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Aprilia SR Max 300 (2011-2012)

£3,899

278cc, 21.7bhp, 91mph, Insurance group

There are a lot of good points about buying a maxi scooter like the SR Max. Fuel economy is one, simplicity is the other. There aren’t many full-licenced motorcyclists who would buy a scooter on these benefits alone because of the image they portray of being ‘a ladies bike’. Maybe this is why Aprilia has wound up the ‘sport-styling’ knob ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2.5
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Kymco 300i Downtown (2010-current)

£3,995

298cc, 29bhp, 87mph, Insurance group

Practicality and convenience are where today’s large capacity scooters come into their own. Such an example is Kymco’s new 300i Downtown – we say example because it is a new arrival in a growing populace of big-bore four-stroke scooters.At £3999, the Kymco’s 300cc capacity sits performance-wise between Suzuki’s Burgman 200 and 400 machines, and matches Honda’s SH300i. What sets the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Kawasaki KR-1S (1990-1992)

N/A

249cc, 53bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 10

Kawasaki’s KR-1S was the quickest mass-produced, 250 two-stroke ever (139mph being recorded in a 1990 speed test), being quicker than both Suzuki’s RGV and even Aprilia’s later (but RGV-powered) RS250. On the downside it came with slightly questionable reliability and handling that could tank slap you into casualty. Dangerous, but hugely addictive.

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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SMC YB150/250 (2009-current)

£1,495

150cc, 15bhp, mph, Insurance group

SMC is the abbreviation of Southern Motorcycles, an American company delivering affordable and reliable intermediate off-road-biased trail bikes and full-on competition. Although the bikes are off American design, for cost reasons they are manufactured in China. The SMC YB150 (150cc) and YB250 (250cc) are air-cooled motocross-style machines with adjustable USD front forks, an equally modern single shock, tubular steel frame ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Gilera Nexus 300 (2008-current)

£3,699

278cc, 22.4bhp, 85mph, Insurance group 7

The Gilera Nexus sits between the Nexus 125 and the Nexus 500 as the mid-capacity sporty scooter in the Gilera range. The design is based around the concept of a sportsbike, but adapted for a CVT step-through scooter. It’s certainly sportier than most big scoots – but essentially it’s a commuter with a sports image.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Sherco 4.5i Enduro (2004-current)

£5,300

449cc, 48bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 11

Sherco aren’t exactly a household name in the UK. But for fans of enduro riding this Spanish firm is quietly creeping up the popularity ladder. The motor’s powerful, the brakes brilliant, the ergonomics spot on. The only question is over the makes reliability, but barring some rogue electrical problems the factory seems to have answered that query convincingly. You’ll probably ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Kawasaki GPZ500S (1987-2004)

N/A

498cc, 59bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 8

Long in the tooth but surprisingly fast and easy to live with, the Kawasaki GPZ500S’s a true and reliable all-rounder. The  Kawasaki GPZ500S is a prime candidate for a “first big bike” and one with the performance and handling to tempt you to hold on to it after rivals have lost their (underpowered) appeal.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZXR400 (1995-1998)

N/A

398cc, 62bhp, 139mph, Insurance group 12

‘Extreme’ is a word that’s bandied everywhere these days. But when it comes to motorcycling, they don’t come much more so than Kawasaki’s ZXR400. Small (so popular with the ladeez), light, stumpy, extremely revvy and a fabulous handler, the little ZXR is refined essence of four-cylinder sportster with all the good and bad that implies. It’s not big, it’s not ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Beta Alp (2003-current)

£3,895

349cc, 27bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 7

The Beta Alp is available in two 350cc versions, one looking like a trials machine, the other a Supermoto. If you are keen on trials then the slightly lighter Alp 200 might be enough for you, but the Beta Supermoto 350 makes a decent commuter/weekend fun bike, although it's a tad expensive for something using a fairly old tech 350 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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AJS Regal Raptor (2003-current)

£1,195

249cc, 17bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 8

The AJS Regal Raptor range comes in three sizes; 50cc, 100cc and 250cc, all single cylinder four strokes, with the 250 the most commuter-friendly of the bunch. The smaller machines are mini cruiser styled motorcycles, with the DD100E arguably the most oddball `chopper' that anyone can buy, compete with Captain America Stars `n' Stripes paint. Made in China, AJS Regal ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4

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