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Honda CBR250R (2011-current)

£4,199

249cc, 26bhp, mph, 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Strictly speaking, the BROS 400 is heavy, underpowered and outdated.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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Kawasaki KLX250 (2009-current)

£4,799

249cc, 22bhp, 72mph, Insurance group

Kawasaki has revived a dead class of motorcycle – the cheap and cheerful trail bike. Soft power, a novice friendly chassis and low running costs are completely at odds with the hardcore enduro styling. It’s as happy getting back and forth to work every day as it lolloping along green lanes.

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Yamaha YBR250 (2009-current)

£3,799

249cc, 21bhp, 90mph, Insurance group 5

With no roadster to fill the void in Yamaha’s range between a learner 125 and something like an 80bhp XJ6, the Japanese firm have decided to bring the YBR250 in to the UK as a limited run. It’s friendly, practical and swift enough to have some fun - plus it's 33bhp licence-friendly too.

  • 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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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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Gas Gas Pampera (2001-2005)

N/A

248cc, 20bhp, 81mph, Insurance group 7

The Gas Gas Pampera 250 MK III is one of the great trail motorcycles of modern times. It’s particularly suitable for shorties and more inexperienced riders, thanks to its combination of easy manners and low seat height (for a trail bike). Spanish factory Gas Gas has a good history of making quality off-roaders and they have a string of world titles ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 0
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Royal Enfield Bullet Electra (2004-current)

£4,385

499cc, 25bhp, 78mph, Insurance group 6

There are plenty of cracking classics you could buy for the price of a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra . These are the Indian-built ‘modern’ takes on the Fifties single, but to be honest even the addition of electric start can’t save this bike from being something that perhaps ought to have died out with drainpipe trousers and Teddy Boys.

  • MCN rating rating is 2
  • Owners' rating rating is 3.5
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Kawasaki KLR250 (1984-2001)

N/A

249cc, 26bhp, 86mph, Insurance group 7

Look up ‘easy going’ in any encyclopedia and you’ll see a cheesy picture of Kawasaki’s KLR250 beaming back at you. Kawasaki's KLR250 is a fun, economical, long-lasting and undemanding dual purpose machine. Most will undoubtedly have led hard lives as introductory green laners or farm bikes, but a little TLC and an easy throttle hand will keep a Kawasaki KLR250  ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 3
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Aprilia RS250 (1994-2004)

N/A

249cc, 55bhp, 138mph, Insurance group 12

Aprilia’s RS250 is the last of a dead breed; its ring-a-ding-ding the requiem for meaningful two-strokes and their sweet perfume. Built to ape the Italian factory’s 1993 250GP winner the motorcycle perched a reed-valve motor in a near-perfect chassis to produce one of the finest handling machines of all time. Bella.

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

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