The motorcycle market is bursting with bikes to suit all botties, but not to suit all budgets. For more of us than not, all that’s separating us from the bike of our dreams is a few thousand pounds. Or a few tens of thousands of pounds. But don’t let that put you off buying a new bike, because there are still some real corkers kicking about that haven’t been quite so prohibitively priced. We’ve chosen the bike that we think is the best value for money in five of the main categories of motorcycling. And here they are…
A2 Bike – KTM 390 Duke £5,099
This isn’t the outright cheapest bike that you can ride on your A2 license. That accolade would obviously be reserved for a much slower machine. But armed with a full A2, we think this is one of the best value for money bikes you can get hold of; if not the best bike in the category. It’s not as sporty as some might like but you pay a premium for that. If you want sporty you can always spend the extra £200 and get the RC390. Its thumpy little motor makes 44bhp so it’s probably as fast as most newcomers need. And it’s got a fair bit of kit for a £5k bike too. WP forks (although non-adjustable), fly-by-wire throttle, a slipper clutch and Supermoto ABS mode. That’s more tech than plenty of the bikes with much fatter price tags.
Supersports – Kawasaki ZX-6R £9,699
As the Supersport sector shrinks, the ZX-6R has been plucked out of an increasingly small pool. R6s don’t come with a V5 anymore, Honda won’t sell CBR600RRs in Europe now and all the Triumph Moto2 765’s have been sold. So really, you’ve only got Kawasaki left in the out-and-out Supersport sector. Oh and maybe MV Agusta, with their F3 675. There is, of course, the lesser sporty ‘sportsbikes’ like Ducati Supersports, Aprilia RS660 and the like, but they’re not really sporty enough to really occupy the Supersport sector. The ZX-6R on the other hand, is, and it wins the value for money award in the Supersport sector. That’s because I don’t think there’s another genuine sportsbike available today for less than £10k. It is a little basic, with minimal electronics fairly plain suspension and brakes, but it all works well together and you’re left with a real ‘raw’ feeling sportsbike.
Big Naked – Yamaha MT-10 £12,502
This is a market that is full to bursting with spectacular specimens, of all different shapes and sizes. There’s a naked bike to suit all riders and budget sizes (well most budget sizes) from a grand’s-worth of 125cc, to nearly £30k’s-worth of Brutale 1000 RR. But the naked bike that we have decided wins the 44T value for money medal is Yamaha’s MT-10.
Yes there are cheaper, but nothing cheaper is anywhere near as fast or as exciting as the ’10. And it’s the only thing that can realistically compete with the Ducati Streetfighters and the Aprilia Tuonos of this world; both models that are a lot closer to the £20k mark then they are the £10k. The standard MT-10 (as opposed to the MT-10 SP) doesn’t come with too many fancy bells and whistles. It’s got a fairly simple electronics package, but it doesn’t matter, because that engine will light up your life in a way that no ‘lecky rider aids ever could. It’s an absolute weapon of a bike.
Adventure bike – Suzuki V-Strom 1050 £9,999
Another sector that’s gone a bit crazy over the last few years is the adventure bike sector. Again, there are bigguns and small’uns. But we think the best value for money adventure bike is one of the biggies, specifically the V-Strom 1050. Like all of the other manufacturer’s adventure bike ranges, there are multiple options; the basic V-Strom is £9,999, then there’s the 1050 XT (£11,599), then the 1050XT Tour (£12,799), each with a bit more spec.
When you compare the spec of the base model V-Strom with the base model BMW R 1250 GS (£13,705), the base model Triumph Tiger 1200 (£12,200) and the base model Honda Africa Twin (£13,049), you’re actually not that far behind, but you are saving a bunch of money. It might not be as fancy as some of the others, but it’s just as capable of doing big miles in plenty of comfort, and tackling the odd bit of off-road if you need to.
Litre Sportsbike – BMW S 1000 RR £15,590
The all-singing, all-dancing version of the ‘Double R’ crushed the opposition in our 2020 Superbike Megatest. But with its carbon fibre wheels and its electronic suspension comes a £20k price tag. At £15,590 though, the cooking version is a long way from being a second rate motorbike. In the £15k-ish category fall a decent handful of models. Kawasaki’s new ZX-10R (£15,799), Suzuki’s geriatric (but still fairly handy) GSX-R1000 (£14,199) and Yamaha’s standard YZF-R1 (£16,947). On paper, on the road and on the racetrack, the stock BMW would probably have the advantage. It’s as close to 200bhp as anything else, it’s got bags of tech and reasonable brakes. It might not turn as quickly as its carbon wheeled cousin, but the ‘basic’ Beemer can still throw some solid shapes on track, even with an average rider in its saddle.