19 A2-friendly machines with ABS

ABS has long been a common option on big bikes. Now manufacturers are increasingly realising newer riders might benefit too

THE mere mention of ABS is enough to provoke from some riders a self-righteous lecture about electronics being no substitute for ability. Which is all well and good if you don't mind learning the hard way.

But if you'd rather minimise the chances of crashing your first bike by locking the front, you may want to ignore the dinosaurs and get one with ABS.

In the past, ABS has been the preserve of large-capacity motorcycles aimed at experienced riders, while novices have ironically been expected to rely on skill. Now it seems finally to have dawned on manufacturers that the less experienced might benefit too (if we weren't so generous we might attribute it to impending EU regulations). A growing number are  introducing the technology on machines fit for the beginners' A2 licence category, with a 47hp power limit.

Possibly about time. A recent study by the German Federal Highway Research Institute concluded fitting all motorcycles over 50cc with ABS would reduce serious and fatal accidents by 12%. 

Here are 19 A2-compliant bikes that could save you from the perils of panic braking.

BMW G650GS, £6,195

Mid-capacity adventure bike for the A2-class rider who’s looking for a mini adventure. The G650GS is a big bike for the novice rider which shows A2 doesn’t mean boring.

Honda CBR500R, £5,099

Just over £5k will get you this sexy little CBR. Over 76mpg, ABS and Honda build-quality mean your first couple of years on a bike should be trouble-free and fun.

Honda CB500X, £5,099

One of the best-value new bikes of 2013. The CB500X has big-bike looks but is A2-compliant, and makes a perfect first motorcycle. 

Honda NC700X, £5,999 (£6,899 with DCT)

Multi-purpose motorcycling with Honda's optional semi-automatic Dual Clutch Transmission. From 2014 it gets a capacity and power boost taking it beyond A2 licence limits, so you'd better get one now.

Honda NC700S, £5,499 (£6,399 with DCT)

Part of the trio of Honda multi-platform machines, the NC700S is a bit plain looking to some but nevertheless highly competent. Like the NC700X, it's no longer A2-compliant from 2014.

Honda VT750S Shadow, £7,599

You can be king of the cruisers on an A2 licence with the Honda Shadow. Get V-twin torque with mean custom looks. Meanish, anway.

Honda SH125i, £2,850 (£3,000 with ABS)

The mini SH125i is a great little commuter scooter; ideal for town transport. Honda are leaders when it comes to fitting scooters with ABS.

Honda S-Wing 125, £3,949

Like many decent 125s the S-Wing will do an indicated 70mph in perfect comfort. Styling is a bit understated but it will suit the conservative-minded commuter. 

Honda NSS300 Forza, £4,499

This scooter was new for 2013. The Forza has futuristic styling, a fairly strong engine and should appeal to the longer-distance scooter commuter. 

Honda SH300i, £4,749

The SH300i is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Its mild-mannered looks mask a potent engine and sharp handling. Good for humiliating motorcyclists in the city.

Kawasaki Ninja 300, £4,799 (£5,199 with ABS)

This mini-sized sports bike might not be quite as exciting as the quarter-litre stokers of the past but it looks the part. It's also more economical and reliable. 

KTM Duke 125, 200 and 390, £3,999/£4,195/£4,499

From the learner-legal 125 to the 43hp 390, there's someone for a range of riders in the Duke range, and all come with ABS.

Suzuki Burgman 400Z, £6,399

Suzuki invented the maxi scooter as we know it and this mid-capacity Burgman comes with all the refinements you’d expect, including ABS. 

Vespa 946, £7,812

The limited-edition Vespa 946 comes with ABS and ASR traction control. At £7,812, we should hope so too. 

Peugeot Satelis 125, £3,999

An executive scooter with ABS, great styling and a liquid cooled, fuel injected engine. An extra £200 gets you the sportier RS version. 

Piaggio Beverly 350, £4,491

This well spec’d large-wheeled step-thru may have an unfortunate name but it was the first scooter to come with ASR traction control. It also has ABS and is great fun. 

Piaggio X10 350, £5,291

This executive scooter from the Piaggio stable shares the same engine as the Beverley and comes with ABS/ASR as standard.

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