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Yamaha MT-09 (2013-current)

£6,799

847cc, 115bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

Yamaha’s MT-09 middleweight roadster should be spectacular – a worthy rival to Triumph’s mighty Street Triple. Experienced riders will love the power from its 115bhp, 850cc three-cylinder engine, its ability to do easy stunts and the huge reserves of ground clearance available. Newer riders will enjoy the motor’s flexibility, light weight and low seat. It’s as happy doing the daily ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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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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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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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 XT660Z Tenere (2008-current)

£6,999

660cc, 46bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 10

The Yamaha XT660Z Tenere is a great value, superbly capable adventure bke with real off road capability. Global treks aren’t really on the cards as the Yamaha XT660Z Tenere’s vibey single cylinder engine makes hard work of pulling its 185kg dry weight. Useful touches such as the durable crash panels and front towing hoop put it in a class of ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • 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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Honda CMX250 Rebel (1996-2000)

N/A

234cc, 17bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 5

For laid-back cruising, miniature style, you can’t get much better than the Honda CMX250 Rebel. The engine’s been around forever and the light weight makes for a gentle learning curve. The lack of power can soon become a problem, however, although cruising through town is a right giggle. Just don’t try too much touring if you buy a Honda CMX250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha TT600R (2004-current)

£4,899

595cc, 42bhp, 83mph, Insurance group 9

With its low price, air-cooled, four-stroke motor and simple steel chassis the Yamaha TT600R represents the utilitarian side of modern biking. It does have some off-road pretensions, but it’s most at home pressed into the role of tough urban commuter. On the flip side, the Yamaha TT600R turns motorways into instruments of torture.

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

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