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Honda CBR250R (2011-2013)

£4,199

249cc, 26bhp, 95mph, Insurance group 13

Motorcycling needs new blood to ensure survival. Honda’s take on this is to attract people into motorcycling with a cheap, honest and stylish workhorse – and the CBR250R is it. This all-new machine is not just suited to restricted cat’ A licence holders, but also anyone who wants a simple, easy to ride, modern-dressed machine capable of returning high mpg ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda BROS NT400 (1988-1992)

N/A

398cc, 31bhp, 94mph, Insurance group 9

Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated. But the cheap grey imports are surprisingly nice to ride – they’re well balanced, steer well and the engine is flexible, torquey and characterful given its 33bhp output. That also makes it legal for new riders on a restricted licence.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha WR250X (2008-current)

£6,399

250cc, 30bhp, 80mph, Insurance group 9

In theory the WR250X is a perfect funky first bike – lightweight, funky looks and an all-new design should spell big fun. But it doesn’t – the Yamaha is badly let down by it’s chassis, which is unforgivable given the astronomic price.

  • MCN rating rating is 1
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell XB12 Super TT (2007-2008)

£7,295

1203cc, 100bhp, 133mph, Insurance group 14

The Buell XB12STT is a new, horny looking, supermoto-inspired derivative of the Buell XB12S Lightning and Buell XB12R Firebolt series is probably the most fun Buell motorcycle yet. Great looks, a stumpy and sharp chassis plus the familiarly grunty 1203cc Harley-Davidson derived engine add up to motorcycle that’s great to hoon about out. The Buell XB12STT suffers from limited practicality and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki VL1500 Intruder (1998-2002)

N/A

1462cc, 67bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Although the Suzuki VL1500 Intruder shares a basic engine design with the Suzuki VL1400 Intruder, the two bikes have very different chassis. The Suzuki VL1500 Intruder is long, low and wide, very similar to Kawasaki's Vulcan 1500 in terms of power, overall feel and ride quality. The bottom line is this however; can you ride a bike with `Intruder' written ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson VRSCR Street Rod (2005-2012)

£10,995

1130cc, 120bhp, 144mph, Insurance group 17

‘Designed for Europe’  Harley-Davidson Street Rod is a sports version of the Harley-Davidson V-Rod. So while the engine remains the same as its cruiser cousin, the Harley-Davidson Street Rod's chassis has been modified to turn it into a handler. It works, too, delivering a much more invigorating ride – still no Suzuki GSX-R1000, not by a long chalk.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda XL650V Transalp (1987-2007)

£5,249

647cc, 53bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 11

The Honda XL650V Transalp has been providing honest transport seemingly since the dawn of time. Revitalised with a bigger motor and a face-lift in 2000, it’s softly-chuffing charm and easy-going manners have won a devoted audience. Mostly blokes more interested in getting from A-to-B than having a giggle buy them up.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki DR350 (1992-1999)

N/A

349cc, 30bhp, 75mph, Insurance group 8

Suzuki’s dirt-simple dirt plugger is the bedrock on which green-laning is based. Simple, rugged and cheap the Suzuki DR350 is an easy motorcycle to own forever. It’s got its faults – a poor finish, weedy engine and a few too many kilos, but it’s endearing and enduring. If you're buying a Suzuki DR350, make sure you get a post-1995 electric ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki ZX-7R (1996-2003)

N/A

748cc, 123bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Kawasaki ZX-7R is proof that a motorcycle doesn’t have to be the latest, lightest and most powerful to be popular. The Kawasaki ZX-7R was no match for Suzuki’s GSX-R750 when launched in 1996 and was never updated significantly until it was deleted in 2003. But people love them and bought the Kawasaki ZX-7R because it looked great and they’re ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Harley-Davidson FXSTB Bad Boy (1995-1996)

N/A

1337cc, 60bhp, 112mph, Insurance group 15

The  Harley-Davidson Bad Boy has possibly the most embarrassing name in motorcycling history applied to one of the weirdest Harley-Davidson combinations. On face value it had a lot going for it: all black image, cool Springer forks, flat bars and tons of attitude. In reality the Harley-Davidson Bad Boy is a bit naff, and neither handled, was comfortable or was particularly ...

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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