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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Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated.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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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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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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Royal Enfield Electra EFI (2008-current)

£4,000

500cc, 27.5bhp, 82mph, Insurance group 6

This new version of the Enfield Electra may look the same, and to be fair in alot of ways that count it is, but in fact it features an all new unit construction engine with fuel-injection, dragging it kicking and screaming into this century to meet Euro 3 emission laws. This is a motorcycle with alot of charisma- a throwback from a bygone ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Kawasaki 250R Ninja (2008-2011)

£4,649

249cc, 32.5bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 9

The American market has been a big success for the Kawasaki Ninja 250 range for years and years and… But even the Yanks need a fresh brew every now and then and the Ninja 250R is the latest offering. Fortunately for 33bhp probationary riders in mainland Europe and the UK, we are getting the bike too, complete with emissions compliant fuel ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha T-Max (2001-2011)

£8,299

499cc, 40bhp, 100mph, Insurance group 9

If you want to tour occasionally, a Deauville 650 does it better. If you want to commute, a YP250 Majesty is probably all you'll ever need. So where does that leave the maxi-scooter Yamaha YP500 T-Max? Good fun to ride, but just too expensive for most urban riders sadly.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XV250S Virago (1995-2001)

N/A

248cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Yamaha XV250S Virago is a trusty, reliable and easy to ride option on which to hone your biking skills. If you fancy a big cruiser later on, the Yamaha XV250S Virago is a great place to start: it’s got the looks and appears bigger than a 250, so you won’t feel left out down at the Ace. The Yamaha ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha YP400 Majesty (2004-current)

£6,299

395cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 8

The Yamaha YP400 Majesty is a fair bit heavier than the 250, but has beefed up suspension and a much more touring biased set of bodywork panels. It's supremely comfortable, good on fuel, but the 125/250 Majesty makes a better commuter than the Yamaha YP400 Majesty and the T-Max makes a better maxi scooter for another £700.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star (2000-2004)

N/A

249cc, 21bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

When the XV250S Virago was discontinued, the new Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star replaced it. They’re very similar and that’s good news for owners: the long-running Virago branch of the Yamaha family has a great reputation. The little Yamaha XVS250 Drag Star is just as good and, if your heart’s set on a smaller capacity cruiser, you’ll find it hard to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (1992-current)

£4,032

499cc, 22bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

Early models of the Royal Enfiled Bullet 500 weren't very well made and you might be better off finding a 2000 onwards example of this classic Brit single, now made in India. There have been many variants of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 produced by the UK importers, from cafe racers to sidecar combos, with the Clubman GT offering the most power ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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