Sex in the city, urban gems
Urban warrior? Choose your weapon. By Phil West
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.