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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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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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Suzuki GSF650 Bandit (2005-2006)

£4,299

656cc, 77bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 11

A well-mannered middleweight that’s simple to use, cheap to buy and cheap to run. The Suzuki GSF650 Bandit doesn’t particularly excel in any one department, but for newer riders it’s worth considering with a low seat height and forgiving manners. The GSF650 Bandit's capacity advantage over its older GSF600 Bandit sibling doesn’t actually translate into significantly more go.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Raptor 650 (2003-current)

£4,999

645cc, 69bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 10

The Cagiva Raptor 650's smart Italian style plus a reliable Japanese engine equals a cool, capable light/middle weight all round motorcycle. It’s a blast on back roads but long motorway journeys can be blustery. It’s an extremely unusual bike – imported by Dorset dealer Three Cross Motorcycles.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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