-2012)

£2,619

50cc, 6bhp, 50mph, Insurance group 2

The Aprilia RX50 has the looks of a proper enduro bike, but none of the performance. Restricted, it’ll struggle to break 30mph, and de-restricted (illegal for 16 year-olds) it’ll top 50 eventually. The chassis will cope with gentle off-roading, but ride it harder and the RX50 will be out of its depth.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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MV Agusta F4 RR 312 1078 (2008-2013)

£16,799

1078cc, 190bhp, 190mph, Insurance group 17

This is the ultimate evolution of MV Agusta’s famous F4 model, which has been with us in one form or another since 1999. The in-line-four-cylinder MV Agusta 1078cc F4 1078 RR 312 replaces last year’s 998cc F4 R 312. The ‘312’ bit of the name refers to the top speed achieved by the bike on MV’s test track: 312km/h (193mph). ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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-R6 (1998-2003)

N/A

599cc, 108bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 14

Hardcore, know the score. The Yamaha YZF-R6 is a sexy uber-capable track bike that works on the road too. It caught the 600 race rep class napping and nothing came close until Suzuki launched its 2001 GSX-R600 – that’s a long time to rule the 600 roost and shows just how good the original Yamaha YZF-R6 was.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha XT600E (1990-2004)

N/A

595cc, 45bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XT600E is about as straightforward, reliable and solid as an old school trail bike gets. The Yamaha XT600E was the last of a long line of 4-valve air-cooled Yamaha singles, starting off with the original, much-loved XT500 of the mid-70s. This is a true trailie: decent off-round and straightforward and ujn-fussy on. Don’t expect any frills or motorway ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha TZR50 (2003-2004)

N/A

49cc, 6bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 3

The Yamaha TZR50 is an act of brilliant folly but tempting nevertheless. A screaming, old-school, supersports, 50cc sixteener, with all the bluster, mayhem, carnage, testosterone and manicness that implies. Being Japanese the Yamaha TZR50 is fairly durable too, though it can’t match the performance of its European rivals.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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