Is there any other vehicles that can deliver as many smiles-per-dollar as the motorcycle? Here’s the RideApart staff’s pick of the most fun motorcycles you can buy for $10,000 or less.
Photo: Schedi R/KTM
Triumph Street Triple R
At $9,999, this 675cc, three-cylinder roadster barely squeaks into the running, but it’s a good thing that it does. Its punchy motor, light handling and upright ergonomics make it one of the most fun bikes on sale today.
KTM 690 Duke
Weighing just 330lbs (wet), the Duke’s single-cylinder motor hits hard, delivering 67bhp and 52lb-ft. That’s more torque than most 600 super sport bikes make, delivered at just 5,500rpm. Together, those features make the Duke an urgent, aggressive bike, particularly at lower, non-licence-losing speeds. Just don’t let them see you wheelying, you’ll be doing that a lot.
Probably the closest thing you get to a real enduro that’s still fun to ride on-road, the WR250R’s slim dimensions and tall, 36.6-inch seat make it equally at home slicing through rush hour traffic as it is flying down single-track.
The only real supermoto available from a major manufacturer, the DR-Z is light, responsive perfectly suited to urban riding, where it’s wide bars and sharp handling make it fun on the kind of rutted, potholed, congested streets that tie bigger bikes in knots.
A 270-degree crank transform’s Triumph’s parallel-twin from efficient and just a little bit boring into something that feels much more alive. Add in the commanding riding position and classic looks and you’ve got our pick of the Modern Classic range.
Suzuki V-Strom 650
Is there any better feeling than embarrassing someone on a supposedly much faster, much more expensive bike? Where most things with clip-ons and huge horsepower numbers are faster on paper than they are in the real world, the Suzuki simply flies down any road, in any weather condition, even two up. The motor’s willing, the vision from the seat empowering, the brakes hugely confidence inspiring and the suspension capable of keeping the tires planted over even the roughest of surfaces.
Aprilia Shiver 750
Bold, striking graphics and strong colors make this thing a looker, while the high-tech, 95bhp, liquid-cooled, ride-by-wire v-twin gives it a surprising turn of speed. Sounds good too. The most affordable way to put an exotic, boutique Italian badge between your legs.
Ducati Monster 696
A real Ducati for less than ten grand? The air-cooled v-twin is as basic as it gets, which complements the Monster’s elemental appeal. A great way to get around town and a great way to learn real riding skills on a manageable bike.
Ask the average person to sketch you a motorcycle, and nine times out of ten, you’ll end up with something that looks like a Bonneville. The base Bonnie is also the funnest, most capable bike in the range, complete with 17-inch wheels and sporty tires. This thing will put a grin on your face every time you hop on.
Tiny, light and slow, you have to pin the CRF250L’s throttle absolutely everywhere. Which is why it’s so much fun to ride; there’s no other bike out there that combines genuine capability with this much time spent at wide open throttle. That’s as much fun in town as it is on a trail, plus you’ll be getting 73mpg in the process, so fuel bills pretty much become a thing of the past.