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KTM 390 Duke (2013-current)

£4,499

373cc, 44bhp, 105mph, Insurance group

The current market seems littered with new, learner-friendly bikes, which are A2 licence compatible as manufacturers try to get new riders on board. The new 390 Duke may not have the touring ability of BMW’s G650GS or the sporty appearance of Kawasaki’s Ninja 300, but I think it should win the fun stakes and for most young riders that’s where ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CB400 Super Four (1992-current)

N/A

399cc, 52bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda CB400 Super Four, like most 400cc grey imports, is a junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 ‘Big One’. As such it’s a chunky, good-looking, well-equipped roadster that’s both novice-friendly, reasonably versatile and sporty, too. Expect usual grey import foibles (secondhand, sometimes difficult parts/servicing availability); don’t expect giant slaying performance. Cute, likeable and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated.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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Yamaha YBR250 (2009-current)

£3,799

249cc, 21bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 5

With no roadster to fill the void in Yamaha’s range between a learner 125 and something like an 80bhp XJ6, the Japanese firm have decided to bring the YBR250 in to the UK as a limited run. It’s friendly, practical and swift enough to have some fun - plus it's 33bhp licence-friendly too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBF250 (2004-2012)

£3,500

249cc, 22bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBF250 is a cracking little motorcycle, marketed towards – and perfect for – new bikers or people who want a cheap town motorcycle. Easy to throw around, forgiving of little errors, peanuts to run and with enough power to get you from A to B with modest speed. Learners or commuters will love the Honda CBF250.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB500 (1994-2003)

N/A

499cc, 57bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 9

The Honda CB500 is a first big motorcycle you’ll never want to sell. It’s huge fun because it’s so confidence-inspiring, meaning you can take it anywhere and it’ll make you feel you can push your limits. Very competent: commuters and couriers love Honda CB500s for their reliability and all-round, top-notch performance.  In all aspects, the Honda CB500's a winner.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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 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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Honda CBF500 (2004-current)

£3,900

499cc, 56bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

One of the best value commuter/novice motorcycles around, the Honda CBF500 is a decently quick twin cylinder motorcycle that's well made, reliable and handles predictably. It does everyhting you can ask in a novice-friendly package and holds its resale value too. Compared to the Kawasaki ER-6 the Honda CBF500 perhaps looks a little bit plain, but some folk prefer less flash.

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

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