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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 0
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Yamaha XV950 (2013-current)

£7,199

942cc, 51bhp, 110mph, Insurance group

Like any proper bobber, Yamaha’s XV isn’t for the long, open road but is more suited to the urban dude. Yamaha has kept it relatively light, at 247kg, and a super-low seat height of 690mm makes it easy to control for virtually everyone. An abundance of torque delivers a fun, responsive ride and having suspension and brakes that work goes ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Harley-Davidson FLS Softail Slim (2012-current)

£14,795

1690cc, bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 15

The Slim is essentially a standard Softail (ie a big twin with hidden rear shocks for that ‘hardtail’ look) but given (as seems to be repeatedly fashionable with cruisers from all manufacturers at the moment) the minimalist, ‘50s ‘bobber’/hot rod look. The difference here, though, is the ‘Slim’ bit. Harley’s view was that its existing Softails had become ever bigger ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki DL650 V-Strom 650 ABS (2011 - current)

£6,899

645cc, 68bhp, 120mph, Insurance group

We approached the new V-Strom full of skepticism but have been swayed.First, the restyle is a stunning success in its own right. I can’t think of any bike that looks so classy for so little money. Second, almost every aspect has been improved in terms of performance, ranging from engine and handling to manageability and range. But what’s impressed most ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Honda CBR125R (2011-Current)

£3,599

124cc, 13.1bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

The CBR125R has been yet another of Honda’s success stories. In its seven years of production, the sporty-looking learner 125cc has sold by the ship load all over the world, with good reason. It is easy to ride, comfortable, gives good fuel economy and, above all, it’s a Honda… For 2011 the CBR125R has been updated. The mini-emperor has new ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CBR600F ABS (2011-2013)

£7,349

599cc, 100.6bhp, mph, Insurance group 14

Honda Europe was asked to produce a modern-day version of its famed CBR600F, the bike that helped kickstart the 600cc supersport arena in 1987. With blessing from Japan, the CBR600F ABS is the finished article. And very good it is too by being easy to ride, comfortable, good looking and can be ridden quickly very, very easily. It’s keenly priced, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki Z750R (2011-current)

£7,349

748cc, 105bhp, 130mph, Insurance group 11

Kawasaki say they’re gunning for the Street Triple R with the new Z750R, but it ultimately lacks excitement and you don’t get the kind of performance you want from a 750 or an ‘R’ tagged bike. It seems the marketing men have gone a bit giddy with that badge. If you’re expecting a smaller version of the excellent new Z1000, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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KTM RC8R (2011-current)

£13,499

1195cc, 175bhp, mph, Insurance group 17

KTM have listened to the criticism of poor fuelling and harsh throttle response and come up with a heavily revised package for 2011. More power, better fuelling with the same stunning looks and responsive handling. No electronic rider aids make it rewarding and engaging to ride either on or off the track.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kymco Super 8 125 (2010-current)

£1,899

125cc, 9bhp, 62mph, Insurance group

The Super 8 125 is probably the most polished feeling scooter that Kymco make. It offers the sportiness of the Agility with the comfort of the Like. The ride has a nice feel to it and the finish on the dash, seat and pipes looks the best of the lot. It’s well priced too.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5

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