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Kawasaki Ninja 300 (2012-current)

£4,799

296cc, 39bhp, 93mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has hit the nail on the head with this bike. Finally the market has a practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable. The firm says 40% of buyers will be under 24 years old, going on sales of the 250, and it’s this kind of grassroots support motorcycling needs. Kawasaki also says 22% of 250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Rieju RS3 125 LC (2011-current)

£3,399

124cc, 15bhp, 81mph, Insurance group

On the surface the Rieju does enough to be considered ahead of bikes from more established brands like Honda – with a fast engine and extras like a quickshifter with the R version - but poor build quality and bad handling can’t be ignored.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia RS4 125 (2011-current)

£4,471

124cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

At £3999 OTR there are cheaper 125s but then none of those rivals have the same heritage or kudos. Despite making only 15bhp it’s great fun to ride - the fact the new four-stroke engine thrives on revs keeps the old RS spirit alive. It handles well, stops well, and most importantly looks the part. What more could a 17-year-old ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda CBR125R (2011-Current)

£3,599

124cc, 13.1bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The CBR125R has been yet another of Honda’s success stories. In its seven years of production, the sporty-looking learner 125cc has sold by the ship load all over the world, with good reason. It is easy to ride, comfortable, gives good fuel economy and, above all, it’s a Honda… For 2011 the CBR125R has been updated. The mini-emperor has new ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR250R (2011-current)

£4,199

249cc, 26bhp, mph, Insurance group 13

Motorcycling needs new blood to ensure survival. Honda’s take on this is to attract people into motorcycling with a cheap, honest and stylish workhorse – and the CBR250R is it. This all-new machine is not just suited to restricted cat’ A licence holders, but also anyone who wants a simple, easy to ride, modern-dressed machine capable of returning high mpg ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Derbi GPR125 Racing (2010-current)

£3,819

124cc, 13bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 4

Sadly, the two-stroke 125 is all but dead. The recent advent of credible, easy to ride and cheap to run four-strokes is killing sales of fickle, expensive smokers. Derbi’s learner sportsbike gets an all-new design with a four-stroke engine for the first time, going head-to-head with Yamaha’s YZF-R125.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Mito SP525 (2008-current)

£3,999

125cc, 14.7bhp, 103mph, Insurance group 7

The most beautiful novice 125cc bike money can buy – yes, it even outclasses Yamaha’s YZF-R125 and biggest competitor Aprilia RS125. The Cagiva Mito SP525 is essentially the long-running two-stroke Cagiva Mito 125 brought up to date in every area and then dressed in bodywork to honour John Koscinski’s 500GP efforts onboard the Cagiva V594 circa 1994. In unrestricted form ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Honda CBR125R (2004-2010)

£3,170

125cc, 13bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The Honda CBR125R is an excellent ‘mid market’ 125. There are cheaper to buy / run bikes, like Honda’s own CG125 but they lack kudos. There’s a flotilla of fancy, mainly European motorcycles like Aprilia’s gorgeous RS125 but they’re silly money. But the Honda CBR125R's a tidy little motorcycle with a reliable four stroke engine, safe handling and brakes.

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

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