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Piaggio NRG Power (1999-current)

£1,762

49cc, 4bhp, 31mph, Insurance group 4

Image is everything when you’re 16 – the Piaggio NRG has it with race bike styling and graphics. But it’s still a 50cc moped restricted to 30mph by law, so unless you’re old enough to derestrict, progress is painfully slow.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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Kawasaki ER-5 (1996-2007)

£3,345

498cc, 48bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 8

The Kawasaki ER-5 has a straightforward parallel-twin middleweight commuter that’s as easy to use as a pair of pants. As a cheap workhorse you won’t find much wrong with the Kawasaki ER-5 - providing your expectations don’t go beyond simply getting from A to B.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki GPZ1100 (1995-1998)

N/A

1052cc, 123bhp, 155mph, Insurance group 14

The Kawasaki GPZ1100 is more sporty tourer than sports tourer. Launched with zero cutting edge technology but a honking great engine with a hearty midrange that makes rapid riding easy. On the spec sheet the Kawasaki GPZ1100 is an overweight dinosaur but on the road it’s actually a great machine. Just don’t go chasing the latest GSX-Rs on a twisty road.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Kawasaki Zephyr 750 (1992-1998)

N/A

738cc, 76bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 9

The Kawasaki Z1 was an awesome bike in its day, but the Zephyr 750/1100 tribute bike - like tribute bands - doesn't quite capture the lairy, dangerous essence of the original. The 750 is too soft, a bit underpowered and the 1100 is simply a lardbucket that makes a Bandit 1200 look like a sportbike.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Cagiva Mito 125 (1991-2010)

£3,999

124cc, 31bhp, 101mph, Insurance group 7

Ducati-esque styling and the promise of almost 30bhp in (easily) from a de-restricted motorcycle make the Cagiva Mito 125 a real object of desire for anyone on a learner motorcycle licence. The Cagiva Mito 125 only just loses out to Aprilia’s RS125 in the sex stakes.  

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

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