Updated on 1. March 2020.
New or used, there has never been a better time to buy an affordableengine.
My first bike, the 1999 Kawasaki Ninja 500R, was 10 years old at the time. Before he met me, he had had a fairly long life, after having covered almost 40,000 km, and there was a lot of patina on his red and black paint.
Despite its age, the 500R was equipped with almost 50 hp and an engine that ran at 11,000 rpm at startup. To be honest, it’s one of the funniest bikes I’ve ever ridden when it comes to driving slowly through town.
Oh, and it only cost me $2,500… , which I also sold when I moved to SV650 a year later. Besides replacing oil and certain gasses, the ninja was actually free at the time I owned it.
There are many bikes like this Ninja, of which my favorite is mentioned here.
- Setting realistic expectations
- 5 tips to make a good deal.
- The cheapest new engines
- Late and cheaply used bicycle models
Bikes do not win beauty pageants
Let’s get rid of this problem: When choosing the best possible bike, but the cheapest one, you have to make compromises. From an aesthetic point of view, your bike will have a percentage of scratches, abrasions and other minor problems.
If you shop cheap, you really want to find a unicorn: a rare bike that is both aesthetically and mechanically superior. But just like unicorns aren’t really but rather, it’s much more likely you’ll find many motorcycles with well preserved brakes, suspensions and engines, but with cosmetic stains and one or two blue eyes.
5 tips for buying an engine for a good price
These are the rules I follow when I go shopping. Even though my wallet seems cheap, I still want the best possible bike, but I don’t want to jump on something that isn’t safe or wait for a mechanical disaster to happen.
To limit my possibilities and to sharpen the right wheel, I always keep these five rules in mind:
#1: Buy a motorcycle no longer than 10 years
The older a thing is, the more likely it is to break. Especially for the engines.
Even though I like oldtimers, they will probably need constant maintenance (and put you in a difficult position). My 2007 FZ6 put me in an awkward position last summer (allowing me to have a nice ride in a tow truck), and I see the need to replace the brake discs and stator this season. At the age of 13 he enters a phase of his life in which he needs small repairs more often.
The most pleasant place for most novice cyclists is between 7 and 9 years of age. If you buy a bike that is located in this area, you will find standard bikes and entry-level sports bikes, as well as some cruisers with a small capacity. There are even some bikes with ABS and traction control.
If your budget is $5,000, there are many new bikes that are perfect for beginners. This engine feeling is simply unbeatable.
#2: View the really popular and unpopularmodels
This is a classic relationship between supply and demand in the workplace: The cheapest engines will be those that have a huge stock, or models that nobody wanted from the start.
For example: Suzuki SV650, first year of construction. The SV650 didn’t cause immediate sensation and the first models can be found for a reasonable price. According to Kelly’s 2004 SV650 Blue Book, the average is $2,575. A 2004 Suzuki GS500F – a model that wasn’t as popular as other models in the entry-level category – costs an average of $2,175.
Apply the same concept when purchasing a new vehicle.
#3: Searching for motorcycles under 40,000 miles / 64,000 km
If the car is practically new with 40k miles / 64k km, this does not apply to your bike. Motorcycles are heavier and more exposed to the elements, so 40,000 for a car is like 90,000 for a motorbike (think of: man versus dog in old age).
This is not a difficult rule, as you will often find cruisers and touring bikes with high mileage that still work perfectly. I use it as a guide because, although I can do some maintenance work (e.g. chain cleaning, oil change, etc.), I am not interested in the more serious maintenance needed for high mileage engines.
#4: Know the fair market value (and don’t be afraid to look beyond your region)
People think you can do a lot with low balls, but in general they are not very well received and probably start a conversation with a sour note. The best way to get a good deal is to know that is the fair market price of per bike you want and willing to pay for the right bike.
If you can’t find it in your area, check websites like eBay to find out what’s nearby. A motorcycle delivery is surprisingly cheap if you find something that’s only been gone a few hours.
#5: Buy a man, not just a motorcycle
If I buy, it’s the owner who makes or breaks the sale. I want to buy a motorcycle from someone who hasn’t stopped for maintenance and has invested to keep it in good condition. You buy the signs from someone you can trust:
- You have access to service files, receipts for spare parts, etc.
- The engine looks great – there may be small scratches / scrapes / etc., but all fairings and surfaces are in good general condition. If there is a repair, it has been done properly and is usually not removed from the overall picture.
- They give information about the bike directly and willingly (I am not considering buying from someone who is evasive or doesn’t want to answer any questions).
- They’re organized, and it looks like it’s all coming together.
By type: If you talk to somebody who checked out all those boxes, you might want to pay a little extra for their bike…
5 Superb new engines Less than $5,000
2020 Yamaha TW200 (bi sport)
- EIA:$4,599 (United States) / $5,399 (Canada)
- Read more about the Yamaha TW200 2020.
- The manufacturer’s website
If you live in a place where there are soft/easy paths, gravel roads or other terrain that is easy to ride, you will appreciate the novelty and usefulness of cycling for practicing two sports. If you are looking for a new affordable option, the TW200 is one of the best options.
Although the TW200 has only 11 bhp and has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1987, it is surprisingly capable of driving on lighter terrain and feels good on asphalted roads. It won’t win any race, but it will start safely, have a large gas passage and get you where you need to be (even if the road is not asphalted).
2020 Yamaha V star 250
- EIA:$4,359 (United States) / $5,299 (Canada)
- Learn more about the Yamaha V Star 250 in 2020
- The manufacturer’s website
The classically styled V Star 250 with its 249 cubic centimetres of V-Twin proved to be a durable combination. The first bike I rode was a V-shaped star in the early 2000’s – the equestrian center I was riding had a few before class. With its low centre of gravity, this entry-level cruiser is perfect for beginners learning to ride a motorcycle.
The V-twin develops about 21 hp and 15 pounds of torque and its top speed is about 140 km/h. The V-Star can travel comfortably at 70mph / 110mph, although its low weight of just 326lbs is both a blessing and a curse: While its light weight makes the V-Star easy to handle and responsive in the city, it also reduces the wind blowing on the engine (especially at motorway speeds).
With a range of about 320 kilometres, the V Star 250 is probably one of the best naked suburban bikes you can buy.
2020 Honda Rebel 300
- EIA:$4,499 (United States) / $5,499 (Canada)
- More information about the Honda Rebel 300 2020
- The manufacturer’s website
With 27 hp on the crane, driving the smallest Honda cruiser is a lot of fun. Reactive steering, LED lighting and excellent brakes make the Rebel the perfect car for everyday use. It’s an excellent car compared to a V-Star, but it’s also about 40 pounds heavier. More or less, huh?
The naked Heritage/Cruising styling works, but the 286cc single-cylinder engine seems rather weak compared to the chrome V-twin of the V Stars. Just like the V-Star 250, the Rebel 300 reaches an impressive 78 km/h and has a range of 200 miles / 320 km.
2020 BMW G 310 R
- EIA:$4,845 (United States) / $5,500 (Canada)
- Read more about the BMW G 310 R up to 2020.
- The manufacturer’s website
BMW’s legendary design and the powerful 34 hp single-cylinder 313 cc engine make the G 310 R an excellent engine for everyday city driving. This BMW is an excellent size for almost everyone, weighs 411 pounds and has a seat height of 31.5 inches. It has a standard/direct driving position and is very comfortable to drive all day long.
The BMW G 310 R is the most sporty car presented here, both in appearance and roadholding. This model is equipped with ABS, a sporty inverted fork and Brembo brakes. Awesome!
2020 Kawasaki Z400
- EIA:4,999 (United States) / 5,999 (Canada)
- Learn more about the Kawasaki Z400 2020
- The manufacturer’s website
Voted the world’s best light road bike for 2019, the Kawasaki Z400 is objectively the fastest and most powerful of the five new engines presented here. The 399 cubic inch parallel clutch engine reduces power by 49 hp and makes the Z400 a real riot thanks to its light tare weight of 368 pounds.
The ride is more sporty than on other motorcycles, and even if it’s not as comfortable as on BMW or the above mentioned Honda and Yamaha cruisers, you’ll enjoy it for your daily commute or for the long, winding, enthusiastic roads.
The best and cheapest used engines for beginners to buy for 2020
If you don’t want to ride brand new and want to keep your budget as low as possible, the 10 bikes listed here are all good options. All bicycles listed here are reliable and affordable (prices are checked via eBay, Kelly Blue Book and car dealers).
- Yamaha R3 2015+ – $3,500
- 2018+ Kawasaki Ninja 400 – 4,500
- 2010-2014 Suzuki SV650 – $3,500
- 2010 + Suzuki DRZ-400 – $2,850
- 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250 – 2,500
- 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 500 – 2,500
- 2009 Kawasaki Volcano 500 – $2,215
- 2010+ Kawasaki Volcano 900 – $4,000
- 2005 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic – $2,965
- 2006 Honda Rebel 250 – $1,880
- 2008 Suzuki GS500F – $2,175
Use these prices as a guide and starting point for negotiations, but expect some difference depending on where you look. Depending on your situation you can get some of these bikes at even lower prices than the ones I mentioned.
Don’t forget save money on equipment and biketrainings!
Now that you have a starting point to buy an engine, it is incredibly important to save on equipment. The motorcycle transmission is what keeps the skin on the body, instead of the brainand the bones intact.
Of course an engine and its equipment are useless without proper training. I always advise people to learn to drive in person. Depending on where you live, the courses are offered by AZG, Harley Davidson and STARS. Often these courses cost between $100 and $200 and take place on weekends. The skills you learn here will stay with you all your life and prepare you for a healthy and safe motorcycle career. What I learned in my MSF course about goal setting has literally saved my life more than once.
Other starting products for motorcycles:
- The best and cheapest bike for beginners.
- The guide is a cheap tool for a motorcycle.
- 5 pieces of equipment you need to ride a motorcycle.
- Latest guide for motorcycle gloves
- Final instructions for motorcycle helmets
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