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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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Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster 72 (2012-current)

£9,195

1202cc, bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 12

The new Harley ‘72’ is a blinged/tarted up custom – the idea being a full-on. Early ‘70s-style custom (hence the name) but on the 1200 Sportster platform rather than the more usual big twins. It works, too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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BMW G650GS (2011-current)

£6,195

652cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group

The GS650GS is BMW’s entry-level adventure bike and successor to the old G650 and F650GS single. Because it’s essentially a tweaked version of those, development costs have been low, making it not just the cheapest BMW you can buy but one of the cheapest big bikes. It’s competent on trails, but with a low seat height and exactly 47bhp on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ZX-10R (2011-current)

£12,999

998cc, 197.3bhp, 184.34mph, Insurance group 17

Kawasaki’s ZX-10R evokes thoughts of rip-roaring power and handling best suited to race circuits. While that may have been the case of the original 2004 model, subsequent models have been diluted to the point where ZX-10R is regarded as a decent on the road superbike but not quite in touch with the competition of the latest Blade, techno-laden R1 and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ER-6f (2005-2008)

N/A

649cc, 71bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 10

Tests have shown that nine out of 10 road testers prefer the Kawasaki ER-6f to virtually any other middleweight machine. Bandits, Fazers, Monsters, SV650s… The Kawasaki ER-6 has trounced the lot of ‘em. A cunningly-disguised riot of fun, the Kawasaki ER-6f is cute, it’s capable and it’s competent just about anywhere. You’d have to be off your rocker not to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Kawasaki Versys (2010-current)

£6,549

649cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 9

There wasn’t much wrong with the old Versys, it just needed a few minor faults addressing which Kawasaki have done. They have reduced the engine vibration which was a major fault and improved the bike cosmetically, whilst adding more extras like heated grips. It’s a jack of trades, and at under £6000 a bit of bargain all round bike. - ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki ER-6f (2009-2011)

£5,999

649cc, 71bhp, mph, Insurance group

The original Kawasaki ER-6f was universally acclaimed by MCN’s road testers and the revised ER sees the love affair continue. It’s a rare package of fun, practicality and affordability, which is great for novices and experienced riders alike. Its sporty, Ninja looks prove budget doesn’t have to mean bland, while revisions to the 649cc parallel twin engine have eradicated most of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Harley-Davidson FXDWGI Dyna Wide Glide (2010-current)

£12,495

1584cc, bhp, mph, Insurance group 14

Harley’s Wide Glide dates back to the seventies. The new for 2010 bike retains the old-school low-rider looks of long, raked and wide-spaced forks (hence the name Wide Glide), skinny front wheel and minimalist bulk. But what makes the new bike far superior is it has modern handling and ride quality due to frame and suspension updates. The rest of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Rocket III Roadster (2009-current)

£12,899

2294cc, 146bhp, 136mph, Insurance group 17

Triumph’s decision to revamp the original Rocket III into a streetfighter is an interesting one. Why? Because it hardly fits the bill – stripped version of a sports bike with oddball looks – because of its custom-biased specs of long wheelbase and weight, but it works. Big, no, no, really big engine meets menacing black styling meets awesome torque and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3

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