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Rieju RS3 125 LC (2011-current)

£3,399

124cc, 15bhp, 81mph, Insurance group

On the surface the Rieju does enough to be considered ahead of bikes from more established brands like Honda – with a fast engine and extras like a quickshifter with the R version - but poor build quality and bad handling can’t be ignored.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda PS125i (2006-current)

£2,899

125cc, 13.5bhp, 65mph, Insurance group

The PS125i is sturdy, well made and has the weight of the Honda brand behind it, so you know it’s a safe and reliable purchase. That said, it’s pricier than the competition and doesn’t perform as well. Ridden in isolation it’s perfectly adequate, but for the money there are better scooters out there.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Derbi GPR125 Racing (2010-current)

£3,819

124cc, 13bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 4

Sadly, the two-stroke 125 is all but dead. The recent advent of credible, easy to ride and cheap to run four-strokes is killing sales of fickle, expensive smokers. Derbi’s learner sportsbike gets an all-new design with a four-stroke engine for the first time, going head-to-head with Yamaha’s YZF-R125.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Derbi Cross City 125 (2007-current)

£2,156

124cc, 12bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 3

The Derbi Cross City is an off-road influenced learner bike that manages the three-card trick of being stylish, novice-friendly AND affordable – but it’s not perfect. What pricks the Derbi’s bubble most of all is the tall seat. For lads of 5’9” or more it’s not really an issue and to them I’d say buy and enjoy without a qualm. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Aprilia SR50 (2004-2171)

£2,171

49cc, bhp, 30mph, Insurance group 2

This is the basic Aprilia SR 50, called the SR 50 Street. There’s also a higher-spec SR 50 R and SR 50 R Factory. With lots of styling cues taken from Aprilia’s fire-breathing superbikes, this 50cc scooter gives Italian style to restricted licence holders. Although it only does 30mph, there are lots of performance parts available to improve speed, braking ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha YZF-R125 (2008-current)

£4,349

124cc, 14.6bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 6

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VT125C Shadow (1999-2007)

£3,299

125cc, 15bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 4

If you’re ultimately yearning for a mammoth cruiser but have yet to perfect the art of riding one, the Honda VT125C Shadow is the bike for you. The littlest Shadow looks the part, is beautifully finished, very reliable and is relatively gentle and forgiving for the novice rider. The Honda VT125C Shadow is a bit lardy, and rather expensive, but an excellent ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Sachs XTC125 (1999-current)

£2,999

125cc, 15bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

A fun, tough little bike that, in looks alone, can certainly hold its own next to the Aprilias and Cagivas of the 125cc world. Performance is pretty good: that Suzuki engine’s smooth and grunty and the handling’s great but it’s painfully uncomfortable and really quite basic. A good laugh for a first bike, though.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Cagiva Planet 125 (1998-2003)

N/A

124cc, 23bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 6

The cousin of the successful, ‘mini 916’ Cagiva Mito, the Cagiva Planet 125 takes its engine, running gear and chassis from the mad little sportsbike so it’s got a good pedigree. It’s also beautifully designed and knocks the socks off its competitors (largely scooters). Let’s face it, which would you rather have?

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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