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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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Yamaha MT-09 (2013-current)

£6,799

847cc, 115bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Yamaha’s MT-09 middleweight roadster should be spectacular – a worthy rival to Triumph’s mighty Street Triple. Experienced riders will love the power from its 115bhp, 850cc three-cylinder engine, its ability to do easy stunts and the huge reserves of ground clearance available. Newer riders will enjoy the motor’s flexibility, light weight and low seat. It’s as happy doing the daily ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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BMW C650GT (2012-current)

£9,795

647cc, 60bhp, 108mph, Insurance group

A competent maxi scooter with a claimed 108mph top speed and armchair comfort. Well equipped, with ABS and electronically adjustable screen as standard, plus two glove boxes and a large under-seat compartment. Optional heated grips and seat available in a ‘Highline’ version for an extra £750. Not as nimble or fast as the C600 Sport model despite sharing the same ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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KTM 125 Duke (2011-current)

£3,999

124cc, 15bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 7

If you’re looking to get your license, learn to lift either wheel or pursue some lightweight urban thrills, the 125 Duke can do it for you. It doesn’t seem like a regular, budget 125 machine; It feels like a premium motorcycle that just-so-happens to be low capacity. It’s a shame engine modifications only allow restriction and not an enhancement of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • 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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