Ask RideApart: Used Sportbike Bargains

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2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000

You ask, the community answers. It’s Ask RideApart. This week: What are the best used sportbike bargains?

This question comes to us from reader James, who asks: “What older sportbikes are bargins now, yet still hold their own as a daily ride, factoring in maintenance and all-weather ability?”

Us? We’d suggest a 2005 or 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000. That bike is lighter, sharper and torquier than the current model while being only slightly behind on peak horsepower. It also rides like a more compact package. But, since it’s no longer latest and greatest, you can pick up low mileage examples for low bucks. Spend the money you save on improving the suspension and brakes and you’ll have a bike that’ll keep up with anything on the road today. Here’s one in Florida that’s in mint condition with only 4,200 miles on it listed with a Buy It Now price of just $5,900. We bet the winning bid will be even lower and this thing’s barely been ridden. Other people’s ill-advised toys are your sportbike bargains.

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  • Jake Isbill
  • Matt C

    As a daily ride and you might want to check out Honda CBRs. They will be a little more comfortable and aimed at all around use more than a GSX-R which is more of a race bike for the street.

    • Flying Couch

      The F4I is particularly notable. It’s just a thoroughly good bike.

      • http://www.pattonstrength.com/ PattonStrength

        Really common as well, so the used market has a large amount of them. You can easily get a decent one for $2,000-$3,000 around where I live (Bay Area).

  • Dan

    K5 Gsxr1000 is a classic. That bike is the model BMW used as a reference when building the S1000RR

    But I want to point out a flaw in the question. I think asking if the bike “holds its own” suggests that hardware is the limiting factor for how fast you can go. For 99% of riders, it’s not. Once you’re talking about bikes from the last decade (or possibly older), the limiting factor in how fast you go is simply rider ability.

    So grab any Japanese sportsbike from 2000+ and you have a fast, reliable machine. Whether it “holds its own” is up to you :)

    • E Brown

      ^What he said. I’d go for something with fuel injection and low miles on the cheap. There’s no way I’m getting everything out of a Ducati Panigale – the money spent would just go towards bragging rights. Shopping right now, I’d look for an early 00s CBR or GSX that someone never had time to ride and wants out of their garage. Caveat: be prepared to explain to the seller that his 10 year-old bike is not worth almost as much as a new one just because he didn’t ride it much. It seems to be a difficult concept to grasp… :)

  • f1rehead

    I was moving from a Suzuki GS500e and for my second bike (back in 1997 or so) I picked a 1992 CBR600F2. Still have it, haven’t outgrown it. The best $3500 I ever spent. It’s practically bulletproof and dead simple to repair, bodywork notwithstanding.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      My 98 F3 (moved up from an Kawi EX500) and I agree. Body work is impossible to find, but the bike itself is a tank. Cam chain tensioner and checking the clearance on the valves, and it’s good to go for another forever.

      • f1rehead

        Don’t forget the voltage regulator!

        • Eric Shay

          Pretty sure the smell of one burning up is seared into my brain.

    • michaelse

      Perhaps F2s and F3s can be found for a deal, but it seems everyone who has an F4i wants 4-6k for it. We’re talking about bikes that are 8-13 years old with 25k+ miles. Hope someday I can find one at a reasonable price, I’d really like to make a 2006 my next bike.

      • Piglet2010

        If I had known, I would have sold you mine for $3K (the bodywork was quite rough).

  • Justyn Black

    While I love the 05-06 GSXR 1000′s I’ve been warned by a few different sources that the frames tend be easily damaged in crashes. Something to consider, especially when looking for a bargain used bike that may have been pre-crashed.

    • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

      Suzuki did a recall where they strengthened the frames and I believe it became a big issue because guys were pulling big wheelies with them and landing hard. The frame would crack at the welds. If it’s an un-abused bike and/or has had the recall done, it should be fine.

  • roma258

    Triumph Daytona 650 if you can find one.

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    I think the best bargains out there are some of the new non-current sport bikes. I’ve seen on some dealerships websites 1 or 2 year old, new motorcycles at well below sticker price. 2012 GSX-R 1000′s for $9,999?! That’s a bargain I think. Plus you get the factory warranty and possibly so sort of low cost OEM financing. Thats why it’s a bit hard to sell used sport bikes that are only a few years old. They’re competing with a pretty big new non current inventory.

  • akaaccount

    How in the world can anybody justify buying a brand new superbike when there’s even a remote possibility that they won’t use it and they’ll be selling it for $5900 in a few years?

    • Ayabe

      Owner gets injured, bought more than they could handle, can’t afford to insure it, etc.

      There are plenty of reasons, some people are just dumb and never consider the financial hit they’re going to take but more often than not it’s some other reason.

      • John

        Gets married, has a kid, bad back. Gets a life.

    • Clint Keener

      One word: Testosterone.

    • Dan

      Buy it because it’s beautiful and an absolute blast to ride. Then they actually ride it, realize it’s uncomfortable, terrible in traffic, maintenance is more than they thought, ends up collecting dust in the garage. That’s what happened with my first new superbike :) Now I just buy used ones.

    • E Brown

      The same way people sign a multi-year contract for the gym and never go – optimism. :) What new buyers in the US need is a modern UJM – the motorcycle equivalent of an Accord or Camry you can just hop on and ride. Sport bikes, street fighters, cruisers, dual sports all come with expectations and if your trip doesn’t meet them, fit that specific niche, you leave it and take the car.

      • http://www.motard.ca/ Guillaume Béliveau

        The CB500F is an UJM. The Street Triple is a fast UBM.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    2001 or newer inline four. They’re all the same. Journalists might be able to tell a difference but I can’t. Also the SV650 is as good today as it’s always been. You cant get more usable power, fuel economy, reliability, abundance in replacemnt parts/cheap suspension upgrades, and cheap tires.

    • Stuki

      Second that. The Zuk 650 is probably the single greatest engine, for the largest number of riders, ever created.

  • John

    Why sports bikes? There are a lot of much cooler bikes made over the years that are great deals. Sports bikes are practically all the same at this point, relatively speaking.

    • Clint Keener

      Because they are the same as the new ones at half the cost.

      • John

        Right, kinda my point. Which leaned over, uncomfortable, inline four cylinder, similarly faired bike would you like? Well, just grab about the cheapest one in the classifieds.

        • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

          no, he’s saying that they are virtually the same as new bikes of the same model.
          Unless maybe you’re an AMA pro rider, or a tech jockey.

          • John

            I get that. I didn’t realize at first that they were referencing someone’s question. To me, these are the least interesting motorcycles in the history of motorcycles. But i guess someone actually wants to know.

            • Rameses the 2nd

              If you want to ride fast, sports bikes make a lot of sense. They are light, designed to go fast and fairing provides adequate wind protection. Also there are a lot of used sports bikes available on Craigslist, which means they are quite reasonably priced and affordable.

              • John

                Yeah….I just don’t care to ride that fast. Never did. These are track bikes, for people that will probably never see a track, but think the street is their track. So then you have people riding like morons to feel like they’re “enjoying” their motorcycle. They’re motorcycles for people who don’t enjoy simple motorcycling, but need speed and stunting to think they’re enjoying it. If I were going to get a 90s sport bike, it would be an R1100S.

                • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

                  Take some riding lessons and learn to enjoy the genuine capability and quality of these machines. Why buy a Ferrari or Porsche or Aston Martin when one of these is much faster, much more fun and costs $5k?

                • John

                  Riding a dirt bike is a lot more fun and a lot safer than running 100mph through a canyon, and hoping a rabbit doesn’t run in front of you so you don’t spend the next 18 months in a hospital.

                  What is truly beautiful about riding through a canyon is peace and quiet on a smooth motorcycle and being able to enjoy the feeling, sight and smell of the outdoors without being locked up in a car with air conditioning and talk radio.

                • Stuki

                  That someone enjoys cruising through a canyon on a small DS or standard, doesn’t automatically negate that someone else (or even the same person at a different time) can enjoy hustling through the same canyon at a faster pace.

                  I enjoy sailing in nice weather, even if that means the wind is a bit down. But as long as someone else is paying for gas, I can’t say I don’t enjoy a 100 knot romp in a sport boat as well. And even on a liter bike, gas is cheap….

                • John

                  True, but what happened during the 90s was that almost nothing else besides crotch rockets, cruisers or motocross bikes got built. There’s more to life than trying to prove how fast you can go. KTM has something like 20 motocross bikes and now finally came out with a trail bike, tall as it is. Pretty much anything that wasn’t one of these bike was right out of the 70s. Things have finally changed, which is great. But Re: sporting 600s? I hate’em. Road an R6 and just found it to be a horrible bike. Peaky and whiney and unstable. Sure, it would be fine racing around corners, but there’s more to life than being the fastest, or deadest, one around a corner. Many of my friends have had these bikes and almost all of them have been wrecked doing things my HawkGT could do effortlessly. So, most people don’t have the skill to ride a boring bike, let alone a race bike. I don’t ride to risk my life, I ride to enjoy my life.

                • Robert Horn

                  “Peaky and whiney and unstable”

                  How Freudian.

                  Once again on the internet, those who can’t consider themselves “experts” on the subject…

                  Keep on trollin’ John.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  dude you have a knack for stereotyping that is amazing
                  do you ever actually STFU, read and learn, or is every minute of your life merely yet another in a long series of opportunities for you to tell the world how it works?

                • Robert Horn

                  I don’t think low performance minds can comprehend high performance vehicles.

                  Or maybe an article on sportbike myths is needed – how can they be “dangerous” when they have the best tires, the most adjustable suspensions, the sharpest steering, the best brakes, and the most cornering clearance of ANY motorcycle genre? On the other hand, no other motorcycle can illustrate a rider’s inadequacies as clearly as a sportbike – heck, merely discussing them reveals the stupid amongst us…

                • Piglet2010

                  Define sportbike – does a KTM Duke 690, a Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak, or Ducati Hypermotard qualify? All would be better to ride on the street, particularly in urban areas, freeways and over poor quality pavement than a race replica, and likely faster overall for most riders anywhere but the track.

                • Robert Horn

                  Do those 3 qualify? Of course not. Are they better for slower environments? Of course. Is that what should guide every motorcycle purchase and operation? No.

                • John

                  Way to come out of the shadows.

                  Motorcycles are pretty much ALL “sport bikes”. This is why I don’t ride with crotch rocket people. The combination of ignorance and pride is deadly.

                • Robert Horn

                  Yeah, and all edged instruments are suitable for brain surgery.

                  Does this mean that I won’t have Mr. Ashman riding “with” me? This hurts my feelings….how?

                  Do you even own a motorcycle?

                  Thank you for another one of your expressions of humility and wisdom…

                • John

                  I’m sure you can harrass Ranger Rovers without me.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  because bikes are no safer than the rider

                • Piglet2010

                  Until they come with cloaking devices, I would not want to ride a race replica anywhere but on the track.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  that is because you are too stupid to think of riding them at legal speeds on the street

                  put a racing stripe on it and you lose all sense

                • Piglet2010

                  What do you think “race replica” means? Hint, it is *not* ideal general use motorcycle. If it was good for riding around around town and at legal speeds on the highway, it would be a lousy race replica. Duh.

                • John

                  Ugh. You sound like a bad advertisement.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  .

                  “Why buy a Ferrari or Porsche or Aston Martin when one of these is much faster, much more fun and costs $5k?”

                  that’s a “living just above the poverty-line” problem

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  actually they’re motorcycles, which, like all bikes, suffer the prejudices of those who don’t like them.

              • Piglet2010

                Except sportbikes attract more police attention when riding fast.

                Since I need to keep a clean driving record for work, I got rid of my F4i.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  yeah, it was either that or ride the speed limit

                • Piglet2010

                  Riding slowly is boring, uncomfortable, and a bit silly on a super-sport.

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  it’s also legal
                  which I thought was important in Texas, and many other southern states

                  you remind me of the old adage…”better to be quiet and let other people think that you might be stupid, than to open your mouth and prove them right beyond all doubt”

                • Piglet2010

                  Then why do you post so much?

                • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

                  hm, I guess that you can’t think of a good reason, can you.
                  but then, would you even realize that if I didn’t tell you?

            • Pablo Perez

              Yeah, okay dude. Buy your interesting used Ural and via con Dios.

              • John

                Your spanish sucks.

                In any case, I’m thinking more like an NC750X which is economical, torquey, quiet, practical. Or a Duke 390.

                • Pablo Perez

                  My spanish sucks? Your thoughts on motorcycles suck, so there’s that. The title of the article is “Used SPORTBIKE Bargains.” I don’t know what alternate universe you come from, but here on Earthlandia, a Duke 390 is not a sportbike. Maybe Wes will bust out an article entitled “Best Used Economical, Torquey, Quiet, and Pratical Bike Bargains.” That day will be John Day. Today is not John Day.

              • John

                Speaking of which –

                Pablo Perez – “I ride Harley’s, ”

                Right, because those are so advanced and modern and practical. It’s like the Corona of motorcycles. Just add lime and salt to make it palatable.

                • Pablo Perez

                  Who said anything about modern and practical? For the record, I see value and Good Times in almost all motorcycles (even Urals).

                  Now go crawl back under your bridge.

          • Stuki

            Or someone who insist on abs……

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Sportbikes are the most broadly capable, well engineered, unique vehicles available today.

      • John

        I don’t find them broadly capable at all. An NC700X is broadly capable. It’s not like I haven’t ridden a sport bike, it’s just….I don’t see the point unless your back yard is a canyon with no police. It’s not like I haven’t ridden one, it’s just, I don’t see the point, unless it is to break the law as much as possible. My brother in laws have them. They keep wrecking them too. If you know how to ride, you can keep up with a goober on a sport bike. If you REALLY know how to ride, it’s far better to put that bike on a track and win with it than endanger your life on the streets, Paul Walker style.

        • Stuki

          You need to ride some of the newer sportbikes. Preferably a 600. The liter bikes strike me as being a bit too high speed optimized to be truly “broadly capable” in an ever more congested world, primarily due to sky high gearing and rather heavy clutches.

          But thinking you will be keeping up with a modern 600 on an NC, is plain delusional. Marquez can undoubtedly do so with him on the NC and me on the 600, but that has nothing to do with the bike. For any pair of riders even remotely close in riding ability, on almost any road you can conceive of, the guy on the 600 will simply walk away from the NC. The now popular mantra that you need to be a good and experienced rider to go “fast” on a 600, is simply bunk. Any old halfwitt will ride those things faster than he will ride almost anything else. Which may not be saying much in terms of absolute speed for some of us halfwitts, but still. The bikes are forgiving to a fault (as in, no matter how clumsy you are, they tend to just shrug it off and keep going where pointed, with massive clearance, telepathic steering, brakes that just refuse to do anything you don’t want them to etc.) Hit a bump on an NC while leaned over, and the pegs touch down and the suspension wobbles a bit, giving you a quite stark reminder to either figure out these body positioning and throttle smoothness issues, or slow down. On a 600 at the same speed, hitting the same bump slaps your wrists, knees and as a bit, then nothing. No line instability, no pegs touching down, no wobble, just nothing. So you can just go back and do the same corner faster next time, and still experience…..nothing.

          In car terms, they are like the Boxster, or even the GTR. Just completely uneventful at much higher speeds and loads than other bikes. And, as opposed to the aforementioned cars, the price you can get all this dynamic amazingness for, is almost unbelievable. Which of course do make them available to (age)groups of riders that are still sufficiently influenced by high testosterone levels to insist upon keeping up the go faster and faster until they do experience something; at which time things are indeed happening really, really quickly…..

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            “The liter bikes strike me as being a bit too high speed optimized to be
            truly “broadly capable” in an ever more congested world, primarily due
            to sky high gearing and rather heavy clutches.”

            If that really bothers you then just change the gearing, the clutch-springs, the clutch linkage…
            or ignore the fact that it is “a bit” too optimized for high-speed, grow a pair and just ride it anyway

            Personally I think that literbikes like this one are too track-optimized, stock, true,

            But not the clutch or gearing, The front-fork springs are too stiff for my tastes, for street-riding.

            But that is not hard to change.

        • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

          I think that in trying to avoid accepting the truth about this bike, you’re busy avoiding either with untruth or illogi and often with both.

          ” If you REALLY know how to ride, it’s far better to put that bike on a
          track and win with it than endanger your life on the streets, Paul
          Walker style.”

          You’d be “endangering your life” either way.
          On any bike.

          And “endangering your life” a lot less riding it safely on the streets than racing to win on a track.
          Yes or no?

          Just shut up and admit it.

      • Piglet2010

        Sportbikes are more broadly capable than a street oriented AT bike (e.g. Ducati Multistrada), a large supermoto (e.g. Ducati Hypermotard) or touring supermoto (e.g.KTM 990 SMT)?

        As for unique design, my Honda Deauville and TW200 are more unique in design than the legions of I-4 powered sportbikes.

  • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

    wow seriously you’re suggesting that people buy a used literbike as a good value? :)

    • Piglet2010

      For once, I have to agree with you.

      The only exception being someone who rides at a near professional level and is looking for a track day or race bike.

      • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

        shame you can’t recognize sarcasm when you see it

        • Piglet2010

          Your serious posts are unintentionally better than sarcasm.

          • IAmAConservativeICannotBeWrong

            either that or they spin you around in circles so badly that you can’t tell your front from your back

  • Pablo Perez

    Solid advice.