Buying A Motorcycle Under 10K

Date 26.5.2016

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader


Shopping With $10K |…And The Rest

If you’re into tourers, retros, collectables or something exotic… Here’s a snapshot of what 10 grand will buy you in each category.

Honda ST1300 ABS | TOURER

What you get: circa-2006, 10,000km

The V-four along-the-frame ST series is one of Honda’s best-ever road engines, both in 1100 and 1300 form. Ultra-flexible and willing, they make unbelievably light work of the big tourers they’re bolted in. Believe it or not, an ST in the right hands is a very fast motorcycle.

Its chassis is not the sharpest tool in the corporate toybox, but will show most heavyweight tourers a thing or two and carries on with the minimum of flex. Suspension is controlled while producing a decent level of comfort and braking is adequate without being spectacular. Go for the ABS version.

Servicing is mostly inexpensive, but make sure the cam belt replacement intervals are respected.


If you like the idea of a big, comfortable tourer that is still quick when you want it to be, this is the place to look.

Power  87kW at 8000rpm

Torque 117Nm at 6500rpm

Dry/wet weight  286/331kg

Thumbs Up: Comfy, fast and capable

Thumbs Down: Watch the cam belt changeover


MV Agusta Brutale 910 S | EXOTIC

What you get: circa-2006, 20,000km

Now is a good time to toss out any thoughts of practicality or anything much related to reason. You buy a Brutale as a Sunday morning indulgence, and anyone who pretends otherwise needs their medication changed.

What you get is the F4 1000 engine stuffed into a short naked bike, with lots of little MV styling touches scattered around it.

There’s an ongoing debate over the reliability of these things, though I suspect the problems may be overstated.

In any case, you get tonnes of power, sharp and very quick steering along with a big set of brakes, all held on the tarmac by premium suspension.


It’s not particularly comfortable, and may not necessarily set a record lap time, but it looks good and is more than quick enough.

Prices seem soft on these things at the moment, which makes them a bit of a bargain.

Power  100kW at 11,000rpm

Torque 96Nm at 7900rpm

Dry weight  185kg

Thumbs Up: Fast, fun, looks good

Thumbs Down: Reliability is an ongoing debate


Kawasaki W800 | RETRO

What you get: circa-2011, 10,000km

There has to be an irony in here somewhere: Arguably the best retro bike on the market is a tribute to a Kawasaki (the W1 of 1966) that was built to mimic a Triumph Bonneville. Now the two are fierce competitors.

The W800 is the second major generation of this design, the first being the W650 (1999-07). Like its predecessor, it’s not going to win any awards for arm-wrenching performance, pin-sharp handling or spectacular braking. This is a simple, easy-to-ride and pleasant motorcycle. That’s it.

Kawasaki W800-Retro

It’s robust enough, has a fair bit of customisation potential, though I’d look elsewhere if carrying a pillion is a big part of your mission. All up, it’s just good traditional biking fun.

Power: 34kW at 6500rpm

Torque: 60Nm at 6100rpm

Wet weight: 217kg

Thumbs Up: Very easy to like

Thumbs Down: Not ideal for two-up


Suzuki Bandit 1250 ABS | NAKED

What you get: circa-2010, 10,000km

The heart of this motorcycle is that big silky fuel-injected four which feels a whole lot more willing than its mere 95-ish horses might suggest. That’s because it’s been tuned to be ultra flexible.

That’s backed by a slick gearbox, respectable if not cutting-edge chassis, very good brakes and an ABS option. All up, it’s living proof that the Universal Japanese Motorcycle is alive and well.

It’s a decent pillion mount and will handle anything from commuting, through sports riding to a long trip with no fuss. Overall design leans towards the long and stable, but the steering is light enough to make a set of corners something to look forward to.


This is one of those bikes that will put a smile back on the face of all but the most hardened cynic.

Power: 71kW at 7500rpm

Torque:  106Nm at 3540rpm

Dry weight:  225kg

Thumbs Up: Quick, flexible, fun

Thumbs Down: Not an ultra-sharp sportsbike



What you get: circa-2000, 50,000km

Also known as the RC51, this isn’t yet old enough to qualify for club registration, but I’d nevertheless be considering putting one away. The SP1 is the first of two SPs and is the road-going version of the bike Colin Edwards used to briefly break the Ducati stranglehold on the World Superbike Championship by winning it in 2000. It also happens to be a quick motorcycle with tonnes of character.

The 50-60,000km mileage I’ve suggested won’t hurt it – of greater concern is that you get something in good overall condition and very good cosmetics.

It still qualifies as an exciting ride and this is a bike I can see doing well over the long term.


Power: 101kW at 9500rpm

Torque: 105Nm at 8000rpm

Dry weight: 196kg

Thumbs Up: Fun collectable sportsbike

Thumbs Down: Really a solo bike


Words: Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

Red more of what you can ride with ‘Ten Grand In Hand’:  Sport, Sports Tourer, Adventure, Cruiser, LAMS ….