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SMC YB150/250 (2009-current)

£1,495

150cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

SMC is the abbreviation of Southern Motorcycles, an American company delivering affordable and reliable intermediate off-road-biased trail bikes and full-on competition. Although the bikes are off American design, for cost reasons they are manufactured in China. The SMC YB150 (150cc) and YB250 (250cc) are air-cooled motocross-style machines with adjustable USD front forks, an equally modern single shock, tubular steel frame ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki KLX250 (2009-current)

£4,799

249cc, 22bhp, 72mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has revived a dead class of motorcycle – the cheap and cheerful trail bike. Soft power, a novice friendly chassis and low running costs are completely at odds with the hardcore enduro styling. It’s as happy getting back and forth to work every day as it lolloping along green lanes.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Royal Enfield Clubman (2009-current)

£5,600

499cc, 28bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 9

From the café racer styling to the air-cooled India-built single-cylinder engine, the Enfield clubman is soaked with nostalgia. Even the addition of modern-day fuel injection, front disc brake and the new 5-speed unit construction engine fails to dent the projected image of an era where ‘ton-up’ street racing and smoky milk bars were the norm. For a slice of classic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Peugeot Satelis 500 (2007-current)

£4,699

491cc, 38.9bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 9

Unlike most big scooters which aim for open road cruising ability as well as town prowess, the Peugeot Satelis maxi-scooter keeps small-scoot size and manoeuvrability. That means high speed corners and bumps are a bit hairy – but as a swift and practical commuter it’s pretty good.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Piaggio X7 250ie (2008-current)

£2,999

244cc, 22bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

The Piaggio X7 250 ie is halfway between a full-on maxi scooter and a lightweight city scooter, so in theory should offer comfort and a bit of class with some traffic busting ability. It manages it too – it feels substantial and quality but slices traffic like a 50cc scooter.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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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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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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