Sex in the city, ur­ban gems

Ur­ban war­rior? Choose your weapon. By Phil West

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Vespa GTS Su­per 300 (2009-cur­rent)

This retro-styled Vespa may not be cheap, but itõs hugely pop­u­lar in Lon­don Ð with good rea­son. With all the usual scooter city ap­peal, be­ing nim­ble through traf­fic with lug­gage ca­pac­ity, econ­omy and a be­ing a cinch to ride as well, the Vespa adds great looks, en­vi­able build qual­ity and, in this top-of-the-range 278cc fourstroke form, im­pres­sive per­for­mance. And if your li­cence or bud­get canõt stretch to the 300, thereõs a 125 too. What you’ll pay to­day £2300-£4200 But should you? For some theyõre per­fect city trans­port Ð which is why theyõre nicked so much. Honda NC700/750X (2012-cur­rent) Mocked or mis­un­der­stood by most hard­core bik­ers, the car en­gine-de­rived, au­to­mat­icgeared NC fam­ily (thereõs the In­te­gra scooter, S road­ster and X ad­ven­ture-styled vari­ant) also con­founds many by prov­ing hugely pop­u­lar (the X is Hon­daõs best-sell­ing bike in Europe). Thatõs down to id­iot­proof, twist-and-go scooter man­ners/prac­ti­cal­ity (thereõs a big stor­age com­part­ment un­der the Ôtankõ) blended with bike han­dling and plea­sure Ð char­ac­ter­is­tics which to­gether make it bril­liant across town and as a commuter. What you’ll pay

to­day £3500-£5500 But should you? No rip-snorter but hugely ef­fec­tive round-town trans­port. Orig­i­nal 2012-13 700s are the big­gest bar­gains. Suzuki DR125SM (2008-2012) Ôsu­per­mo­tosõ, or street-tyred crossers borne of hy­brid dirt/track rac­ing, are usu­ally a hooli­gan­is­tic blend of stunty fun and im­prac­ti­cal­ity that does­nõt end up mak­ing much sense round town or out on the open road (al­though they can be big fun). Not so the DR. With rugged and depend­able four-stroke sin­gle un­der­pin­nings, traf­fic-bust­ing up­right and slim trailie er­gonomics and easy ride­abil­ity itõs a friendly, learner op­tion that is great around town, is good look­ing and fun, and is re­li­able and af­ford­able as well. As with all ma­chines thatõll have been owned by in­ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers, check ser­vice his­tory. What you’ll pay to­day £1800-£2650 But should you? Few 125s tick as many boxes. Easy, fun, slick across town and ro­bust value, too. Du­cati Mon­ster 796 (2010-2013) The hip, retro-in­spired Scram­bler has stolen most of the at­ten­tion as a city­bust­ing Du­cati road­ster in the past cou­ple of years but donõt for­get the Mon­ster Ð es­pe­cially the smaller, lighter, more af­ford­able ver­sion, most re­cently in 821 guise and pre­vi­ously as the 796 and 696.

What you’ll pay to­day £5000-£6300 But should you? Peren­ni­ally pop­u­lar, es­pe­cially in cities Ð and with good rea­son. BMW G650GS (2011-2015) BMÕS long-lived street trailie has all the at­tributes of most ri­vals of this type Ð up­right nar­row nim­ble­ness com­bined with a punchy de­liv­ery that makes it bet­ter at tack­ling the ur­ban jun­gle than ac­tual of­froad Ð but with added BMW class.

What you’ll pay to­day £3100-£6000, de­pend­ing on ex­tras

But should you? A re­cent, low-mileage, fully-laden ver­sion is af­ford­able, eco­nom­i­cal, use­ful and proven. KTM 125 Duke (2011-cur­rent) The 125 may be the learner-le­gal, Ôen­trylevelõ mem­ber of testos­terone-fu­elled sin­gle-cylin­der road­ster fam­ily (200, 390 and 690cc ver­sions are also avail­able, al­though the 200 was short-lived in the UK), but itõs every bit as funky, fun and at­ti­tude-laden as its big­ger both­ers.

What you’ll pay to­day £2400-£3750 But should you? 125s donõt come cooler. If not con­strained by L-plates, the 200 or 390 are bet­ter still. Suzuki Inazuma 250 (2013-cur­rent) Never des­tined to ex­cite, the Inazuma is a great town and city bike thanks to its will­ing and eco­nom­i­cal twin-cylin­der en­gine, easy man­ners and bet­ter than av­er­age build. Its ad­van­tage over 125s is enough go to ( just) out­run cars yet still squeeze through gaps in the grid­lock.

What you’ll pay to­day £1800-£2750 But should you? As a used buy, itõll get you round town cheaply and eas­ily.

Big ca­pac­ity Vespa has the looks and the power Part bike, part car… but the NC is a strong seller right across Europe Bump up and down kerbs and slice through jams

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