For many fans of the open road, riding a bike means total freedom – so looking for the best used motorcycles often means trying to wring the best deal possible out of a desperate seller. You need to be willing to walk away. Don’t buy a fixer-upper, since shop rates per hour are cost-prohibitive. But do be on the lookout for what you want.
We’ve scoured the reviews, consulted with the experts, and looked over what’s currently out there to come up with this beginning list of the best used motorcycles. Start here and you’ll be well on your way.
- Harley-Davidson Dyna SuperGlide Sport (1999-2003) – One of our sources, MotorCyclistsonline, did a review a fewyears back on the 50 best used bikes. For touring, specifically heavyweight cruisers, there was really only one: the Harley-Davidson Dyna platform. The 1999 model year was the first for the twin-cam 88 engine, says the publication, and advises buyers: “For the best deals, consider the Dyna platform. They’re less in demand than Softails, and more affordable. Our pick is the sporty FXDX Super Glide Sport with fully adjustable suspension and dual front-disc brakes.” Or go with Dyna Low Rider for more classic cruiser looks.
- Triumph Speed Triple (1999-2003) — MotorCyclistsonline calls the Triumph Speed Triple “everything a naked bike should be – comfortable, smooth, fast, nimble and unique.” TotalMotorcycle.com raves that the Triumph Speed Triple is “attitude made metal,” and “a rebel with a very clear cause – maximum impact allied to full rider control.”
- Ducati M900 Monster (1993-2003) – Combine signature 90-degreedesmodromic V-twin with “comfortable upright ergonomics, great brakes and capable suspension” and “the result is a hoot on nearly any kind of road,” says MotorCyclistsonline. And who doesn’t yearn for a Ducati, anyway?
- Suzuki Bandit 1200S (1996-present) – 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.”
- Yamaha V-Star 1100s (1999-present) – In both Classic and Custom, many reviewers say the Yamaha V-Star 1100s are flat-out must-have bikes. TotalMotorcycle.com is explicit: “V-Star 1100s are bargains. No catch. For the prices asked, they are motorcycles of astonishing quality and practicality at all levels, whether it’s performance, handling, comfort and even attention to details. Because of its higher quality finish and richer look, the new Classic is easily worth the higher price it demands.” Motorcyclecruiser.com agrees, saying “The Custom, styled with a somewhat chopperesque manner… offers 1100cc of power at a budget price…If you prefer the bulkier, traditional American look… [go for] the 1100 Classic.”
Of course, everyone has their favorites when it comes to motorcycles, and best used motorcycles are no different. But you do want to do your research and then make your best deal – after you’ve taken a test-ride, have thoroughly checked all the bike’s service records and are satisfied this is the best bike for you. Go ahead, get started, and good luck in your search.