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Kawasaki Ninja 300 (2012-current)

£4,799

296cc, 39bhp, 93mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has hit the nail on the head with this bike. Finally the market has a practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable. The firm says 40% of buyers will be under 24 years old, going on sales of the 250, and it’s this kind of grassroots support motorcycling needs. Kawasaki also says 22% of 250 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB500X (2013-current)

£5,099

471cc, 47bhp, 125mph, Insurance group

The CB500X is the last of Honda’s new-for-2013, novice and A2-licence friendly 500-twin triumvirate – the others being the CB500F roadster and CBR500R sports bike – and for our money it’s the best of the bunch. The X’s subtly larger proportions make it more versatile, more man-sized machine, while losing virtually nothing in terms of manageability and agility. Its adventure ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda CRF250L (2012-current)

£4,199

250cc, 23bhp, 86mph, Insurance group

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – this is it.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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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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Honda VFR400R (NC30) (1988-1994)

N/A

399cc, 60bhp, 128mph, Insurance group 10

The Honda VFR400R, or NC30 as it’s commonly known, is effectively a 400cc version of the iconic VFR750R (RC30) and as such is a cheaper alternative to the RVF400R which succeeded it in 1994. It has excellent handling, still looks good and a usable engine for road and track, although it’s not as quick flat out as some of the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Yamaha X-Max 250 (2004-current)

£4,299

250cc, 21bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 7

Yamaha’s YP 250R X-Max is a middleweight twist-and-go ‘maxi-scooter’. It has all the practicalities of a conventional scooter with a bit more oomph for longer journeys and decent-sized wheels and tyres for cornering confidence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda CB400 Super Four (1992-current)

N/A

399cc, 52bhp, 115mph, Insurance group 8

The Honda CB400 Super Four, like most 400cc grey imports, is a junior, Japan-only derivative of a larger model, in this case the CB1000 ‘Big One’. As such it’s a chunky, good-looking, well-equipped roadster that’s both novice-friendly, reasonably versatile and sporty, too. Expect usual grey import foibles (secondhand, sometimes difficult parts/servicing availability); don’t expect giant slaying performance. Cute, likeable and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki GSX-R400R (1990-1996)

N/A

400cc, 60.6bhp, 127mph, Insurance group 10

Suzuki’s GSX-R400 is easily mistakable for its larger brother the 750 with its distinctive slingshot looks and aluminum frame. Not as sought after as the other Japanese 400cc imports, but that keep prices low and means you can grab a bargain. Handling is excellent handling, but the engine requires a thrashing as its all revs, but it’s still rewarding to ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Honda RVF400 (1994-1996)

N/A

399cc, 59.4bhp, 125mph, Insurance group 12

Honda’s RVF400 was a pin-up race replica that had sports bike fans dribbling down their paddock jackets in the mid-nineties. The trouble was that Honda never officially brought the NC35 (its ‘factory’ code name) into the UK, which was a crying shame, although many have found their way here as ‘grey’ imports. Replacing the VFR400R (NC30), which Honda did officially ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Vespa GTS300 Super (2009-current)

£4,291

278cc, 22bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 7

The GTS 300 Super is Vespa’s biggest scooter to date and blends classic Vespa style with bang-up-to-date performance, refinement and sophistication. It’s up to more than outings across cities and suburbia: get the extra luggage, load it up and it’ll happily take you for a long weekend away touring. At 70mpg-plus it won’t cost too much either, though a bigger ...

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

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