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Best A2 Licence Bikes (2024) | Specs & Prices

Freelance motorcycle journalist, former editor of Bike & What Bike?, ex-Road Test Editor MCN, author of six books and now in need of a holiday.




When you’re starting out in motorcycling, are eligible for an A2 licence what are the best A2 category bikes available in 2023 that you can buy?

If you’re between the ages of 19 and 24, get your provisional licence, take your CBT and pass your theory and practical tests, you qualify for the A2 licence category which, in simple terms, is restricted to bikes of up to 47bhp.

But with more and more A2-specific bikes available for 2024, such as Kawasaki’s new Z500 and Triumph’s new 400cc dingle cylinder duo (not to mention increasing options for larger, A2-restricted machines which we’re not dealing with here), there’s more bikes than ever for sale. So, what’s out there that you can buy and which should you go for? Here’s our pick of the latest and best purpose-built A2 bikes, in price ascending order…



Royal Enfield HNTR 350, £3899

The HNTR (called the Hunter in some foreign markets but renamed for copyright reasons in the UK and elsewhere) was new two years ago and is a stylish, retro roadster based on the new-aircooled single-cylinder engine which debuted in 2021’s Meteor 350 Custom. Although only 20bhp it’s enough for almost 80mph, is very frugal, flexible and forgiving and, in our opinion, is more stylish and versatile than the Meteor. It’s also very novice friendly, extremely easy to ride, has impressive build quality and detailing including new switchgear and is incredible value – the latter two reasons being why we’re including it here over Royal Enfield’s more powerful (but now £6K+) 650 twins.

  • Engine: 349cc, a/c single

  • Power: 20bhpTorque: 20lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 181kg

  • Seat height: 800mm

  • Top speed: 75mph



Honda CB300R, £4549

With Honda also offering its excellent, A2-specific, twin cylinder CB500 family (including CB500F roadster, CBR500R sportster, NX500 adventure bike, CMX500 cruiser and CL500 scrambler) it’s easy to overlook its other excellent A2 offering – the CB300R. A lightweight, stylish single, the CB300R fits between Honda’s CB125R and the 500 version, is beautifully put together, light, ridiculously easy and unintimidating to ride and significantly cheaper (partly as it's been reduced by £500 this year) than the 500 twins, too – just the thing in fact, if you’re operating on a tighter budget or are a little wary of the bigger, heavier 500s. The CB300R was also updated to meet Euro5 in 2022 when it also received uprated suspension and an assist/slipper clutch.

  • Engine: 286c, l/c single

  • Power: 31bhp

  • Torque: 20.3lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 143kg

  • Seat height: 799mm

  • Top speed: 90mph



Triumph Speed 400, £4995

One of the unexpected stars of 2024, Triumph’s all-new (but Indian-built), A2-specific 400cc single has garnered high praise for its novice-friendly manners, willing performance, typically-sweet Triumph handling, impressive specification and detailing and, most of all, excellent value. Two mildly different versions are available: the more road-biased, roadster Speed 400, here, with 17inch wheels, slightly lower suspension etc and the more off-road-styled, taller Scrambler X, with larger 19-inch front wheel, extended suspension, higher bars and so on which should suit taller riders better but costs £600 extra. Whichever you go for, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Engine: 398cc, l/c single

  • Power: 39.5bhp

  • Torque: 27.6lb.ft

  • Kerb weight: 170kg

  • Seat height: 790mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



BMW G310R, £5190

Prestigious German marque BMW were latecomers to the A2 category with its all-new, Indian-built, single-cylinder roadster only being introduced in 2016, but it has since been joined by a GS version and in 2021 both were also updated slightly to comply with Euro5 along with slightly revised styling, slipper clutch, LED lights and ride-by-wire. Sure, the 34bhp from its novel reverse-cylinder, 313cc single isn’t much to get excited about, but the 310R is very novice-friendly and flexible; the upright ergonomics are good; it’s easily manageable and very unintimidating and the S1000R-esque styling, complete with sporty nose cowling and inverted forks, is smart and eye-catching. It’s not bad value, either and as an entry into the world of BMW it’s very tempting indeed.

  • Engine: 313cc, l/c single

  • Power: 34bhp

  • Torque: 21lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 158.5kg

  • Seat height: 785mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen, £5599

If KTM’s lively 390 Duke appeals but you’d prefer to stand out from the orange crowd and are after something with more rugged, retro styling, the Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen or 401 Svartpilen is for you. Husqvarna is now owned by the Austrian marque and these two A2 street singles are based on the 390 Duke with the same engines and most of the chassis, but different styling, clocks, lights and so on. The Vitpilen is a low-slung cafe racer, but we reckon novices will prefer the more upright, scrambler style Svartpilen complete with wire wheels, higher bars and semi-knobbly tyres. Both are significantly new for 2024, as is the KTM Duke on which they’re based, with enlarged, punchier engines, new frames and updated styling and both have all the performance of the KTM but with more individuality and cool urban style!

  • Engine: 398.6cc, l/c single

  • Power: 44.2bhp

  • Torque: 28.7lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 159kg

  • Seat height: 820mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



KTM 390 Duke, £5699

Austrian manufacturer KTM has its roots in off-road and supermoto and its lightweight road singles reflect that heritage with an emphasis on perky performance, lary style and lively handling. In the A2 category, its 390 Duke is the fun-packed joker in the pack. Significantly updated again for 2024 it’s now powered by an enlarged, 398cc (from 371) liquid-cooled single that puts out a respectable 44bhp and is a hoot to ride, especially around town. There is also an uprated frame and refreshed styling. Overall, the Duke’s diminutive size, light weight and slimness counts against it over distance or for larger riders, but the orange Austrian is still a very tempting buy.

  • Engine: 398.6cc, l/c single

  • Power: 44.2bhp

  • Torque: 28.7lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 165kg

  • Seat height: 820mm

  • Top speed: 105mph



Royal Enfield Himalayan 450, £6250

Another newcomer for 2024. The new Himalayan 450 is the Indian manufacturer’s first liquid-cooled bike and also boasts its first monoshock rear suspension. The result is a lightweight, novice-friendly adventure style bike that’s as at home as a round town commuter as it is on green lanes. Despite the claims, performance isn’t quite what it sounds with an actually 27bhp at the rear wheel, but it’s still free revving and willing, capable of cruising at 80mph, well-proportioned and versatile. The standard screen’s a bit low and there is not much space for pillions but you can get an accessory tall screen and even full tourer luggage!

  • Engine: 451cc, l/c single

  • Power: 40bhp

  • Torque: 29.5lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 181kg

  • Seat height: 825mm

  • Top speed: 85mph (est)



BSA Gold Star, £6500

Reborn under new Indian ownership, BSA’s first offering launched in 2022 was the Gold Star 650, a middleweight retro roadster that differs from its rival Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor (and Triumph’s larger and more expensive Speed Twin and Bonneville 900s) by being a single-cylinder. That said, performance is on par but gruntier and more characterful than the rival twins and the whole bike’s style and build quality is, for us, better than the Enfield, too – although admittedly it is more expensive. If you want an authentic looking, well-executed, engaging, yet still easy to ride A2 retro bike there’s none better for the money.

  • Engine: 652cc, l/c single

  • Power: 45bhp

  • Torque: 41lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 213kg

  • Seat height: 780mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



Yamaha R3, £6508

Like most manufacturers, Yamaha offers a dedicated, A2-compliant bike in both sports and naked roadster variants. In Yamaha’s case these take the form of the sportster R3, as first introduced in 2015 and the naked, more upright MT-03, which followed a year later. Both are built in Indonesia to keep costs low and are based around the same, perky, 321cc, 41bhp parallel twin motor. The R3 received a major update in 2019 which much sharper, R1-alike styling to bring it into line with the rest of Yamaha’s sportsters, improved suspension, new LCD dash and more. The result is one of the sportiest-looking (and handling) of A2 sportsters, yet its riding position and practicality is actually friendlier and more novice-suited than ever.

  • Engine: 321cc, l/c parallel twin

  • Power: 41bhp

  • Torque: 21.8lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 169kg

  • Seat height: 780mm

  • Top speed: 115mph



Honda NX500, £6799

Honda’s adventure variant of its A2-licence specific, 47bhp, CB500 twin family (which also includes the CMX500 Rebel cruiser, CB500F roadster, CBR500R sportster and CL500 Scrambler) is one of the most popular A2-compliant bikes of all – and with good reason. First introduced in 2013 it was an instant hit for its combination of smooth, flexible twin cylinder performance in a class otherwise dominated by lumpier, lower-powered singles, while its roomy, upright performance and reasonable weather protection both suited larger riders and made it a great all-rounder. Updated repeatedly since it’s now been renamed as the NX500 for 2024 and features Big Piston forks, twin front disc set-up, LED lights, and more, enough in fact to keep it head and shoulders ahead of its A2 adventure rivals – but it’s not cheap!

  • Engine: 471cc, l/c parallel twin

  • Power: 47bhp

  • Torque: 31.7lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 199kg

  • Seat height: 830mm

  • Top speed: 120mph


What is an A2 licence?

Please keep in mind that, while these bikes are A2 licence-compliant, you have to ride a machine on your test with AT LEAST a 245cc engine that makes 20-35kW with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW.


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