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  • rating is 5 (1)
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  • rating is 4 (9)

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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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Honda CB500X (2013-current)

£5,099

471cc, 47bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch. The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CRF250L (2012-current)

£4,199

250cc, 23bhp, 86mph, Insurance group

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – this is it.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha FZR400 EXUP (1988-1994)

N/A

399cc, 64bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

The Yamaha FZR400 was always over-shadowed by the class-leading Hondas, both the CBR and V4 NC30 and NC35s, and, on track, was a little behind Kawasaki’s ZXR400 for sheer speed. However, the rev-happy Yamaha FZR400RR attracted the hooligans by the bucket load, drawn to the high-revving engine, sharp handling and high corner speed. And, as it was also always considerably ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda VFR400R (NC30) (1988-1994)

N/A

399cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VFR400R, or NC30 as it’s commonly known, is effectively a 400cc version of the iconic VFR750R (RC30) and as such is a cheaper alternative to the RVF400R which succeeded it in 1994. It has excellent handling, still looks good and a usable engine for road and track, although it’s not as quick flat out as some of the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Suzuki GSX-R400R (1990-1996)

N/A

400cc, 60.6bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 10

Suzuki’s GSX-R400 is easily mistakable for its larger brother the 750 with its distinctive slingshot looks and aluminum frame. Not as sought after as the other Japanese 400cc imports, but that keep prices low and means you can grab a bargain. Handling is excellent handling, but the engine requires a thrashing as its all revs, but it’s still rewarding to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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 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 CBF500 (2004-2008)

£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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