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Royal Enfield Trials EFI (2009-current)

£5,100

499cc, 28bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

The Royal Enfield Trials EFI is rubbish and brilliant at the same time. Rubbish because it’s slow, under-braked and ill-handling – but brilliant because it offers a unique, charming, easy-going ride you won’t get with any other bike less than 30 years old.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Buell XB9SX Lightning (2004-2009)

£5,990

984cc, 84bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

The Buell XB9SX is an oddity. What you get is an old-school v-twin in a high-tech chassis, all wrapped up in a mad-max style urban scrambler. On paper it makes very little sense – a modern naked middleweight out-performs it in every practical way. But it looks great, sounds mean and the handling is sublime. It would be a hard ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Piaggio MP3 400 (2008-current)

£5,349

398cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group

The largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel, but with more power for motorway cruising. It’s no Goldwing, but if your daily commute mixes town work with high-speed open roads, this could be the motorcycle you’re looking for.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Piaggio MP3 LT (2009-current)

£6,499

399cc, 34bhp, 100mph, Insurance group

The biggest yet of Piaggio’s peculiar MP3s has an identity crisis. It looks like a scooter but the law classes it the same as a Reliant Robin three-wheeler car. Because Piaggio has added a footbrake and widened the space between the front wheels by 45mm, to 465mm, it falls into category B1 on European driving licences, defined as ‘three or ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki ER-6n (2009-2011)

£5,799

649cc, 72bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 10

The first Kawasaki ER-6n already offered fantastic value for money – fun, practicality and decent looks for £4500. It didn’t need a revamp, but for this year it now has a classier more grown up image. The chassis has been tweaked to isolate vibration, and suspension quality was also improved in response to owner comments.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Royal Enfield Woodsman (2008-current)

£5,100

499cc, 27.5bhp, 70mph, Insurance group

Retro trailie style meets roiling museum exhibit Enfield – and it works a treat. For us the ergonomic mix of pegs and bars, fruity pipe and overall style hit the mark more than any other Electra. You may concur, or you may prefer any one of the many Clubman, Army, Sportsman, Trials etc variants Enfield offers these days. They’re still ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Buell 1125CR (2008-current)

£7,830

1125cc, 146bhp, 154.85mph, Insurance group 16

Based on the sports Buell 1125R, the 1125CR is essentially a naked version of the same bike. As it comes it has one-piece handlebars to mimic clip-ons, but the pay-extra upright bars make more sense to ride with – far more comfortable, fits  the naked bill. It has the Buell 1125R’s full-fat 146bhp engine and, despite its unusual looks, the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell 1125R (2007-current)

£8,495

1125cc, 146bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell 1125R is vastly improved in the six months since its launch in late 2007 but, make no mistake, it is not Japanese or Italian standard in any one area of the bike. The engine is a 131bhp Rotax V-twin that delivers solid punches. But vibration can be an issue, depending on what uprated ECU setting is installed – ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

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

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