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Best cheap A2 motorbikes (2023)

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.



Top Best A2 Bargains Used Bikes for sale_01


If you’re between 19 and 24 and qualify for the A2-licence category, there are more bikes than ever available to you thanks to the launches of new machines such as Honda’s CB500 series, including the hugely popular CB500X adventure bike, Yamaha’s MT-03 roadster and Kawasaki’s recent reintroduction of its Ninja 400 sportster.

But with those newcomers sometimes costing over £6000 many are out of reach for those on a tighter budget of, say, £3000, when you’re mostly looking at quality used bikes that are for sale? With that in mind, what are the best value, used A2 machines out there? Here’s our current pick of the crop.



2012-2017 Kawasaki Ninja 300, £2900 - 4000

Although the 39bhp, twin cylinder, ‘junior ZX-10R’ is no budget machine – in fact quite the opposite: it’s one of the best performing, most classy and well-equipped sports A2 machines out there – it does benefit from being one of the longest established, too. And that’s great for used buyers. The good-looking, revvy, fun and fine-handling Kawasaki was first introduced back in 2012 and was a class-leader right up to being deleted in 2017. It’s also a great, unintimidating and entertaining introduction to sports bikes. An upgraded 398cc, 44bhp Ninja 400 replaced it from 2018 to 2021 and that bike has now been revived and updated again for 2023, but both of those are well out of this budget. But the 300 is still a great buy, there are plenty of used examples around, reliability and quality is top notch and £3000 should buy you a good one with well under 20,000 miles under its wheels.

  • Engine: 296cc, l/c twin

  • Power: 39bhp

  • Torque: 20 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 172kg

  • Seat height: 785mm

  • Top speed: 93mph


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2011-current KTM 390 Duke, £2400 - £5500

It’s almost impossible to talk about A2 category machines without mentioning KTM’s stunty, hilarious, 390 Duke. The sassy street single was first launched in 2011 as a bigger brother to the A1 learner class Duke 125, and junior sibling to 690 version, its punchy, liquid-cooled single produces an A2 licence compliant 44bhp and being bolted into a lightweight, sharp and ultra-nimble chassis makes the Duke 390 hilarious fun (if a little stretched on longer trips). It received a major upgrade in 2017 with Euro5 compliant engine tweaks, sharp new LED headlight and fancy new TFT dash, but our three grand budget dictates it’ll be the earlier version. Don’t worry, though, performance is virtually identical, if it’s in good nick it’s pretty solid and as long as it has been looked after reliability isn’t a serious worry, either. If you can stretch to it, however, the 2017 version can be had from about £3400-up.

  • Engine: 373cc, l/c single

  • Power: 44bhp

  • Torque: 26 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 139kg

  • Seat height: 800mm

  • Top speed: 105mph



2006-2016 Yamaha MT-03, £2700-£4500

Launched just after its V-twin MT-01 big brother, this 660cc street single, using the 45bhp engine from the XT660 trailie, always suffered a little from the association with its oddball, unsuccessful larger sibling and has since been overshadowed by the all-new, R3-based MT-03 parallel twin (from 2016) – but it’s still a great, A2-compliant, first time big bike. It’s good looking, well built, light, nimble, punchy and easy to ride. It’s also pretty durable and reliable, fun around town, is particularly suited to smaller riders and stands out in a crowd as well. The 2016-on twin, by the way, is a good A2 offering, too, offers a smoother ride from its twin cylinder 321cc engine, puts out a decent 41.4bhp and is also easy to ride and sweet handling– but there aren’t yet many available for this money, with only a few 2016 examples around at this sort of money.

  • Engine: 660cc, l/c single

  • Power: 45bhp

  • Torque : 41 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 174kg

  • Seat height: 805mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



1988-2004 Yamaha XV535S Virago, £1800-3500

Another oldie but still an A2-compliant goodie – if you can find a clean one. Produced between 1988 and 2004, Yamaha’s lightweight, middleweight cruiser had it all: great custom style with lashings of chrome, manageable, novice-friendly light weight and slim and low dimensions and, best of all, a willing, flexible, 38bhp peach of an air-cooled, SOHC V-twin engine. The little Yamaha was long lived and very popular, so there are still plenty about, and even though aging by modern standards today, the fact that it’s a laid back, entry-level cruiser means all that doesn’t seem to matter too much. We’ve seen examples being offered for as little as £1800 but our advice is to hunt out a good one. £2800 should buy you a 10,000-miler with good cosmetics and chrome (important on a cruiser) that’s also been well-maintained and molly-coddled.

  • Engine: 535cc, V-twin

  • Power: 38bhp

  • Torque: 32 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 182kg

  • Seat height: 720mm

  • Top speed: 100mph



2009-current Vespa GTS300 Super, £2200 - £6600

Vespa’s definitive, classic, retro-styled, Italian scooter has never been cheap and in its largest 300cc (but still A2-compliant) GTS form it’s about as luxurious and fashionable as scooters get. But that comparatively high price is justified by its style and specification, and it’s now also been around so long (and proved so popular) that you should be able to get a decent older example for well under three grand. The 22bhp four-stroke engine is well within A2 requirements yet is decently brisk around town. It’s a doddle to ride thanks to its ‘twist n go’ automatic transmission and manageable proportions and, with plenty of luggage space and some weather protection from its leg guards it’s very practical, at least as a round town commuter, too.

  • Engine: 278cc, l/c single

  • Power: 22bhp

  • Torque: 16.4 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 148kg

  • Seat height: 790mm

  • Top speed: 80mph



2016-current BMW G310R, £2900 - £5500

Premium German brand BMW launched its first introductory, novice-friendly, A2 class bike back in 2016 and it’s proved a great introduction to the marque. Although built in India quality is good. Although built down to a price it’s reasonably equipped and, best of all, as a straightforward single-cylinder roadster with slightly diminutive compact and lightweight proportions it’s utterly unintimidating and easy to ride. It might not be as thrilling as KTM’s 390 Duke or as fast and long-legged as Honda’s CBR500R but, for most, it’s more than enough, comes with the reassurance of the BMW badge and also has the bonus of being offered in semi-adventure bike G310GS form. What’s more, although now costing over £5000 new (it was also mildly updated in 2021), £3000 should get you a low mileage 2019 example in immaculate condition.

  • Engine: 313cc, l/c single

  • Power: 34bhp

  • Torque : 21 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 158kg

  • Seat height: 785mm

  • Top speed: 105mph



2014-current Honda CBR500R, £2850 - £6700

Honda paved the way for A2 category motorcycles when it introduced its all-new, purpose built, A2-compliant CB500 family in 2014. Initially a trio comprising the CB500F roadster, CBR500R sportster and CB500X adventure styled bike, all have been huge sellers, been repeatedly updated and refreshed since and also seen the subsequent addition of the CMX500 Rebel cruiser and, for 2023, the CL500 scrambler. The basics, however, of a class-leading 47bhp, 471cc parallel twin engine housed in a fairly basic but effective tubular steel chassis with shared brakes, wheels, clocks and so on, have remained the same. They’re durable and reliable, too. Now well over £6K new, we’d recommend used versions of any but are picking out the sports CBR here. Budget considerations means it has to be an early example but, performance-wise there’s little difference and you’ll be getting one of the best sporty A2 all-rounders you can buy.

  • Engine: 471cc, l/c twin

  • Power: 47bhp

  • Torque: 31 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 194kg

  • Seat height: 790mm

  • Top speed: 112mph



2021-current Royal Enfield Meteor 350, £2750 - £4500

Resurgent Royal Enfield seem to be the masters of affordable, mid-range, novice friendly bikes these days, as the huge success of its 650 twin cylinder Interceptor and Continental GT prove. But those two Indian-built bikes’ popularity means even they don’t yet fall inside our £3K A2 budget. But fear not. Royal Enfield’s more recent Meteor 350, although even newer, by virtue of a smaller engine and even lower new price, no does. The Meteor’s no powerhouse, admittedly. Its 349cc single produces just 20bhp. But it’s enough for pleasing pottering and suits its cruiser style. What’s more, the latter layout also makes the Meteor perfect for newbies thanks to its low seat, light weight and easy manners. Best of all, though, this British designed retro bike has even better build quality than the 650s with solid reliability and plenty of neat design touches. £3000 will easily snag you a 2021 or 2022 low mileage example.

  • Engine: 349cc, a/c single

  • Power: 20bhp

  • Torque : 20 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 191kg

  • Seat height: 765mm

  • Top speed: 75mph



2013-2016 Suzuki Inazuma 250, £1900 - £3500

When launched, Suzuki’s novice-friendly 250cc twin cylinder roadster seemed a little underwhelming, primarily due to its modest 24bhp (250 twins from the 1980sd produced more than that) and comparatively high price. As a result, it only survived until 2016 before being replaced by the snazzier GSX250R. Now, however, it’s a tempting A2 class used buy – especially if you’re not bothered about maximum performance. The twin cylinder engine is smooth, solid and bulletproof; its chassis makes it an easy, effective and unintimidating commuter; there are plenty of neat design touches, rock solid reliability and time and its lack of success keeps used values low, too. Sure, the Inazuma still lacks star quality, but it’s also a solid, dependable effective A2 bike. £2000 will easily get you a good 2015 example with barely any miles; £3000 will get you a minter.

  • Engine: 248cc, l/c twin

  • Power: 24bhp

  • Torque : 16 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 182kg

  • Seat height: 780mm

  • Top speed: 85mph



2005-2015 Yamaha XT660X, £2700 - £5000

Finally, here’s an affordable A2 option that’s a little bit more exciting – if not exactly the most practical. Yamaha has a long, successful history of big bore ‘XT’ four-stroke trail bikes and its most recent incarnation was the liquid-cooled, five valve 2004 XT660R which, with an A2-compliant 45bhp and a rugged, effective chassis, proved a great trail bike and very popular– so much so that Yamaha subsequently launched two pin-offs: the XT660Z Ténéré adventure version and XT660X Supermoto. Both former examples still now easily fetch over £3000 and aren’t really novice machines, but the X, with its street wheels, tyres and brakes and manners better suited to the road, can be had for as little as £2500, is great fun, cool and A2-friendly, too!

  • Engine: 659cc, l/c single

  • Power: 47bhp

  • Torque : 44 lb.ft

  • Dry weight: 177kg

  • Seat height: 875mm

  • Top speed: 90mph



What are the A2 licence laws

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 395cc engine that makes between 20kW (27bhp) 3bhp and 35kW (46.6bhp), with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW.

If you're taking your full bike test for an unrestricted licence, you must take it on a bike of at least 595cc, making at least 40kW (54.4bhp). You'll need to be 19 to take an A2 licence, and 24 for unrestricted.


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