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Sym Wolf SB125Ni (2011-current)

£2,999

125cc, 11bhp, 70mph, Insurance group

The Sym Wolf SB125Ni is a fuel-injected learner-friendly motorcycle from the Taiwanese giant. Sym pumps out around half a million two wheelers (albeit mostly scooters) a year, and this is one of their first steps into the UK motorcycle market. But… despite its great looks, the £2999 price tag puts it way above more attractive budget options, while the quality ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog (2002-2007)

£5,999

1063cc, 64bhp, 109mph, Insurance group 14

Owners love their Yamaha BT1100 Bulldogs. Everyone else hates ‘em. Depending on your point of view the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog is either a relaxing, better-braked alternative to a cruiser, rather like a Japanese version of a Moto Guzzi Breva (that won’t break down), or it’s an ill-handling, gutless chump of a thing that would sooner dump you on your backside ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GS125ES (1982-2000)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

If you want to get to work, carry a butty box and do it all on about 69p per day, then the Suzuki GS125ES is for you. It's about as exciting as cold porridge, but like the Honda C90, or Kawasaki KH125, the Suzuki GS125ES simply provides basic two wheeled transport and costs peanuts to run.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi V10 Centauro (1996-2000)

N/A

992cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 14

Centaur; half man, half horse - interesting concept, although some might say the Guzzi V10 Centauro was half motorbike, half Shirehorse... In practice, the Centauro handled poorly, rode a bit harshly and the odddly shaped saddle left the rider feeling perched on an upturned canoe. It just looked downright weird.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Honda CB1100 X-11 (1999-2002)

N/A

1137cc, 134bhp, 160mph, Insurance group 15

Non-retro naked street-rod motorcycle was a brave marketing decision from Honda. Unfortunately the Honda CB1100 X-11's sales were slow and the plug was pulled quickly. Often thought of as an unfaried Honda CBR1100XX Super BlackBird – but it’s not. The Honda CB1100 X-11 is indecently powerful, big, very well put together and slightly iffy in the corners.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z750 (2003-2006)

N/A

748cc, 100bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 13

The Kawasaki Z750 simply hammers its rivals of the time in the naked sector with a genuine 100 back wheel bee-aitch-pees, which it marries to insane looks and an addictive personality that echo its bigger, madder Z1000 brother. This could be the ultimate commuter.

  • 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 (1991-2007)

£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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Cagiva River 600/500 (1995-2002)

N/A

497cc, 34bhp, 104mph, Insurance group 8

The Cagiva River is one of the great oddballs of Italian motorcycling of the last decade. Forget traditional performance, passion and style, the city commuter River is the opposite: workmanlike, pedestrian and dull. Honest and different, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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