If you have an A2 motorcycle licence then there are some limits as to what you can ride. Currently that’s a motorcycle with a maximum of 47bhp (35Kw) and a power to weight ratio of not more than 0.2 kW/kg.
The current rules came into force in January 2013 and were hotly anticipated by manufacturers who raced to get their new A2 licence friendly motorcycles ready in time for the change.
While the A2 licence does allow you to restrict a more powerful bike to the 47bhp limit (provided you don’t go over the power to weight ratio and the bike doesn't make more than 94bhp unrestricted) not all motorcycles handle restriction well, and more powerful models often cost more to buy, insure, and to run.
With that in mind we take a look at some of most popular motorcycles that are A2 licence friendly direct from the factory.
Yamaha XT660X - £6599
The XT660X is a supermoto styled bike that’s bang on the 47bhp limit. It uses the same single cylinder engine as the XT660z and the XT660r both of which are also A2 friendly. The XT660X however weighs in at 186kg with a full tank of fuel and is on the Department of Transport (DFT) list, meaning that you can even take your test on one.
The engine is solid and reliable if not spectacular. Top speed is around 100MPH and fuel economy hovers around the 60mpg mark.
BMW G650GS - £6195
A refresh of the old 50bhp F650, the new G650 has updated aesthetics that bring it inline with its modern competitors. The engine output has been reduced to 47bhp to fit with the new regulations, and bike is named on the DfT list.
The G650 has a Rotax designed 650cc single cylinder engine that’s practically bomb proof, and amazingly smooth for a single. It’s cheap to insure and its fuel economy only rivalled by the Honda NC700. The bike weighs 192kg fully fuelled with ABS, and has a great riding position.
Honda NC700S - £5350
The NC700 is one of the most practical bikes on the market. Its 47bhp twin cylinder engine has been designed with economy in mind, and fuel consumption figures of over 80mpg aren’t unheard of.
Typically Honda, the bike is quiet and easy to ride at any speed, and being a parallel twin the engine is buttery smooth right up to motorway speeds.
It features a combined anti-lock front and rear braking system and a storage compartment large enough to fit a full-face helmet. At 211kg it’s the heaviest bike in our list and the most expensive to insure.
The CB500X is one of fastest bike in our list with a theoretical top speed of 125mph. However despite its 47bhp engine it produces just 31ft/lb of torque. Which is one of lowest scores in its class.
The CB500F is the more road-oriented urban commuter type motorcycle, naked and minimal, while the CB500X give a nod to adventure bike styling without ever being one itself.
Unlike the NC700 models that share what is basically half a Honda Jazz engine, the engine in the CB500 range is a 471cc parallel twin engine purpose-built to deliver 47bhp.
Both bikes are equipped with ABS and both come in just under 200kg fully fuelled.
Yamaha MT-03 - £7399
The MT03 is a ‘roadster’ style bike that makes an excellent commuter. It uses the same Yamaha 660cc engine as the XT660 albeit pumping out 45bhp as oppose to 47. The bike weighs around 190kg fully fuelled and will do 56mpg. It’s the most expensive bike in our list and unless you like the styling, there’s better value to be had elsewhere.
Kawasaki Ninja 300 - £4799
The Ninja 300 is the sportiest of the bunch here in terms of styling and ergonomics. While its performance doesn’t live up to the ninja moniker, it at least looks the part, and it’s easily more agile than many of its A2 competitors.
The 296cc engine produces 39bhp and has an estimated top speed of 96mph. Fuel economy varies but expect around 60mpg in mixed riding conditions.
At 172kg wet, the bike is the lightest of the bunch, but qualifies under the A2 licence rules due to its lower power output.
Interestingly Kawasaki claims that 22% of Ninja 250 buyers were female. While the Ninja 300 retains the 780mm seat height, it’s narrower than the 250 model replaces, which should make it even more confidence inspiring for shorter riders.