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Vespa GTS125 (2007-current)

£3,549

124cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

You get all the style and cool of an original Vespa, wrapped up in a package with modern reliability and running gear. If you're commute is primarily on busy city roads the engine and handling are spot on. But the GTS struggles out on the open road.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Aprilia SR Max 300 (2011-2012)

£3,899

278cc, 21.7bhp, 91mph, Insurance group

There are a lot of good points about buying a maxi scooter like the SR Max. Fuel economy is one, simplicity is the other. There aren’t many full-licenced motorcyclists who would buy a scooter on these benefits alone because of the image they portray of being ‘a ladies bike’. Maybe this is why Aprilia has wound up the ‘sport-styling’ knob ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Gilera Nexus 300 (2008-current)

£3,699

278cc, 22.4bhp, 85mph, Insurance group 7

The Gilera Nexus sits between the Nexus 125 and the Nexus 500 as the mid-capacity sporty scooter in the Gilera range. The design is based around the concept of a sportsbike, but adapted for a CVT step-through scooter. It’s certainly sportier than most big scoots – but essentially it’s a commuter with a sports image.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Piaggio MP3 400 (2008-current)

£5,349

398cc, 34bhp, 95mph, Insurance group

The largest incarnation of the Piaggio MP3 retains the same reassuring all-weather grip and stability afforded by the third wheel, but with more power for motorway cruising. It’s no Goldwing, but if your daily commute mixes town work with high-speed open roads, this could be the motorcycle you’re looking for.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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Suzuki GSX600F (1996-2000)

N/A

599cc, 73bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 11

Consistently slaughtered for not being the fastest / lightest / latest but the Suzuki GSX600F is a superb all-rounder. It doesn’t cost the earth and is fast enough to be exciting too. As a cheap alternative to sporty 600s it sold well but when the budget 600 class came of age with bikes like the Fazer and SV650 the Suzuki ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Sherco 50 (2003-current)

£2,250

50cc, 8bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 1

A tiny, Minarelli-engined, screamer that’s collected a hatful of 50cc supermoto titles, including multiple French National crowns. It handles superbly, tuning parts are relatively easy to come by and, most importantly, it’s easy to de-restrict. Providing you’ve got the appropriate licence, of course. Ahem.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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CCM FT35S (2005-current)

£5,442

398cc, 45bhp, 93mph, Insurance group 9

The CCM FT35S was built as the bastard offspring of a supermoto motorcycle and a flat-track racing motorcycle comes the road-legal beauty from Britain’s own CCM. Stopping just this side of total two-wheeled self-indulgence the CCM FT35S is for folk who make statements and act the goat with no thought for such dreary irrelevances as practicality or comfort.  

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Ducati 1000SS (2002-2006)

N/A

992cc, 84bhp, 134mph, Insurance group 14

It’s difficult to pigeonhole the Ducati 1000SS. It’s definitely no full-on sports motorcycle, but you couldn’t really claim to tour on it, either. It’s hugely charming, but is not really the sort of motorcycle to thrash. Best not to worry about all that and simply revel in the Ducati 1000SS' easy handling, V-twin soundtrack and retro looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Ducati 749 (2003-2007)

N/A

748cc, 116bhp, 150mph, Insurance group 15

Preferred by some to the Ducati 999, and for good reason. The Ducati 749 is a cheaper motorcycle new or used, plus the smaller engine makes just the right amount of power for the chassis in certain road riding situations. The Ducati 749 has a kind of balance, an addictive precision, in its steering, acceleration and braking that makes it a machine that ...

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

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