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WK 125R (2011-current)

£1,699

124cc, 11bhp, 78mph, Insurance group

The Taiwanese-built WK 125R is an entry-level 125cc motorcycle for British riders on a budget. Imported by the same team behind Quadzilla Quads, it’s a cheap, cheerful and functional alternative to more expensive European or Japanese learner machines. It’s a little basic, quite heavily outmoded and unlikely to last a lifetime, but it’s also fairly cool, fun to ride and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Yamaha FZ8 (2010-current)

£6,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s original FZS600 Fazer and later models always represented value for money workhorses – the sort of bike you could commute and have fun on anytime, anywhere. But now the XJ6 and Diversion fills the cheap and cheerful slot left by the death of the FZ6 S2 and FZ6 Fazer. The replacement machine is the new FZ8 (and half-faired FZ8 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated.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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Honda FMX650 (2005-2012)

£3,999

644cc, 37bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 11

When faced with the prospect of an exciting new genre – supermoto – Honda eschewed the concepts of excitement and boldness and instead produced the Honda FMX650 - a squidgy suet of a motorcycle. It is perky enough if you’re a new biker, possibly, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles than the Honda FMX650. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Neval Dnepr (1974-2000)

N/A

749cc, 45bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 8

The Dnepr/Ural machines are a real antiques roadshow, which can trace their roots back to the 1940s. First seen as a Cossack 650cc, the Neval Dnepr is basic two - or three - wheeled transport. OK, it isn't the most fashionable, fast or reliable bike in the world, but you can get it repaired by a cobbler in Uzbekistan for ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki Zephyr 550 (1991-1998)

N/A

553cc, 50bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

Launched the same time as the bigger 750 and 1100 Zephyrs, the Kawasaki Zephyr 550 never really caught on in the UK and once the Zephyr's reputation for corrosion spread, and the rival Suzuki Bandit 600 arrived in 1995, the 550 was doomed. It makes an OK commuter in the summer, but it is undepowered, rides too soft and rots ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XJR1300 (1998-current)

£8,099

1251cc, 105bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 13

Ah, the Yamaha XJR1300 is a proper man’s motorcycle with twin shocks, air-cooling, a beefy braced swingarm and a colossal motor. And it’s especially lovely in the SP’s Yamaha speed block colours complete with Ohlins shocks, just the sort of thing that sunny Sundays were made for. A motorcycle to make you feel good.   Watch the video to see ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Raptor 1000 (2000-2005)

N/A

996cc, 105bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 14

Is the Cagiva Raptor 1000 the wise alternative to a Ducati Monster? Penned by the same designer, the similarities are outstanding. The Suzuki engine is more reliable than any Duke but Cagiva parts back up can be patchy and specialist knowledge scarce. Small, fast and unstable on rough surfaces and stacks of fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Aprilia Moto 6.5 (1995-2002)

N/A

649cc, 42bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 9

Whatever star quality the Philippe Starck-designed Aprilia Moto 6.5 may possess as a motorcycling design icon (and it has lots), it’s sadly more than matched by its overwhelming ‘averageness’ in terms of performance. The Aprilia Moto 6.5 is OK, in a F650/Pegaso sort of way, but you’ve got to love to weird looks to contemplate it. 

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

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