Top 10 A2 licence friendly bikes

Off-the-shelf A2-ready machines rated

WHILE restrictor kits mean you can convert virtually anything with less than 94hp into a sub-47hp machine that’s legal to use with an A2 licence, many would prefer to buy something that’s purpose-made for the job.

This year has seen the launch of a host of new or revamped models developed with the A2 licence in mind, so the choice is getting ever wider, ranging from bikes that are just a baby step up from a learner-legal 125 to big beasts that belie their novice-friendly power output.

10. Benelli BN302

With intermittent UK supplies and problems at the factory it’s been hard to judge Benelli’s potential in recent years, but on paper its new BN302 looks like a decent proposition despite its obvious Chinese roots. Its 300cc twin pits it against the likes of the Ninja 300 and Z300, and with a claimed 36hp it’s not far off in terms of power. Price, reliability and availability will make or break it, though.

9. Suzuki Inazuma 250F

Adding a fairing to the aesthetically-challenged Inazuma was never going to turn Quasimodo into Prince Charming, and it doesn’t. But the little Suzuki has been a sales hit in naked form despite its ungainly looks, with owners more interested in practicality and economy than style, and the even more practical faired version promises to build on the earlier bike’s success.

8. Yamaha T-Max

The T-Max virtually created the big scooter class that exists today and its had just enough in terms of 2015 tweaks to make it onto this list as a ‘new’ model. In fact, all that’s new are the 41mm upside down forks and radial brakes (words that, just a few years ago, would have only graced a superbike’s spec sheet), but the T-Max remains a great bike for commuting and longer-distance work. Power-wise, it slots in right at the 47hp limit, too. 

7. Honda CB300F

Making a naked version of the CBR300R was an obvious move for Honda, and it has potential to be a winner – but only if Honda decides to offer it over here. It’s already on the market in America and could be a credible rival to the two new Kawasaki naked bikes in the same class.

6. Kawasaki Z250SL

Having both the Z300 and the Z250 in the range – and both as brand new models – seems a bit odd, but there’s actually a noticeable distinction between the machines. Where the 300 is based on the age-old parallel twin engine, the Z250SL is all new, with a single-cylinder motor and a new trellis frame. At £3,649 it’s significantly cheaper than the twin, but 11hp down at just 28hp.

5. Kawasaki Z300

It's taken a while for Kawasaki to get around to making a naked version of its Ninja 300 parallel twin, but the Z300 should be worth the wait. A2 legal out of the box, with Z1000-inspired looks and a £4,349 price, it should be a great choice.

4. Kawasaki Ninja 250SL

While we’d probably pick the Z300 over the Z250SL, it’s easier to make a case for the single cylinder Ninja 250SL vs its older, twin-cylinder Ninja 300 sibling. It’s all down to price, and the faired 250SL, at £3,849, is £1,350 cheaper than the twin. It’s also significantly less than Honda’s CBR300R single. If you only want a small step up from a 125, it makes sense.

3. KTM RC390

Although it was shown more than a year ago, production for the RC390 has only recently come on-stream, effectively making it a 2015 model. It’s a blinder, too. At £5k it’s not cheap, but it’s less than a Honda CBR500R and it demolishes the cheaper CBR300R in terms of performance and handling.

2. Moto Guzzi V7 II

The Guzzi V7 has long been one of our favourite retro machines and for 2015 it gets better, with ABS, traction control and a six-speed gearbox, plus revised geometry. It comes as something of a surprise to discover that, in standard form, this big 700cc twin makes exactly 35kW (47hp), so it’s spot-on for the A2 licence. It looks great, too, whether in ‘Stone,’ ‘Special’ or ‘Racer’ form, and with prices starting at around £7,000, is relatively cheap for something that’s rather more exotic than your average newby bike.

1. Yamaha YZF-R3

Not since the days of 250cc two-strokes has a small sports bike garnered as much attention as the R3, and every new detail has confirmed its position as a market leader – the latest being a UK price of £4,799. That’s £400 less than a Ninja 300 and £200 less than a KTM RC390. Sure, it’s £500 more than a CBR300R, but you’re getting an extra cylinder and 12hp, which has got to be worth it. Looks great, too.

More top 10s:

Top 10 oddball 500cc GP and MotoGP bikes

Top 10 land speed record bikes

Top 10 EICMA oddities

Top 10 pointless motorcycle innovations

  • Sign up for Visordown's weekly newsletter, Bugsplat, to get the best motorcycle news, road tests and features plus exclusive competitions and offers direct to your inbox. Register as a Visordown member here and tick the box for Bugsplat in your newsletter settings here.