Bargain Xmas Bikes for under £2000

Author: Bike Social's eBay Expert Posted: 16 Dec 2015

Dear Santa, please may I have…

Still unsure on what to ask for from the big man with the white beard? Bike Social has been scouring the small adds to see the top ten items that £2,000 can bring you over the festive period. Not all may be able to fit down a chimney pipe, but seeing as Santa himself is a bit of a fatty and still makes it down we are pretty sure he will find a way…

Bag a modern classic

What finer excuse is there for spending £2,000 over the festive period than ‘it’s an investment, it’s better to have metal in the garage than money in a pension.’ Of course the chances of actually making cash are slim, but at least you can legitimise owning a cool modern classic...

With £2,000 your choices are slightly limited, but a carbed Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD is an easy find and a definite future classic, as is the excellent shell-suit paint scheme Yamaha YZF750R. V-twin fans can grab a slightly tatty Suzuki TL1000R for under £2k, which is a much-loved classic, or take a punt on the naked ‘widow maker’ TL1000S. However, the smart money goes with Kawasaki.

1989 Kawasaki ZX750 for under £2000

An early Kawasaki ZX-7R can be found in private sales for under £2000, but more interestingly so can its older brother the ZXR750 and even a first generation of this legendary dynasty. The H1 isn’t half as an enjoyable bike to ride as the ZX-7R, but this 1989 model is for sale at £1495 and that has to be worth a look. The period Micron exhaust is hideous, and getting an OE replacement will be tricky, but the ad claims the bike is very clean and aside from the can, polished wheels and nasty pegs it looks fairly original. If it was green the dealer’s door would be being beaten down, but the red/black paint means a deal for a canny Christmas buyer.

eBay listing has the Kawasaki ZX750 for less than £1500



Supersport 600 Steal

While litre bikes are currently all the rage and everyone is predicting the death of the supersport class, it wasn’t that long ago that 600cc sportsbikes were the hot ticket. The used market is full of 1990s and early 2000s supersport bikes and £2,000 can bag you a cracker.

If you aren’t that fussed about looks, Triumph’s early supersport disaster the TT600 is the bargain ticket at easily under £1500. The horrific standard fuel injection can be rectified and underneath the ugly fairing is a thoroughly sorted chassis and strong engine. For a solid commuter you are spoiled for choice with the wonderful 1999-2000 Honda CBR600F (the first alloy beam frame model) and Yamaha Thundercat the pick of the class. Both make excellent first big bikes and both are very reliable and cheap to run. If you want a bit more spice the GSX-R600 SRAD and pre-funky looking Kawasaki ZX-6R (get the 2002 636cc model if possible) are a nice blend of sports and practicality. But why not go the whole hog?

The R6 makes a superb track bike

We are talking a fun second bike here, but with £2,000 you can secure a carbed Yamaha YZF-R6 and that makes not only a great B-road blaster, but also a superb track bike. This one is for sale bang on budget and is a tidy example that would only need a set of mega sticky tyres to turn into a track animal. It even has an MOT, so you can ride it to the track…although possibly not back again if you get carried away…

A '99 R6 for under £2000



Go retro

Air-cooling and beards are all the range and while not everyone can grow a bit of facial fuzz, most can at least afford an air-cooled bike. And if you are tempted to try your hand at a bit of customisation, with a £2,000 budget your fledgling efforts with an angle grinder won’t cause too much pain to your wallet when you accidentally hack the frame in half…

What to buy? Forget about owning a cool BMW, the hipster pack has ensured that boxer engined machines are well out of this price range and so is the lovely Kawasaki W650. While you can get an early Bonnie if you are lucky, everyone has tweaked a Triumph and customisation is about standing out from the crowds. The cool kids are now looking at the likes of the Honda CX500 (and even the Turbo if you can find one), which looks amazing when given a rat look. You can’t go wrong with a Yamaha XJR1200, the Suzuki GSX750 is a possibility or there is the Italian option of something like a Ducati 750SS or Paso or even an old Moto Guzzi. But here is our pick…

Retro looks and a 1062cc air-cooled motor

The Kawasaki Zephyr 1100 ticks all the right retro boxes. Not only does it pack a lovely 1062cc air-cooled motor, it was built in the early 1990s to look retro and as such has a really stylish tail end, lovely sculpted tank and 4-into-1 side mounted exhaust pipe that is also bang on fashion. An 1100 comes in at the top of the £2k budget, but the cheaper Zephyr 750 will leave you a bit of meat on the bones that can be spent on modern items such as inverted forks. That said, when it comes to retro big is best, so we would advise aiming your sights on this Zephyr 1100 and haggling out a deal on the purchase price.

Imported in 2003, this 1100cc Zephyr comes in at under £2000


Take to trials

Apparently no one has ever been killed doing trials, which is an internet statistic we aren’t 100% convinced by. However, aside from the safety aspect, trials is not only an incredibly cheap form of motorsport, it is also great fun and a wonderful excuse to get dressed up in lycra and hang around a muddy field…

Although trials bikes initially cost quite a lot of money, as with any competition vehicle the bottom falls out of their value very quickly and £2,000 can secure you a really good example of either a four or two-stroke trials bike that is less than four years old. To be fair this is quite a lot of cash to spend on what might only be a passing fascination, so aim at the lower end of the market and look at spending about £1500 on an older model which will leave you £500 to spend on a decent set of boots, bit of body armour and even possibly a second hand trailer so you can transport it to a field.

While it's not road registered it does have a recently rebuilt engine

This Beta Rev3 is fairly typical of what you can expect to find for around £1500 and the fact its engine has recently been rebuilt is a welcome safety net. The bike itself isn’t road registered, which is a bit annoying, but this can easily be done for less than £100 and does add to its value. The value of trials bikes tend to bottom out at about £800, so the worst case if you really don’t like pulling wheelies or jumping over logs is a £700 loss. And a few broken bones…

The £1595 price tag includes a recently rebuilt engine


Commandeer a commuter

When the temperature drops, most of us tend to look at protecting our bikes from the ravages of salt by storing them up in a garage over winter. While this is no bad thing, the fact of the matter is that by buying a cheap commuter rather than use the family car or even take to public transport and you will probably actually end up saving money in the long run. But what to buy?

When it comes to winter hacks, £2,000 is actually a very healthy budget and you can get a lot of bike for your pounds. The obvious option, especially if you live in a city or have a short commute, is something like the excellent Suzuki SV650 or spirited Honda Hornet. There are loads and loads of these bikes on the market and you can even look towards a workhorse such as the Suzuki Bandit 600, Honda CBF600 or Yamaha Diversion 600 if you want reliability over excitement.

If your commute is a bit longer then Kawasaki’s ZX-9R can be had for under £2,000, but it does suffer a bit in winter due to poor build quality. The same can be said for the Suzuki RF900 and the half-faired Bandit 1200 models. What you need for a winter hack is total reliability, great build quality, comfort, a solid engine and a sub-£2000 price. Sound impossible? Step forward the Honda VFR750.

A cracking commuter and worth every penny - Honda's VFR750F

The final 750cc VFR, which was built from 1990 to 1997, is a cracking commuter and worth every penny of the £1,500 you can easily get one for. This 62,000 mile example is unlikely to ever let you down provided it has been serviced regularly and is still a good looking machine that even has a centre stand as standard fitment. Should you blow the whole budget on a VFR800Fi instead? Lots of owners rate the VFR750 over the 800, but by the same token a similar number say the 800 is a superior machine.

Tough call.

1996 Honda VFR750F for less than £1500


Cheap speed

Want to go fast for under £2,000? Step this way! Amazingly, a budget of under £2,000 is no barrier when it comes to topping 150mph and as such there are plenty of machines out there to set your pulse racing and still leave your wallet fairly intact. Although please remember that even over the festive period, the speed limit in the UK remains in force…

CBR1100XX Super BlackBird for under £2000?! What a deal

So what’s the cheapest form of a two-wheeled adrenalin hit? The obvious option is the Suzuki Hayabusa, but you will struggle to find one for under £2,000. It’s not a massive loss as the Busa is not only quite visually challenging, it isn’t the most comfortable of machines. Think a little bit more laterally and the often forgotten about Kawasaki ZX-12R can be yours. More than capable of hitting 180mph, the ZX-12R is a great machine for speed freaks and very easy to de-restrict. While we are talking Kawasaki models, the ageing speedster the ZZR1100 offers a very cheap dose of thrilling acceleration and so does Honda’s old CBR1000F. Neither are that high tech, but they are both solid performers. If you want something a bit more modern you may be able to locate a ZZR1200, but they are usually over £2000.

When it comes to going fast and still retaining a degree of decorum, there is only one option – the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. Buy an early carbed model for under £2,000 (or haggle a deal on an early injected one such as this) and not only will you be able to hit 170mph, you can do it in total comfort, one or two-up and safe in the knowledge it will never let you down. A fabulous bike and a steal at under £2,000.

A steal if you can negotiate to below £2000



Pick up a 125 and get onto two wheels

A 125cc bike is the cheapest and easiest way onto two wheels as all you need to do is complete the CBT (which is under £100) and you are free to take to the road as long as you are over 17 years old. However with the plethora of 125s on the market, which is the best buying option? 

While you can easily buy a non-descript brand new 125 for under £2,000 on eBay, if (and when) it goes wrong you are often left without any kind of dealer backup and that makes it a disposable product. Stick with a known brand and although you will be buying a used bike rather than brand new one, at least it will have some residual value and parts will be considerably easier to locate. New riders fall off and there is nothing more demoralising than having to wait ages for a replacement part or warranty claim.

For £1,000 you can find a used old-style Honda CBR125R, which is a nice basic 125 with good reliability but slightly ugly styling. Yamaha’s naked YBR125 has been the UK’s best selling bike several times, so they are common on the used market and also very cheap and reliable. Lexmoto is quite well established in the UK and you can get a new 125 for under £1,000 with a 7-year warranty, which is tempting and reassuring, while buying a two-stroke Aprilia RS125 is akin to burning £1,000 but will be brilliant fun until the (generally de-restricted!) engine lets go.

1970's retro styling is loveable

Push the price up to over £1,500 and Honda’s Varadero 125 offers ‘big-bike’ charm in a 125 chassis while the CBF125 is a solid and fairly new commuter. When it comes to looks, the Yamaha YZF-R125 is brilliant, frugal and also a great seller, which hints at it being a good buy, and if you can find a cheap Aprilia RS4 it’s also a stunning looking 125. However, there is one bike that offers not only a funky look, but also a serious does of retro style and that’s Suzuki’s RV125 Van Van. You just have to love the balloon tyres, huge seat and 1970s styling. This is easily the coolest 125 on the market and a real head turner.

Too cool for school? Not at £1850 the VanVan's not


Go naked

Another genre of motorcycle that is bang on current trends are the sports nakeds. The only problem with buying a £2,000 sports naked is the fact they are a relatively recent trend and as such there aren’t that many bikes to choose from. Never mind, here are a few of the best…

The Aprilia Tuono was arguably the first sports naked, but while you can’t get an original generation model for under £2,000, you can get one with light cosmetic damage. To be honest the bike looks like it has been crashed when new, so cosmetic scratches aren’t a problem. Honda’s Hornet 900 wasn’t very popular back in the day, but comes with a re-tuned Fireblade motor and therefore shouldn’t be written off, especially at under £2,000. Annoyingly the original ‘new’ 2003 Kawasaki Z1000 is popular enough to ensure its price remains high, but bargain Ducati Monster 900s do crop up if you search hard. No one remembers it ever existed, but the Blackbird engined Honda X11 is a good shout and the equally over-looked Suzuki SV1000 isn’t a bad bike at all. But there is one option whose roots are far closer to home…

955 is achievable for sub-£2k rather than the 1050cc version

Happily one of oldest, and therefore easiest to buy within the budget, sports nakeds on the market is the good old Triumph Speed Triple. Sadly you won’t be able to locate a 1050 model at under £2,000, but the older 955i version is still a cracking road bike. The triple engine’s charms (although not its gearbox) are displayed at their very best in this iconic naked bike and although the chassis is a bit big and wobbly, that doesn’t detract from the Speed Triples fun factor. A simply brilliant bike and a bargain at under £2,000.

'99 Speed Triple for less than £1900. Happy Christmas


Go cruising

Want a cheap cruiser? Sadly you will probably struggle slightly and you certainly won’t be riding a Harley-Davidson. Even old Harleys hold their value, so you will have to look towards Japan.

Far a stack of fun (except when it comes to corners or braking) an original Yamaha V-Max can be yours for under £2,000, which is a proper cult bike. Staying with Yamaha, the XV535 Virago is cheap and looks the part and if you are lucky you might be able to locate a 650 or 750 at the right price. Suzuki’s Marauder and Intruder model ranges compete with the Viragos on price and looks and so do the Kawasaki VNs in their many, and varied, guises and the Honda Shadows. So what’s the best option? Well here is the time you need to look away from the classifieds for inspiration.

New-for-2016 Indian Scout Sixty

Indian has just released the Scout Sixty, which after a £2,699 deposit can be yours for £42.33 a month on a three-year PCP deal. Cruisers are all about show and there is nothing cooler than rolling up on a brand new bike that will cost you less than a Sky subscription per month to own. Stick the extra £699 on a credit card, cancel Sky (after the Christmas movies, naturally) and own a Scout Sixty. Sorted.


There is no defending this decision…

Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up in the air and admit you only bought a machine for the sheer hell of it. Bikers understand this is a totally valid excuse, other family members are less convinced. So what’s good to blow £2,000 on for no reason other than giggles…

Does it have a beer barrel as a fuel tank? Does it have a VW back end? Does it look like a death trap? That’ll be a trike then! With £2,000 you can certainly enter the world of three wheels, but it will probably be on a lashed together Virago trike rather than something that looks like it featured in Mad Max. The only question is if you really want all your mates and family to disown you…

What’s not to like about a monkey bike? Small in size equals big grins, right? Not necessarily. Monkey bikes are cool, but their small size makes them terrifying to ride on the road, especially when a truck comes past. If you want to push the boat out, there is always a Gorilla bike, Gag bike or even a…actually no, there is no sensible reason to buy one of these… Hang on, you can nitrous them, hmmm…

Mini motos come in all shapes and sizes from race reps to off-roaders, none of which actually fit a normal sized adult. For ten minutes they are great fun at the local park, until you break your ankles after highsiding while attempting a botched escape from the park authorities and get served with an ASBO…

Solid engine, steel frame, decent rubber = a lot of trackday fun

If you really want to burn some cash for no real reason, here is what to buy. Under £1,000 will get you an old ‘steely’ frame Honda CBR600 track bike. The engine is solid, it is always better (and cheaper) to buy a ready built track bike than attempt to do it yourself and spares are plentiful for the CBR. A set of sticky tyres and you will be able to embarrass some very modern machinery on this while teaching yourself the benefits of cornering fast rather than just opening the throttle in a straight line. And that’s your excuse sorted for buying it!

A CBR600 track bike for under £1000...well, it is 20 years old


Which would you ask for? 

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