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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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Kawasaki ER-6n (2012-current)

£5,899

649cc, 70bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The old ER-6n was already an excellent bike – which is why it sold so well in the UK and even more so in Europe. So Kawasaki didn’t have to do much. Yet they have succeeded in enhancing every aspect of its appeal. The looks are better and the ER-6n is now even easier to ride and more manageable which ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki ER-6f (2012-current)

£6,099

649cc, 70bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The outgoing ER-6f was already a very popular bike and thankfully Kawasaki haven’t felt the need to radically alter it, rather improve its slight failings and make a good bike even better. The new chassis and looks are improved and the fairing adds an element of practicality that its naked brother, the ER-6n, is lacking. The seat height is low, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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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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Husqvarna SMS4 125 (2011 - current)

£3,219

125cc, 14bhp, 65mph, Insurance group

The SMS4 125 mirrors Husqvarna’s championship winning supermoto range and is equally exquisite in its detail. But is this enough for the Husqvarnas to make learner-legal off-road machinery as popular as Yamaha’s YZF-R125 has been for entry level sports bikes? The SMS4 125 isn’t the cheapest learner legal available at £3219 – but cheaper than the new Lambretta LN125 scooter ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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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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BMW G650GS (2011-current)

£6,195

652cc, 47bhp, 105mph, Insurance group

The GS650GS is BMW’s entry-level adventure bike and successor to the old G650 and F650GS single. Because it’s essentially a tweaked version of those, development costs have been low, making it not just the cheapest BMW you can buy but one of the cheapest big bikes. It’s competent on trails, but with a low seat height and exactly 47bhp on ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Victory Cross Country (2010-current)

£15,995

cc, 97bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 15

Victory is no stranger to the custom-tour theme. The Cross Country is based on the Vision, an outrageously-styled grand tourer that spins heads everywhere. The Cross Country is in the same vein – modern sharp and curved lines mixed with traditional touches of half fairing and screen, tall bars, luxurious seating, stereo, solid panniers and so on. Traditional also meets ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0

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