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Vespa PX125 (1977-current)

£3,071

123cc, 15bhp, 65mph, Insurance group 4

The Vespa PX125 has essentially remained unchanged since its introduction in 1977, but it doesn't feel 35 years old. Subtle changes to keep the Vespa up to date and to get it through Euro 3 emissions regulations mean it feels similar to a modern scooter, only with a two-stroke, manual engine. It doesn't handle like a sportsbike - but a ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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WK 125R (2011-current)

£1,699

124cc, 11bhp, 78mph, Insurance group

The Taiwanese-built WK 125R is an entry-level 125cc motorcycle for British riders on a budget. Imported by the same team behind Quadzilla Quads, it’s a cheap, cheerful and functional alternative to more expensive European or Japanese learner machines. It’s a little basic, quite heavily outmoded and unlikely to last a lifetime, but it’s also fairly cool, fun to ride and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 2
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Honda C90 Cub (1985-2002)

£1,699

85cc, 8bhp, 50mph, Insurance group 2

The ‘updated’ version of Honda’s bum-basic commuter only needed a few upgrades over the original 1960’s design – CDI ignition is the main benefit, reducing maintenance. Otherwise, it’s still the crude but charming plod-along it always was – only emissions killed it off in the EU, variants of the Cub are still on sale in Asia.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Buell 1125CR (2008-current)

£7,830

1125cc, 146bhp, 154.85mph, Insurance group 16

Based on the sports Buell 1125R, the 1125CR is essentially a naked version of the same bike. As it comes it has one-piece handlebars to mimic clip-ons, but the pay-extra upright bars make more sense to ride with – far more comfortable, fits  the naked bill. It has the Buell 1125R’s full-fat 146bhp engine and, despite its unusual looks, the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

N/A

1002cc, 145bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 16

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (1992-current)

£4,032

499cc, 22bhp, 70mph, Insurance group 6

Early models of the Royal Enfiled Bullet 500 weren't very well made and you might be better off finding a 2000 onwards example of this classic Brit single, now made in India. There have been many variants of the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 produced by the UK importers, from cafe racers to sidecar combos, with the Clubman GT offering the most power ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Suzuki TL1000S (1997-2001)

N/A

996cc, 125bhp, 165mph, Insurance group 15

The Suzuki TL1000S is a motorcycle which has become the Freddie Kreuger of biking. But it's not that evil really, it just suffers from a poor rear shock design that overheats far too easily. You can go fast on the TL1000S if you know what you're doing and take time setting the bike's suspension, but the Suzuki TL1000S will always retain the ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Suzuki RF600R (1993-1997)

N/A

599cc, 100bhp, 147mph, Insurance group 14

As Suzuki’s much anticipated and long overdue early 1990s CBR600 rival, the Suzuki RF600R nearly came up trumps. Nearly, but not quite. The Suzuki RF600R's revvy engine, fine handling and roomy comfort are plusses. Frankly weird styling and brittle build are downsides. Still; good value though…

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Triumph Tiger (1993-1998)

N/A

885cc, 84bhp, 119mph, Insurance group 13

The Triumph Tiger is a versatile tourer and inter-city commuter with the same rear wheel power as a BMW R1150GS. The Triumph Tiger is handy in the bends, rides easily and the wide seat, 24-litre tank and good screen put long-distance commuting and touring well within its capabilities.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Moto Guzzi V11 (2001-2005)

N/A

1064cc, 91bhp, 135mph, Insurance group 13

The V11 is something of an oddball in Moto Guzzi recent history, but one actually gaining in appeal and charm. The first Moto Guzzi V11 was launched in 1999 and was a worthy, good–looking if heavy roadster using Moto Guzzi’s traditional and characteristic transverse 1100 V-twin shaft mated to a raft of top spec cycle parts yet let down by equally ...

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

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