Once you’ve paid your dues on a 125cc you can graduate to an A2 motorcycle. With the market in flux and manufacturers launching more powerful bikes in this class than used to be the norm it can be tough to choose. Luckily Bikesure is here to give you the lowdown on what’s available.
In the past A2 bikes would mostly have 250cc engines, but alongside the move to slightly larger capacity engine, some manufacturers are even releasing restricted versions of more powerful bikes in their range, which can be derestricted after you pass your full license.
In order to get A2 action in the first place, you need to meet a few conditions. First and foremost, you need to be 19-years old or older. You also need to have passed your CBT and theory test, and the practical test. Then it’s time to say goodbye to the L plates and hello to a more powerful motorcycle!
But what is an A2 motorcycle, exactly? Fundamentally, it’s any bike that has a maximum engine power of 35kw, which works out at around 47bhp.
Without further ado, let’s see what’s out there.
Kicking off with a 250cc motorcycle, Lexmoto launched their new model in 2019, and at £2,899, the new Vendetta 250 seems like a bit of a bargain. Of course it’s more likely you’ll upgrade to something more powerful as soon as you can, but if you’re after something a little neo-retro that doesn’t break the bank then this is about the cheapest bike you can buy new.
Honda’s range includes some of the best A2 motorcycles currently available, including the prize-winning CB500x. The CRF250 is Honda’s offroader, so if you’re into green laning and/or offroading then this would be towards the top of your list.
Of course the CB family of bikes regularly tops the best bike lists, and its current roster sees no sign of this changing drastically any time soon. Alongside the CB500x the CB500r and CB500f are continuing the legacy in fine style. If the 500’s engine size sounds a bit too much then the CB300R is far more manageable and brings that “modern café racer” style. Last but by no means least we have the CMX500, which is another retro styled cruiser, but with all the modern conveniences and improvements. It’s one of the more powerful bikes on this list, and one of the better looking ones too.
The GSX250R bills itself as the everyday sports bike, which might be stretching it somewhat, but it’s a bit more tempting than describing it as a solid and reliable urban commuter. Which it also is. There’s also a GP version which costs £100 more and has some slightly better components somewhere in the mix, so if you want to buy a blue version of the GSX then yes indeed you can. Bargain. Unless you don’t like blue.
Kawasaki have no actual 250cc motorcycles, so if you simply must have one then their most recent is the Ninja 250R which was discontinued in 2011. This does mean you should be able to find a second hand one for a reasonable sum of money.
That said they do have one of the largest ranges of A2 motorcycles of any manufacturer. Their current roster starts with the Versys-X 300. It isn’t the most powerful and has already been superseded by the Z400, which gives you a full extra 100cc’s of engine to play with. They also have A2 compatible versions of the Ninja 650, the Versys 650 and even the Z650 too. If you have a feeling that won’t be powerful enough once you’ve passed the test, Kawasaki also offer an A2 version of the Z900, which can be derestricted once you’re ready to graduate to your full license.
Yamaha’s two main A2 compatible bikes are the MT-03 and MT-07. While the 03 is designed as an A2 bike straight out of the factory, the 07 can be restricted – you can even buy restriction kits from Yamaha to add to second hand bikes if you’re going that route. If you’re interested in the supersport style, then look no further than the YZF-R3.
BMW’s A2 offering is the G310 which is available in R and GS variants. The difference between them? About £600. The GS has ABS and is slightly more capable of some light offroading, which might be enough to justify it to you. The R version is noticeably cheaper than comparable products from competitors, which has got to help if you’re on more of a budget. BMW are doing this because they want to appeal to younger, less well-off consumers.
Triumph’s A2 bikes include the Street Twin, and the Street Triple S, as well as a selection of machines that can be restricted including the T100 and the Tiger 800. Obviously these are top tier bikes and the price reflects that, but Triumph is one of the most highly regarded manufacturers for a reason so you won’t be disappointed.
Something for the lovers of retro style here. Herald’s 400cc isn’t the most advanced bike on this list, as you can tell by it being A2 compatible with that 400cc engine, but if you’re after something avowedly old school then this is a pretty solid choice. They’re also promising a full on 250cc motorcycle at some point.
Something for the wealthier lovers of retro styling here, Ducati’s Sixty2 Scrambler is an attractive option for people wanting a stylish and comfortable bike that can handle pretty much anything you ask of it. Like BMW, Ducati are under the impression that they’re aiming this bike at a younger crowd but at over £6,000 it’s even more expensive than BMW’s “cheap” entry level bike.
We’re deep in the retro zone here. While Ducati are nostalgic for the 1960s, Benelli are reliving the 1950s with their Imperiale 400. If you’re less interested in that retro look then the BN302 is their modern A2. Both options cost about the same at around £3,500 which makes them a pretty reasonable choice for new bikers.
Have we missed anything? Are there any great second hand bargains that people might be missing out on? Let us know in the comments.
Whichever A2 motorcycle you decide to purchase, Bikesure offer competitive prices for all riders at an affordable rate.