Author: Iggy Grainger Posted: 29 Oct 2014
Our winters are milder than they used to be and on all but the snowiest of days we can usually use a bike year round if we want to. Having said that though it’s not really a good idea to use your ‘best bike’ with all the road salt, ice and rain so what can we buy for less than £2,500 that will see us through winter and still be practical?
Here’s our Top Ten in no particular order…
1: A winter machine doesn’t have to be boring so what about a classic two stroke Gilera Runner? This 180cc provides enough thrills to keep you entertained and cost me just £800 recently. Expect to pay between £1000-1800 though for one as clean as this unless you’re lucky.
2: Around £2200 will buy you a 2008 Piaggio MP3 250, they’re perfect winter machines. Once you get your head around the fact it has an extra front wheel you can ride as hard in the wet as you can in the dry. Check steering bearings for wear though first if buying without a warranty, they’re expensive to replace.
3: How about a bit of mild super-motard fun? The Suzuki DRZ-400 SM is cheap enough; you can buy a 2006 machine for £2200 quite easily. Chuck some winter tyres on and go across country to work in the snow! Super Motard fun on a budget.
4: The KSR Code (formerly Generic) is one of those bikes you can just jump on and enjoy. It may be ‘just’ a 125 but it looks great, rides perfectly and is priced to sell at just £1799, brand new. It makes a perfect commuter bike, learner machine or winter hack.
5: Honda Deauville’s may not be the first choice for most riders looking for thrills but as a winter tool they’re affordable, not too thirsty and they’ve got built in storage to keep all your layers and waterproofs in. A nice condition 1998 model can be had for just £1395.
6: At the top end of our budget comes the Kawasaki ER6F, £2495 will buy you a 2008 model in great condition from a dealer, so it comes with a warranty as well. The ER6 is one of those often forgotten bikes that are actually surprisingly good fun to ride.
7: KTM’s Duke is a great all-rounder, ok it might not have much in the way of weather protection but it does have a bit of character, great looks and it’s nice and light. The 125 and 200cc Dukes have been around for a couple of years now and you can get either for less than our budget.
8: How about a new bike for winter? The Sinnis Apache 250 uses a fuel injected 19.3bhp Suzuki based engine, it isn’t the fastest 250 on the planet but it looks good, is fun to ride and is cheap enough at just £2499. The bike has a digital dash, floating discs and a dealer network to fall back on.
9: It’s not great to look at, isn’t exciting to ride and won’t stop the weather getting at you but the Yamaha YBR125 is dependable, cheap, easy to ride and fuel-efficient. Like most bikes you can expect the odd bit of corrosion but for a grand you’ll get a dependable 2010 machine that you can stick in a shed in spring and ride away again next winter.
10: A British bike is built for year round use, or at least it should be! This Triumph Tiger 955i will set you back around £2300 and comes with panniers and a top box. It’s a decade or so old but still looks good and rides well too. You won’t be disappointed.
What would you recommend?