Decent sport bikes come with a hefty price tag when new. Something like the Yamaha YZF R1 will set you back $20K on finance yet well looked after early models can be easily found with low mileage for under $6K.
I’m a firm believer in sticking to a budget and buying a quality used motorcycle that you can actually afford rather than getting into debt for a new bike that probably wasn’t your first choice anyway.
Due to their high price tags purchasing a used sports bike just makes more sense. If you can pay in cash you can push for a bargain and once you have had your fun and it comes time to sell it on, you won’t take the massive 20% depreciation that the first owner took.
Read on to discover 13 sport bikes (including the above mentioned YZF R1) that are currently great value for money on the used market place.
Table of Contents
- Yamaha YZF R1
- Triumph Speed Triple
- Suzuki Hayabusa
- Suzuki GSX R750
- Honda CBR600RR
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
- Ducati 749
- Honda VFR800
- Aprilia Tuono
- Ducati 996
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
- Yamaha YZF600R
- Triumph Daytona 675
- Final Thoughts
Yamaha YZF R1
The Yamaha YZF-R1 is arguably one of the most iconic sport bikes to have ever been produced. It remains in production today with a price point from $18,000 upwards.
However, the older generations of R1 remain solid, reliable functioning motorcycles that can provide a lot of excitement at a third of the cost.
The 2002 model was the first to gain fuel-injection in which it employed a vacuum operated slide similar to a CV carb which meant throttle response was nice and smooth.
It was the Deltabox frame which made this generation of R1 standout with an increased rigidity of about 30% compared to the earlier models.
You are sure to enjoy your ride with an older R1 and have plenty of mid-range, the only place you may find lacking is top-end power compared to the latest models.
Or this good condition 2003 R1 for $5,795.
You can quite easily pick up a first or second generation R1 for below $5,000 and for around $6,000 you can check out the improved version from 2002 onwards.
Triumph Speed Triple
Triumph has re-invented the wheel more times than I can count with the Speed Triple. Aside from the most recent iteration the model that stands out is the 2005 release.
This is when a 1050cc was fitted to the bike, replacing the smaller 955cc.
Torque is in abundance and at no point will you feel like you need something bigger and more powerful, the Speed Triple has you covered and is a truly exhilarating ride.
Prices start from $14,500 for a new base Speed Triple and shoot to well over $20,000 for a Speed Triple RS.
$5,000 is the sweet spot for an earlier version of the Speed Triple. You can pay less for a pre-2005 and a little more for a later version which will really be dictated by how much the CC’s matter to you.
$5,899 will get you this 2014 Speed Triple that has modern safety features such as ABS.
Well no writer working on the topic of used sport bikes would be worth their salt if they didn’t mention the legendary, iconic, BUSA.
Let’s just get the one downside out of the way, you will find it challenging to get hold of a used Busa that hasn’t been modified in one way or another and that isn’t always a good thing.
You’re going to be looking at upwards of $18,000 for a new Hayabusa fresh from Suzuki’s production line.
However, let me tell you that you don’t need to spend that much.
An original Suzuki Hayabusa from 1999 – 2007 has a tremendous amount of power, a very competent chassis, and an aftermarket array of parts that makes your eyes water.
Check out this 2002 Busa with less than 6,000 miles on it, in great condition for $6,999.
You can pick up a used Hayabusa for as little as $4,000 but upto around $7,000 will get you a great example, that hasn’t been too molested with blinged out paint jobs and crazy exhaust systems.
Suzuki GSX R750
For more of a middle-weight offering, you could look towards a Suzuki GSX-R750 that was first seen in production in 1985.
36 years on and the original Gixxer is still as good as it once was but at around $14,000 for a brand new model, you might be just as well to look at an older model.
Of course technology since 1985 in sport bikes generally has increased massively and the GSX-R750 has evolved far from how it started out.
If you want the original award winning Slabside Gixxer then you can expect to pay between $4,000-$6,000, it produced 130 horsepower and is easily one of the best motorcycles of the 80’s.
However, if you think fuel-injection, increased horsepower and sleeker styling is more where you are at, then looking for a post-1998 will do the job.
The bike isn’t one that will look out of place on today’s roads, and while it has a long history, it is a lucrative one of race wins and awards; an early GSX-R750 won’t let you down if you set out riding with your mates on new sports bikes.
This 2005 GSX-R750 is up for $6,998, is in great condition and has low miles, it is also fitted with a Yoshimura exhaust.
Below $3,500 will get you an early 90’s bike and around $3,500-$4,000 will pick you up a later 90’s model with fuel-injection.
The Honda CBR600RR is a staple motorcycle in the world of the sport bike.
It has been in production since 2003, and while it has a loyal following and is an excellent motorcycle, it is plagued by the untrue myth that Honda’s are boring.
Let me tell you that the CBR600RR is a very traditional looking sport bike, with an impressive record of reliability and great performance specs.
The first generation CBRs laid the foundation for modern race rep sports bikes in the 600cc class and at the time was considered to be pretty hardcore by those in the know.
Between $3,500-$4,000 is where used CBRs sit and you can find them in this price range in very good condition.
When a new CBR600RR sits at $12,000, shooting for an older generation makes the most sense to me.
If you are looking for a middle-weight sports bike that will give you few issues and provide a great riding experience whether on your morning commute or on the track the CBR600RR is far from a bad choice.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
The first generation Ninja ZX-6R, handling was applauded for being precise and sharp and the mid-range was incomparable to other bikes in the 600 class.
From 2005 onwards Kawasaki implemented a new under-seat exhaust and had some engine and chassis upgrades however, this added some extra weight.
The first generation model had nearly the same power, same brakes and suspension package so you won’t feel like you’re missing anything between the two generations of models.
A 2022 ZX-6R will set you back close to $11,000.
You can pick up a great condition ZX-6R for between $3,000-$5,000. However, a lot of bikes in the price range have a racked up miles in excess of 25,000 miles.
Obviously this seems like a lot compared to a zero miles new bike, however, 25,000 on a looked after ZX-6R is not that much at all, simply put the engine is bulletproof.
So, do your normal checks for buying a used motorcycle and you will be good to go.
Looking for something more exotic? A little Italian maybe? Then the Ducati 749 may be the way to go, it is perhaps the most closely replicated race-going sport bike in this list.
Pierre Terblanche turned his hand to the 749 and turned the sleek majestic Tamburini designed Ducati 748 into a muscular brute.
To be warned it isn’t comfortable and the Ducati 749 was divisive over its overhauled styling. With that said the bike is set to be a future classic.
So getting in there now would be a good shout for an investment and it is still affordable enough to buy one and just ride for the enjoyment of it, the 749 would make a great track bike too.
Not many people can afford to splash out on a new Ducati to ride everyday, head to the twisties or take to the track. Many owners of the new bikes tend to keep the bikes for perfect weather and Sunday pleasure rides.
$5,000 will get you a good condition 749 but the $7,000 mark will get you an immaculate model.
Big fan of the VFR, I’ve actually got a stripped VFR750 in my living room staring at me waiting for me to get round to doing some work on it.
Newer VFRs are more designed to be a true sports tourer, however, the original 1998 VFR800 featured a greater mid-range than its predecessor, fuel-injection and a longer-stroke engine.
It remained light and agile enough for riders to enjoy as a genuine thoroughbred sportsbike.
The model also featured a Combined Braking System (CBS), which was still a relatively new concept at the time first actively employed by Honda on the 1992 CBR1000F.
This braking system can be a little tricky, so make sure it is all in working order when it is picked up.
$4,500 will easily fetch you an excellent Honda VFR800.
The Tuono Fighter was first introduced in 2003 and since then has seen various iterations, a 2022 Tuono V4 will set you back $16,000.
Originally modelled off the RSV Mille the Tuono was a high spec naked bike that dominated the genre.
Packed with power, torque and exquisite styling the original Aprilia Tuono offers a lot for the money and shouldn’t be dismissed over and above the new edition V4 that takes its lead from the RSV4 superbike.
$3,500-$5,500 is the price point you will be looking at with an older Tuono.
Be aware that Aprilia’s are not cheap to maintain, much like Ducati parts are harder to come by and have a premium charge associated with them over and above Japanese bikes.
The last Italian motorcycle to make the list is the Ducati 996, sandwiched between the preceding 916 and superseded by the 998, the 996 is a bike that sometimes gets missed between two Ducati legends.
The 996 claims 112 horsepower with the Biposto model and retains the 916 sleek styling. It doesn’t handle like any other modern sportsbike however, and the beauty is in its raw, simple ride.
It is fundamentally a track bike in disguise for the street so you need to work the gears, work for the reward and forget about modern add-ons like ABS and traction control.
$6,000 is a good start point for a 996 and you should be able to get a model in great condition for less than $7,500.
The era of the 996 was a great one and the Ducati 916 series of motorcycles are now classics in the sports bike world.
Getting hold of a raw, stripped back, simple, sport bike in the form of the Ducati 996 now and heading to a track or the twisties is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and on those that witness the bike doing what it was meant for.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
You can be forgiven for thinking that only mid-range sport bikes are available at the 6K mark, actually you can get the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R on the used market for an average of $5,500-$6,500.
So if you want the extra CC’s, a top of the line, cutting edge sport bike then you may want to look at the Kawasaki. This 2008 model has an asking price $4,999.
There is no denying that the Ninja ZX-10R, even the older original models, has an unbelievable power plant of an engine that can deliver all the power you could possibly utilise.
You are looking at around 188 horsepower and a top speed of over 180mph for a 2008 model.
The 2022 Ninja will set you back $17,000 so you can keep $10,000 or more in your bank and still have a fantastic handling, and performance machine that will see off most other bikes on the road.
The YZF600R was known as the Thundercat outside of the US and is often overlooked as being a worthy sports bike contender.
Actually the strong engine particularly in the mid range and competent handling thanks to the Deltabox frame make it a pretty good machine.
It is also less aggressive than most other sportsbikes ergonomically so it makes a good choice for those who want to do a bit more long-distance riding.
It was a significant improvement over the FZR600.
The YZF600R would make a great option for someone looking for their first sports bike. They are incredibly affordable, parts and maintenance is cheap and the extra comfort over other bikes means it’s not too extreme for either new riders or those new to sportsbikes.
The best part is that you can pick a model up from $3,500 and if you spend around $4,500 you can get a very good clean example.
Check out this 2006 model on sale for just $4,999 with just over 2,000 miles on it.
Triumph Daytona 675
Another British offering to the list in the form of the Dayton 675, that offers up 128 horsepower.
Light, nimble and powerful are all words used to describe the three-cylinder 675. It was the first Daytona named model that gave Japanese 600’s a run for their money. The Daytona 650 was just considered average and was a four-cylinder machine.
$5,000 will get a good condition Daytona and a little more will get you either a newer model year or a lower-mileage example.
One of the best examples I found was this 2007 Daytona with just over 700 miles on the clock, it hasn’t even been run in yet, so is basically a new motorcycle and the asking price is just $6,295.
There you have it, a list of some of the best sport bikes that you can pick up for under $6,000 on the used market.
There are some epic bikes available that will give miles and miles of pleasure without setting your bank balance back or tying you into a costly finance package.
Whether you prefer to ride one of the big four Japanese offerings, a British thumper or something more exotic with the Italian marques there is something for everyone on the used market.
You may find an absolute bargain sport bike on the used market, doing so may tempt you to go and test your skills out on the track, which is a thrill like no other and one you can’t get on the road.
I am yet to meet anyone who would want to take their brand new Panigale out for a weekend track meet.