False Neutral #11: Best Bikes For Your Buck, Part 1


We’ve previously talked about the bikes we like most, but not every good bike is attractively priced in comparison to its worth or the competition. Everybody wants to get a deal, so this week we explore which bikes are the best value (and which ones aren’t). This week in Part One, we concentrate on the low-end of the market, around $8,000 or less, whether buying new or used.

False Neutral – The Best Bang For Your Buck, Part 1


All images are standard press kit/website photos used courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

Kawasaki H2
Yamaha FZ-09
Yamaha FZ-07
Suzuki DR-Z400SM
Suzuki Boulevard S40
Suzuki DR200S
Suzuki DR200S
Honda CRF250R
Kawaski KLR650
Sea-Doo Spark PWC
Victory Cross Country 8-Ball
Harley-Davdison Road Glide
KTM Freeride 250R
Honda CTX700N
Kawasaki W650
Honda CMX250C Rebel
Yamaha Zuma 50
Yamaha FZ1
Aprilia Tuono 1000R
Honda NT700V
Honda CB500X
Honda CB500X

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9 responses to “False Neutral #11: Best Bikes For Your Buck, Part 1”

  1. Maymar Avatar

    Because I ride one, I feel compelled to, well, not exactly defend, but chime in on the Rebel. Everything you said about it is true (cheap, awkward positioning, mediocre highway ability), but it’s also simple, ubiquitous, and fairly reliable. It’s a two-wheeled Toyota Corolla (something else that’s a little overpriced used). Also, because the market got a little soft on sub-500s for a few decades, there aren’t many choices for someone who wants a smaller bike.

    Now,mind you, $2000 is too much for one. I got mine for free, from my in-laws who only paid $1000cdn for one in decent shape.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I don’t hate the Rebel. In fact, I’ve always thought it was a fairly handsome machine that got the small-scale-Hog styling down better than most. I just don’t get the resale ask, given the mechanical specs.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        Oh, totally understood, I think it’s just a factor of the Rebel assuming a position of Universal Japanese Starter Bike because they’ve been in production longer than I’ve been alive, so there’s a wide pool to pick from (and for smaller bikes available cheaply, the only other real common choices are the Ninja 250/500 and GS500). For neophytes, it’s easier to recommend one or two easy choices, so there becomes a bunch of accidental demand because people aren’t seeking out better/more refined/more obscure alternatives (just like so many people default to the Toyota Corolla, so they’re worth a little more than they should be).

        Admittedly, it’s also the poster child for “Bike You’ll Outgrow Quickly.” I’m just lucky most of my riding is on surface streets, which buys me a bit of time.

  2. Garrett Michael Avatar
    Garrett Michael

    Pete, I waited the whole episode for you to bring up Kymco and you never did!

  3. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast

    I really believe Suzuki has a handle on reliability. My dl100k5 has run great since new.(is that the secret-since NEW?) so i do my own maintenance on it because its my life on the line, not some shop weenie. i ride up in the Rockies and am thankful for the gobs of torque the engine has. shaft drive would have made is perfect-like a bmw.

    1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar

      I’m glad SOMEONE got a good one.

      I owned my ’99 Grand Vitara JXL fo too gluing, buk there is a day when you have a critter move along, but we’ve had him, and his brother, who died a couple of year.

      Bought the trucklet with 40 miles on it.

      After a couple of yeas of my ownership, I paid it to the loak junk yard.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Friends don’t let friends type drunk.

        1. Cool_Cadillac_Cat Avatar


          Corrected. That was weird, ’cause that’s not what I typed…not even close.

  4. cap'n fast Avatar
    cap’n fast