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Kawasaki KLX250 (2009-current)

£4,799

249cc, 22bhp, 72mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has revived a dead class of motorcycle – the cheap and cheerful trail bike. Soft power, a novice friendly chassis and low running costs are completely at odds with the hardcore enduro styling. It’s as happy getting back and forth to work every day as it lolloping along green lanes.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Aprilia SX125 (2008-2011)

£3,349

125cc, 22bhp, 82mph, Insurance group 7

Apart from the tinny two-stroke noise coming out the back of the SX125 and RX125 the new learner strokers could pass for a bigger supermoto. But get on board and you’ll find that the power and handling simply doesn’t match up to the looks.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha XT660X/R (2004-current)

£6,499

659cc, 47bhp, 98mph, Insurance group 10

The new XT660 comes in two guises – the Yamaha XT660X (supermoto-style with 17-inch rims) and the Yamaha XT660R (taller, with an off-road friendly 21-inch front hoop). Both motorcycles are neatly styled, but sadly they’re compromised by a snatchy fuel-injection that blights their low-speed performance and a dry weight that borders on the morbidly obese. For commuting fun they pass ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha TW125 (1999-2004)

N/A

124cc, 11bhp, 55mph, Insurance group 6

If you have a large camper van and need a bike to ride across beaches then the Yamaha TW125 is perfect, but in every way it is entirely impractical transport. A sluggish SR125 motor, circus clown riding position and questionable build quality make the Yamaha TW125 a bit too quirky for most people.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda FMX650 (2005-2012)

£3,999

644cc, 37bhp, 96mph, Insurance group 11

When faced with the prospect of an exciting new genre – supermoto – Honda eschewed the concepts of excitement and boldness and instead produced the Honda FMX650 - a squidgy suet of a motorcycle. It is perky enough if you’re a new biker, possibly, but unless mere adequacy is your buying criteria there are better motorcycles than the Honda FMX650. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Honda NSR125R (1996-2001)

N/A

124cc, 11.3bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 7

The problem with the Honda NSR125R, and all other two-stroke 125cc motorcycles out there, is that the newer, four-stroke, Honda CBR125R has come along and made them look expensive and unreliable. The Honda NSR125R itself isn’t a bad motorcycle, but it’s way too dear and way too hard to de-restrict. Honda NR750 superbike styling looks great.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki Zephyr 550 (1991-1998)

N/A

553cc, 50bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

Launched the same time as the bigger 750 and 1100 Zephyrs, the Kawasaki Zephyr 550 never really caught on in the UK and once the Zephyr's reputation for corrosion spread, and the rival Suzuki Bandit 600 arrived in 1995, the 550 was doomed. It makes an OK commuter in the summer, but it is undepowered, rides too soft and rots ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Cagiva Canyon 500 (1996-2002)

N/A

499cc, 33bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 9

There are no end of single cylinder commuter/trailie bikes around if you have the urge, so the Cagiva Canyon loses out for a couple of good reasons in that hard-fought battle for novice biker cash; first off, it's not the most reliable, even by Italian standards. Secondly, it just doesn't have the oomph to match its city slicker looks. What's ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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