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Suzuki Inazuma 250 (2013-current)

£3,408

248cc, 24bhp, 85mph, Insurance group

Due to these trying economic time, the thought of a worthy 250 commuter, a workhorse, is certainly more appealing to riders than ever before. The Inazuma fills that role brilliantly. It’s effective, idiot-proof and economical and its classy touches, badge, two-year warranty and more lift it above the general morass. The trouble is the price. We aren’t convinced that the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Honda CBF125 (2009-current)

£2,600

125cc, 11.3bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

Cheap-as-chips replacement for the venerable CG125 offers the same kind dependable utilitarian transport but with a dash of style. The CBF125 has flown out of showrooms since its introduction in January – so much so that dealers complain of not being able to get hold of them quickly enough – and we’re not surprised. It’s a Honda, it’s good looking, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha V-MAX (2008-current)

£21,499

1679cc, 197bhp, 143mph, Insurance group 15

The V-Max is what happens when you mix 1679cc and nearly 200 horsepower in a motorcycle that's one part cruiser, one part sportbike - and all parts thrilling. It's difficult to explain just how quickly the V-Max builds speed. Cruise along at 30 mph in second gear, pick up the throttle and hold on tight... you'll be doing 90 mph before ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Buell 1125R (2007-current)

£8,495

1125cc, 146bhp, 170mph, Insurance group 15

The Buell 1125R is vastly improved in the six months since its launch in late 2007 but, make no mistake, it is not Japanese or Italian standard in any one area of the bike. The engine is a 131bhp Rotax V-twin that delivers solid punches. But vibration can be an issue, depending on what uprated ECU setting is installed – ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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 XJ600 Diversion (1992-2004)

N/A

599cc, 61bhp, 117mph, Insurance group 9

The Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is a Vauxhall Astra diesel amongst motorcycles… with all the worthiness (and dreariness) that implies. Designed from the outset to be soft, cheap, versatile, simple and novice-friendly, the curiously-named Yamaha XJ600 Diversion is pleasant, predictable and a useful hack. But note the complete absence of the words ‘desire’, ‘excitement’, ‘performance’ or ‘thrills’.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha XT125R (2005-current)

£2,999

124cc, 12.5bhp, 71mph, Insurance group 5

Once upon a time the learner motorcycle world was only filled with two-strokes. And once your eyes had stopped running the only quality trailie was Yamaha’s DT125. And it was madly expensive. Nowadays the place is full of four-stroke cheapies like Yamaha's XT125R and we should be grateful. But we’re not because de-restricting two-stroke learners was a piece of cake ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Suzuki DR125SE (1985-2001)

N/A

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to an XT125 or the like.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Royal Enfield Bullet 350 (1987-2006)

£1,995

346cc, 18bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 5

If you want to travel back through time to the 1950s then the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 is the bike for you. Great engineering details, and it actually makes a pleasant rural commuter bike, returning 70mpg or more at a steady 55mph. Needs TLC of course, like most old classics, but still undeniably good fun.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • 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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