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Gilera Runner 125 (2009-current)

£3,121

124cc, 14.5bhp, 73mph, Insurance group

The Runner is a long-term favourite in the scooter market, and for this year the original design was finally updated. Now four-stroke, the Runner is a sporty-looking and practical machine.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Peugeot Satelis 125 (2006-current)

£3,199

125cc, 15bhp, 67mph, Insurance group 4

Peugeot’s luxury-learner scooter is an ideal tool for the well-heeled provisional licence holder – it’s well-equipped, nicely made and rides well. It’s not so good out of town, but then few 125s are really.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Gilera Nexus 300 (2008-current)

£3,699

278cc, 22.4bhp, 85mph, Insurance group 7

The Gilera Nexus sits between the Nexus 125 and the Nexus 500 as the mid-capacity sporty scooter in the Gilera range. The design is based around the concept of a sportsbike, but adapted for a CVT step-through scooter. It’s certainly sportier than most big scoots – but essentially it’s a commuter with a sports image.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Piaggio MP3 250 (2007-current)

£4,199

244cc, 22.5bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

The Piaggio MP3 is mind-bending – not because of its speed, but because of how much confidence an extra front wheel affords. It opens motorcycling up to a new, safety-conscious commuter audience who wouldn’t ride a motorcycle.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Cagiva Mito SP525 (2008-current)

£3,999

125cc, 14.7bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 7

The most beautiful novice 125cc bike money can buy – yes, it even outclasses Yamaha’s YZF-R125 and biggest competitor Aprilia RS125. The Cagiva Mito SP525 is essentially the long-running two-stroke Cagiva Mito 125 brought up to date in every area and then dressed in bodywork to honour John Koscinski’s 500GP efforts onboard the Cagiva V594 circa 1994. In unrestricted form ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha TT600R (2004-current)

£4,899

595cc, 42bhp, 83mph, Insurance group 9

With its low price, air-cooled, four-stroke motor and simple steel chassis the Yamaha TT600R represents the utilitarian side of modern biking. It does have some off-road pretensions, but it’s most at home pressed into the role of tough urban commuter. On the flip side, the Yamaha TT600R turns motorways into instruments of torture.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda FMX650 (2005-2012)

£3,999

644cc, 37bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 11

When faced with the prospect of an exciting new genre – supermoto – Honda eschewed the concepts of excitement and boldness and instead produced the Honda FMX650 - a squidgy suet of a motorcycle. It is perky enough if you’re a new biker, possibly, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles than the Honda FMX650. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda VT125C Shadow (1999-2007)

£3,299

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent ...

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

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