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Trail Motorcycle Reviews

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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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MZ SX125 (2002-2005)

N/A

124cc, 14.6bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

It's like Skoda cars; once you get your head around the concept of riding an MZ, you'll probably realise how good they can be. The MZ SX125 has a gutsy little 15bhp motor, a lanky lad sized chassis and decent off-road ability if you fancy it. Bit expensive compared to Far Eastern 125s, but well made.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 87mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Honda XR125L (2003-2010)

£2,349

124cc, 11bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Honda XR125L is not a 'true' XR (just check out the electric start and the large tank range) maybe, but this is a great little commuter and green-laner. It lacks power up top but there’s more than enough for town riding and a spot of weekend fun off-road. It looks absolutely gorgeous, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DR-Z400S (2001-2008)

£4,199

398cc, 39bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock. The DR-Z400S is tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. The Suzuki DR-Z’400S' bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XL125 Varadero (2001-2009)

£4,470

125cc, 15bhp, 72mph, Insurance group 6

Although only a 125, there’s plenty of big bike feel with the Honda XL125 Varadero. The proportions are right, the motor feels spunky and as it’s a Honda you know it’s not going to fall apart beneath you. As a first bike or commuter the Honda XL125 Varadero represents a clever investment with its low insurance group and parsimonious fuel ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki KLR650 (1987-2002)

N/A

651cc, 42bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 8

There’s nothing quite so surprising as something utterly unremarkable. And so it is with the Kawasaki KLR650 – it’s comfortable, grunty, quiet and reliable. Forget your fancy-pants BMW R1200GS' - providing you can live with adjusting and lubing a chain the Kawasaki KLR650 is at least as good at overlanding and a mere fraction of the price.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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CCM 604 (1998-2002)

N/A

598cc, 52bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 11

CCM’S 604 came in a wide variety of styles; from supermoto to green laner to roadster. But mechanically each one was essentially the same hardy Rotax motor and quality suspension propelling an oil-in-the-frame chassis. Although they made way for the Suzuki-engined 644 in 2003 the older 604 is still a good, cheap motorcycle providing you look after it.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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CCM 644E Trail (2002-current)

£4,618

644cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The CCM 644E Trail is a versatile Suzuki-powered single-cylinder thumper can turn from greenlaning motorcycle to supermoto motorcycle in just 15 minutes thanks to a simple swap of wheels. It’s loud, tough, cheap secondhand and great fun providing you steer clear of long straights and pillions.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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BMW F650 (1993-2007)

N/A

652cc, 50bhp, 106mph, Insurance group 9

Born as the baby to the BMW R1150GS (now 1200cc), the BMW F650GS has a long and credible pedigree, including a string of varients. The BMW F650 has off-road pretentions but, in the real world, is a sturdy and sensible road motorcycle (the BMW F650 Dakar’s the one for the green lanes), it deals with most situations with predictable power and confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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