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Yamaha XV125 Virago (1997-2004)

N/A

124cc, 13bhp, 60mph, Insurance group 4

If you're starting out on two wheels then the Yamaha XV125 Virago V-twin is one of the best made little motorbikes you can choose. Reliable motor, solid chassis, nice low seat and wide `bars give a feeling of confident control on the machine. Later XVS125 models have an extra 3bhp in the V-twin motor and the bike is 4kgs lighter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha DT125X (2004-current)

£3,199

124cc, 15bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha DT125X is the latest version of Yamaha’s long-running DT series, the X is the supermoto, road version and it’s an absolute scream. Lightweight, ridiculously agile and easy to ride, it makes learning (or commuting) huge fun. It’s not for off-roading (get an RE version for that) but for Tarmac-based 125cc antics, the Yamaha DT125X is hard to beat.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Suzuki GS125ES (1982-2000)

N/A

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

If you want to get to work, carry a butty box and do it all on about 69p per day, then the Suzuki GS125ES is for you. It's about as exciting as cold porridge, but like the Honda C90, or Kawasaki KH125, the Suzuki GS125ES simply provides basic two wheeled transport and costs peanuts to run.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator (1998-current)

£1,999

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 5

The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator’s a top little bike to hone your skills on with a responsive, smooth motor and easy handling. The Kawasaki EL125 Eliminator is never going to win any races but that’s not what it’s about: it’ll haul you from A to B with little fuss, enabling you to enjoy the ride.

  • 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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Honda CBR125R (2004-2010)

£3,170

125cc, 13bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBR125R is an excellent ‘mid market’ 125. There are cheaper to buy / run bikes, like Honda’s own CG125 but they lack kudos. There’s a flotilla of fancy, mainly European motorcycles like Aprilia’s gorgeous RS125 but they’re silly money. But the Honda CBR125R's a tidy little motorcycle with a reliable four stroke engine, safe handling and brakes.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Derbi GPR125 (2005-2009)

£3,599

124cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 4

The Derbi GPR125 is arguably one of the most beautifully styled 125 motorcycles ever made. On a murky day you might mistake it for a baby Ducati or MV Agusta motorcycle. The Derbi GPR125 also goes very well (de-restricted of course ) and handles just like a racing motorcycle, with firm suspension and a substantial 300mm front disc brake. The Derbi GPR125 is a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Planet 125 (1998-2003)

N/A

124cc, 23bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The cousin of the successful, ‘mini 916’ Cagiva Mito, the Cagiva Planet 125 takes its engine, running gear and chassis from the mad little sportsbike so it’s got a good pedigree. It’s also beautifully designed and knocks the socks off its competitors (largely scooters). Let’s face it, which would you rather have?

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

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