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Yamaha XV535 Virago (1988-2004)

N/A

535cc, 38bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 8

The XV535 Virago is where Yamaha started giving Harley-Davidson a run for their money: it was the first of their cruiser motorcycles and it certainly lasted well. The Yamaha XV535 is basic, trusted, easy to ride and with unchallenging but enjoyable performance. What's more this Virago is a great value for money motorcycle and perfect for newbies or laid back commuters.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom (2002-2008)

£6,999

996cc, 105bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 12

The Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom is a far better bike than its subdued manner and slightly anonymous styling suggests. It’s heart is the excellent V-twin motor from the TL series. The Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom's chassis is top notch road-trailie, it’s comfortable, brisk and excellent value, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Rieju MRX125 (1997-current)

£2,699

124cc, 15bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 2

The Rieju MRX125 is a pukka dirt style learner trailie from Spain with excellent road manners, quality detailing and tempting price. Four stroke engine is from Yamaha so is proven and reliable. Performance  adequate rather than stunning, but all-ropund a great introduction to motorcycling.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Rieju RS1 (1997-2004)

N/A

50cc, 9bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 2

The Rieju RS1 is a screaming, old-school, supersports, 50cc sixteener, with all the bluster, mayhem, carnage, testosterone and manicness that implies, but thankfully a whole lot cheaper than rivals like Aprilia and Cagiva. Yes it’s Spanish and a little brittle, but it’s also well-equipped, massively cool and impressively affordable.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VTR1000F Firestorm (1997-2005)

N/A

996cc, 97bhp, 144mph, Insurance group 14

The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm is a brilliant all-rounder with few foibles: you’d be hard pushed not to have a ball on it. Regular refuelling’s a drag but better on post-01 Honda VTR1000F Firestorms, when capacity went from 16 to 19 litres, but it’s still thirsty. The Honda VTR1000F Firestorm has wonderful pull when you open it up in the midrange ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki SV1000 (2003-2007)

£6,049

996cc, 118bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki SV1000 is a purpose built big capacity, sensibly priced, road going sporty V-twin. Ok, the engine’s nicked from Suzuki’s old TL1000S but the rest of the SV1000 is all-new yet the price tag is very reasonable new or used. The faired Suzuki SV1000 ‘S’ version has lower bars but is the better all-rounder. The unfaired SV1000 with higher bars is a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki RF900R (1995-1999)

N/A

937cc, 125bhp, 162mph, Insurance group 15

It’s not often that you get quality and style along with 'budget'. But Suzuki delivered just that when it produced the RF900R in the late 90s. A sporty sports-tourer, the Suzuki RF900R delivered plenty of punch, decent handling, comfortable versatility and, er, odd styling. Old hat today, but the Suzuki RF900R is still excellent value.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GZ125 Marauder (1998-2011)

£2,965

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

Mid price cruiser style Suzuki GZ125 Marauder works well and makes a decent learner steed. It’s got more presence than the budget custom style 125s like Yamaha’s SR125 but it’s usefully cheaper than the twin cylinder alternatives which cost about a grand more when new. The Suzuki GZ125 Marauder makes a decent, frugal urban commuter too.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

N/A

499cc, 57bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 9

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R1000 (2003-2004)

N/A

988cc, 164bhp, 186mph, Insurance group 16

Ultra fast, capable track missile that works far better on the road then you’d imagine. The MK II Suzuki GSX-R1000 (K3-K4) thou is smaller and more compact than the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K1-K2 models. It’s easier to flick around race tracks but, bizarrely, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 makes an acceptable one-man sports tourer too.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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