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Sinnis Trackstar 125 (2010-current)

£1,549

124cc, 11bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

Produced by Brighton-based Sinnis, but manufactured in China, the Trackstar is a cheap, trendy 125cc alternative to the CG 125 or the Virago. It’s very easy to control and manoeuvre, making it an attractive option for learners or novice bikers. It’s also got the looks and charm to interest scooter riders, commuters or city-dwellers who are won over by its ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Norton Commando 961 SE (2009-current)

£15,995

961cc, 79bhp, mph, Insurance group 17

Revived Norton’s new Commando 961 SE is a ‘feel good’ bike par excellence. It gives riding and owning pleasure by the skip-load and is a machine you’ll park up and spend hours admiring in the garage with a cuppa. Yes, in this full-bling, limited edition, £16K, SE trim, the 961 is arguably more ornament than transport, but that’s’s arguably irrelevent ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YBR125 Custom (2008-current)

£2,599

cc, 10bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 2

The idea behind the Yamaha YBR125 Custom is dead simple: take the straightforward YBR125 commuter, customize it a bit with high bars, more chrome and a lower seat, bump up the price a tad, and there you go, a pointlessly more expensive and less tasteful runabout. In reality, it makes a lot of sense as the low seat makes it ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia Shiver GT (2009-2011)

£7,474

749cc, 95bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 15

The standard Aprilia SL750 Shiver is just another funky naked bike – but the simple addition of a fairing turns it in to one of the best Italian all rounders you can buy. The Shiver GT is very competent, mixing practicality with style, performance and character for not a huge amount of cash.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 Diversion (2009-current)

£6,499

600cc, 77bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 12

The new Yamaha XJ6 Diversion is the half-faired version of the Yamaha XJ6. It's more powerful, better handling and prettier than the trusty old Diversion of the late 80s and early 90s. But just like that old original, it offers practical, fun and above all, affordable biking. It’s easy to ride, so it’s perfect for new riders looking for their ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha XJ6 (2009-current)

£6,099

600cc, 77bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 12

This is the naked version of the half-faired Yamaha XJ6 Diversion. Aside from the lack of fairing, it is exactly the same spec, but somehow it has transformed the Yamaha from sensible budget middleweight to exciting mini streetfighter. With its ‘baby Yamaha FZ-1’ looks and sit-up-and-beg riding position this is a very cheap way to get your rocks off. On ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell Ulysses XB12XT (2008-current)

£8,310

1203cc, 103bhp, 131mph, Insurance group 15

Reworking an existing model to make an all-together different model can work, as Suzuki’s Bandit and V-Strom range has shown – add panniers, taller screen, other accessories and they become good budget touring bikes. Buell’s take on this is to rework the Ulysses adventure-based bike, add small panniers and top box and hope they can get away with an archaic ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Moto Guzzi V7 Classic (2008-current)

£6,932

744cc, 48bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 10

The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic isn’t perfect. It’s underpowered slightly, a tad vibey at speed and the levers aren’t span adjustable. But otherwise we struggle to find fault. The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is stylish, useful, charismatic and simply a nice motorcycle to ride and own and, for the money, that’s accomplishment enough. We’d have one instead of a Bonnie ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Moto Guzzi Stelvio (2008-2012)

£10,474

1151cc, 76bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 13

The Stelvio is Moto Guzzi’s answer to the hugely-successful BMW R1200GS. It is brand new from the ground-up featuring a new chassis, suspension, wheels, tyres and Moto Guzzi’s latest 8v 1200cc V-twin motor. Next to the BMW it’s not as fast, light or focussed but it doesn’t take itself as seriously either. It offers up more confidence in the corners ...

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

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