Depreciation. The bane of new bike buyers, but a boon to you and I, who wait a few years to snatch up a pre-owned bargain. Can an older bike really stack up to a brand new one?
Photo by Craig Morey
New vs Used
You’re going to read about some incredible bargains below. So why buy new at all? Well, it gives you the ability to pay for the bike with monthly payments and little or no money down. It also gives you a reliable machine covered by a warranty and one you know hasn’t been crashed or abused by someone else.
The advantage of used is obviously in the lower purchase price. But you also get a few unseen benefits. If you finance a new bike, you’ll often be required to spring for fully comprehensive insurance. Then, if you crash it, you’ll either be out for that payment and the insurance deductible. With a used bike, you can opt for cheaper, third party-only insurance and repair the bike yourself, economically and over time.
New gives you the latest and greatest, used gets your more bang for your buck.
The cheapest literbike you can buy new today is the $13,899 Suzuki GSX-R1000. It makes 180 bhp, weighs 448 lbs (wet) and does without TC, ABS or other fancypants electronics. That bike received minor updates in 2012 and you can find bikes from that year, with very low miles for a few thousand less. Here’s one in South Dakota with only 660 miles on it for just $9,500.
Trouble with the GSX-R is that, well, it feels a bit plain. The antidote for that is to go Italian. Here’s a 180 bhp Aprilia RSV4 R in St. Louis that has only 1,300 miles and is listed at only $11,500. Not only is the RSV4 a more capable handler than the Suzuki, but it’s far less common, too.
The raciest bike in the supersport class remains the Yamaha YZF-R6, even now, eight years after it was introduced. But why spend $11,190 on one when you can pick up this identical 2006 model in Florida for just $4,000? Heck, it’s only got 5,000 miles on it and someone’s already paid for the pipe, Power Commander and air filter.
Our pick in the sport naked class has to be the $9,999 Triumph Street Triple R. But, lots of people positively hate the “Dame Edna” headlamps. Those were introduced for the 2012 model year, along with other changes to the frame, subframe, exhaust and suspension. But, the previous generation isn’t that far off and, as a result, there’s high demand for them in the used market. Don’t expect to save more than a couple grand for one in good condition, with low miles.
The good news is that $10k budget nets you virtually anything you want if you’re buying used. Our friends at Transportation Revolution in New Orleans are selling this tidy Ducati Hypermotard 1100 SP for just $9,499.
The Honda CB500F is all the bike you’ll ever need and it’s priced at a shockingly low $6,000 with ABS brakes. But, if you’re not looking for an easy first bike, then that same budget will buy you a lot more speed if you buy used. Here’s a 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000, one of the best literbikes ever made, for just $5,300. Just please don’t buy it if you’re a n00b.
The new 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 busts class convention by coming in at a $12,699. It’s a fast, practical, capable bike, but not one that’s terribly good off-road. The KTM 990 Adventure is. Here’s last year’s model with zero miles for just $13,750.
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