If money were no object, aficionados of motorcycle riding would ride all the time on the best bikes possible, instead of looking for best used motorcycles under $5,000. But think about it for a minute. Why not get more bike for less money by going used? If you shop carefully and do your research ahead of time, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the results.

We’ve consulted the pros and have a few suggestions for your list of contenders among the best used motorcycles under $5,000.

  • Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD – Far and away considered among the best used motorcycles under $5,000 out there, what you get with the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD, according to Motorcycle Cruiser, is strong performance for a modest price. The Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD also shares its engine with the Kawasaki 500 Ninja and has a good reputation for reliability, always a good thing when you’re looking at used motorcycles, since parts will be readily available.
  • Honda VLX – It’s a long way from the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD to the next under-$5,000 used motorcycle recommended by Motorcycle Cruiser, but the Honda VLX, if you’re looking for a V-twin, is a good bet. There are lots of aftermarket accessories available, it’s a good-looking bike, and has adequate power for highway use. Go for the plain VLX instead of Deluxe and save the extra three hundred or so for personalizing your bike.
  • Suzuki GZ250 – For around three grand or less, the Suzuki GZ250, a small bike, can nonetheless keep up with highway traffic going 65 mph, gets good fuel economy and is easy to maintain. While theSuzuki 250 might be considered too small for many riders, it is a good starter bike and roomier than other 250s.
  • Honda 919 (2002-2007)– According to CycleWorld.com, the Honda 919 “is a smooth and highly refined all-rounder that’s perfect for everyday commuting, comfy enough for extended rides…, surprisingly adept at straightening out a stretch of twisty blacktop and just plain fun no matter what kind of riding you might be doing.”
  • Suzuki Bandit 1200S (1996-1997) – Straight-line performance, astonishing mid-range power and exhilarating roll-on acceleration – all these are the accolades attributed to the Suzuki Bandit 1200S. TotalMotorcycle.com says “it may be the best all-around motorcycle you can buy. It’s relatively light, handles great, offer comfort, protects you from the elements with its fairing, and costs less than the latest 600’s…It’s probably closer to a do-everything motorcycle than any other built.” Cycle World says the 1997 is one of the best used motorcycles under $5,000.
  • BMW R1100R (1995) – Motorcyclistsonline.com calls the BMW R1100R “Big, heavy and gangly-looking, but handles deceptively well and is as practical and long-lasting as a Ford F150 pickup.”
  • Triumph Speed Triple (1995) — Motorcyclistsonline.com has this to say about the Triumph Speed Triple: “Although not as fast or as sexy as the [later] current model, Triumph’s first-generation Speed Triple remains a solid, durable performer.”

What are you waiting for? Check out these as your first line of research, and see where your findings take you. Certainly getting on the open road with one of the best used motorcycles  under $5,000 is a goal worth going after.

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