Thursday, 28 June 2012 4:09 PM
Owning your first motorcycle is an experience you will never forget, so it is important you buy the right one. It may come as a disappointment that you can't begin life on the roads on a powerful bike, but you should still be able to find a machine you enjoy riding.
When selecting motorbikes for learners you should look for something that is affordable and easy to handle. Of course, you will also want a machine that looks great and turns heads while you are out and about.
Before making your final decision you need to familiarise yourself with the regulations about what bikes you can ride with a provisional licence and to consider whether you want to splash out on a new machine or are happy to buy a cheaper used motorcycle to learn on. Once you have done that, your choice is likely to come down to the machines below.
The Honda CBF125 is the UK's best-selling motorbike, thanks to its combination of stylish design, practicality and low price. For just £2,500 new, you will get features including six-spoke alloy wheels, responsive chassis and high-quality rear suspension.
It has a fuel-injected 125 cc engine that generates 8.3 kW of power, so has the acceleration you need for day-to-day journeys while still being learner legal. The bike has a low seat and high handlebars, so the riding position is comfortable, and you will also benefit from a small tinted windscreen that will shield you from the weather conditions.
The Yamaha YBR125 will give you a great introduction to motorcycling, with its responsive four-stroke 124 cc engine making it ideal for busy urban conditions. It is also an affordable £2,570 new and boasts excellent fuel economy to keep running costs low.
What you may like most about this bike is how it looks. The sleek design, together with a silver and black finish, give it the appearance of a much more expensive and powerful motorcycle.
KTM 125 Duke
Given that it is an entry-level machine, the KTM 125 Duke certainly looks and performs a lot like a motorcycle designed for experienced riders. Its 125 cc engine can generate 11 kW of power, which is as much as you are ever likely to need from a lightweight bike.
It boasts an eye-catching design, superb modern instrument display and comfortable riding position. The Duke is expensive for a learner legal motorbike at £3,795, but it is also a machine that you could envisage keeping for a number of years, even after you exit the restricted period of your licence.
Suzuki Van Van
This retro-styled Suzuki is one of the most fun bikes on the market and, as it is so easy to ride, is ideal for learners. The £3,135 machine won't get you very far on a racetrack, but its 125 cc engine performs well around town and the bike will get plenty of admiring glances.
You may well be surprised to discover the Yamaha YZF-R125 is learner legal, as it looks like a supersport bike. The fuel-injected 125 cc engine is capable of generating the maximum 11 kW of power for riders with a provisional licence and the machine comes with telescopic forks, steel Deltabox frame and aluminium swingarm.
The YZF-R125 costs £4,420 new, but its looks and performance mean you will be happy to keep it for several years, until you are permitted to ride a bigger machine.