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Husqvarna SM450R (2004-current)

£5,994

449cc, 48bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 10

2005 was the last year the UK importers officially brought in the Husqvarna SM450R. Which is a shame as it’s an unbelievably good bike, but it was felt that the 510SMR (road bike) and SM450RR (race bike) serviced all our needs between them. Slim, fast, agile and desirable the SM450R is very much the supermoto fantasy made metal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Hyosung GT125/250 Comet (2004-current)

£2,699

249cc, 28bhp, 85mph, Insurance group 6

The Hyosung GT250 Comet is a very good value-for-money 250 commuter, and whilst the R version offers no more power, it has a good looking full fairing and the same USD front end as the Comet. There's a 125cc V-twin version too, which uses the same high quality chassis, but it's heavy for a learner bike, and expensive - nearly ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ER-5 (1996-current)

£3,345

498cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Kawasaki ER-5 has a straightforward parallel-twin middleweight commuter that’s as easy to use as a pair of pants. As a cheap workhorse you won’t find much wrong with the Kawasaki ER-5 - providing your expectations don’t go beyond simply getting from A to B.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Gas Gas Pampera (2001-2005)

N/A

248cc, 20bhp, 81mph, Insurance group 7

The Gas Gas Pampera 250 MK III is one of the great trail motorcycles of modern times. It’s particularly suitable for shorties and more inexperienced riders, thanks to its combination of easy manners and low seat height (for a trail bike). Spanish factory Gas Gas has a good history of making quality off-roaders and they have a string of world titles ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Royal Enfield Bullet Electra (2004-current)

£4,385

499cc, 25bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 6

There are plenty of cracking classics you could buy for the price of a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra . These are the Indian-built ‘modern’ takes on the Fifties single, but to be honest even the addition of electric start can’t save this bike from being something that perhaps ought to have died out with drainpipe trousers and Teddy Boys.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • 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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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

N/A

498cc, 59bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 8

Long in the tooth but surprisingly fast and easy to live with, the Kawasaki GPZ500S’s a true and reliable all-rounder. The  Kawasaki GPZ500S is a prime candidate for a “first big bike” and one with the performance and handling to tempt you to hold on to it after rivals have lost their (underpowered) appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GS500E (1989-2008)

£3,349

487cc, 47bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 7

Having been around since Adam was an embryo, the Suzuki GS500E may be a trusty workhorse but it tends not to inspire passion in riders due to drab handling, gutless performance, dreadful finish and its perpetual association with L plates. The GS500E looks ok and they’re dirt cheap but, for a few hundred pounds more, you can do a lot better ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki KLE500 (1991-current)

£3,995

498cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group 9

The original Kawasaki KLE500 was made from 1991-1998. Kawasaki’s idea of a parallel twin commuter-cum-trailie then lay dormant for a few years before being reanimated in 2005. It’s hard to see why Kawasaki bothered to be honest. The new KLE500 is uncomfortable, underpowered, uninspiring and uncommonly greedy. You’d be better off with the old Kawasaki KLE500.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki KLR250 (1984-2001)

N/A

249cc, 26bhp, 86mph, Insurance group 7

Look up ‘easy going’ in any encyclopedia and you’ll see a cheesy picture of Kawasaki’s KLR250 beaming back at you. Kawasaki's KLR250 is a fun, economical, long-lasting and undemanding dual purpose machine. Most will undoubtedly have led hard lives as introductory green laners or farm bikes, but a little TLC and an easy throttle hand will keep a Kawasaki KLR250  ...

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

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