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5 best bikes under £10,000

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After all, for 10 ‘big ones’ you can easily afford brand new machines as impressive and capable as, say, Yamaha’s award-winning Tracer 900 all-rounder or even Suzuki’s GSX-S1000F, and also have all the peace of mind a warranty and the pleasure a new bike brings.

But if you’re happy to go for a recent used machine of up to, perhaps, three or four years old with under 15,000 miles under its tyres, the choice of bikes available is bigger, broader – and grander still.

But that in itself makes knowing what to go for more difficult still – which where we come in. We’ve taken a long, hard look at the market, sussed out what’s currently available at that £10,000 price point and filtered that through our experts’ extensive knowledge over a variety of categories. So, for example, with £10K to spend on an adventure bike, is it better to go for a slightly older, higher mileage example of BMW’s class-leading but pricey R1200GS? Or are there alternatives, which, at that price, are likely to be better buys? We’ve also done the same in considering the most popular bike categories, including retros, sports bikes and ‘super nakeds’. In short, if you’re after a used bike at this price, make sure you read our recommendations first.
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sport – the adventure all-rounder
Honda’s all-new, parallel twin Africa Twin, launched in 2016, had been a long time coming and was hugely anticipated following the demise of the much-love V-twin original in 2003 and, though lacking the latest electronics and fancy TFT screen, on the whole it hit the mark. Lighter, lithe-er and, with ‘only’ 94bhp, it lacked the street superbike performance of rivals such as the Ducati Multistrada and KTM 1290 Super Adventure but made up for that with decent all-round ability, genuine off-road skills and Honda quality. Instead, what the new Africa Twin lacked was a true ‘adventure’ variant, a ‘la BMW, with a big touring tank, added comfort and so on. Realising its mistake, Honda rectified that with the additional ‘Adventure Sports’ version in 2018 which added to the basic recipe with an enlarged 18.8-24.2-litre fuel tank along with improved, 20mm longer travel suspension, uprated electronics (including now seven-way traction control and more customizable riding modes), a taller screen and even slathered it all in striking, heritage red/white/blue Africa Twin livery. Though significantly pricier at the time, residuals aren’t great mostly due to two further updated 1100cc versions being launched in 2020, which primarily have 6 extra bhp and a new dash. But with the big tanked (but now lower suspension) Adventure Sports version now costing almost £15K new, it’s worth noting you can now get a very low mileage, 18-plate, 1000cc version that’s virtually as new and may even come with accessories such as luggage, for as little as £10K which, considering its Honda quality and proven reliability makes it an absolute steal. By comparison, the best BMW GS you can get for that money is a 14-plate, old 1200-engined base model and we know which we’d prefer…

Find a Honda Africa Twin here.
Aprilia Tuono 1100 V4 Factory APRC – the supersonic street fighter
Italian marque Aprilia is brilliant at one main thing – producing the universally rated best super naked, the now 1100cc V4-powered, 175bhp Tuono, which is derived from the RSV4 superbike – and it’s absolutely awful at another: their bikes holding their value. And those two things put together make recommending a 17-plate top spec Factory APRC version of the Tuono, which is a multi award-winner as best naked, has the best chassis and engine in the class, comes complete with all the Ohlins and Brembo goodies you need and which can be had for as little as £10K (yes, really) when a brand new, slightly updated version costs a whopping £17K, a complete ‘no-brainer. Yes, you could have an as-new Yamaha MT-10 for the same money which is a good bike; or even a 19-plate BMW S1000R showing just 3K miles, which is good, too. But neither have anything like the spec, class, exclusivity and almost regal quality of the Aprilia. Downsides? Not many. Aprilia’s dealer network can’t match, say, BMs, there’s that residual value issue – although by buying a two or three-year-old example you’ve largely given that a swerve – and maybe, just maybe, it’s a little bit lary for some. But in every other respect, the Tuono 1100 Factory is 24ct pure gold – at bargain money.

Find a Aprilia Tuono 1100 V4 here.
Kawasaki ZX-10R – the world superbike champion
If you were to go by sports results alone, there’s one bike that stands out above all others when it comes to superbikes – Kawasaki’s ZX-10R. World Superbike Champions for five successive years in the hands of Jonathan Rea (and also in 2013 with Tom Sykes), the big Ninja rules the roost on the race track despite the best efforts of rivals Yamaha, Honda and Ducati. It has also been developed and refined over the years since its original launch in 2011 to now deliver not just 207bhp but also have some of the best electronics and brakes in the class plus also a ‘look’ – full Jonathan Rea replica liveries are available – that’s the raciest of all. Better than all of that, though, the ZX-10R’s success, longevity and popularity also means that, not only is the Kawasaki a proven, reliable, quality used buy, but the sheer quantity of used examples available allied to a fairly reasonable c. £14K new price, also means good, low mileage examples can easily be had for under £10K. We easily found a mint, 18-plate example showing just 8000miles for £9995 and, for that money, you’re laughing all the way to the bank – fast!

Find a Kawasaki ZX-10R here.
BMW R1200RS – the underrated all-rounder
One of the most underrated new bikes of 2019 was BMW’s revamped, R1250R roadster-based R1250RS sports tourer. First introduced in 2015 as effectively a R1200R boxer roadster with a semi-sporty half fairing, the RS revived the classy vibe and all-round practicality of the original 1970s R100RS but with modern 125bhp boxer performance, neutral handling, all-day (and fully adjustable) comfort and as many BMW-style optional goodies, such as heated grips, luggage and even electronically-adjustable suspension that your wallet could stretch to. The 2019 1250 version, with the new, enlarged, 134 bhp ‘ShiftCam’ engine, flashy new TFT screen and tweaked styling is even better, of course, but, by starting at over £12k even the base version is pretty pricey. But if you’re after maximum value, the 1250’s arrival is good news for used 1200 prices. Although not quite as good as the 1250, a good, 17-plate, 15K mile 1200RS, fully loaded with luggage, ESA and more, can now be had for under £10,000. And for a classy, well-equipped, proven and immensely versatile machine, they don’t come much better.

Find a BMW R1200RS here.
Ducati Diavel – the cruiser that does it all
Here’s one you might not have expected – but it’s more than worth a look, especially if you’re after a style-heavy retro or cruiser style machine. When originally launched back in 2011, superbike specialists’ Ducati’s take on the ‘performance cruiser’ simply blew everyone’s minds. Its Multistrada-derived 160bhp V-twin, ultra-sophisticated electronics and top-notch chassis components such as full sports Brembo brakes and multi-adjustable suspension, delivered performance and handling that made a mockery of its cruiser-style gait and blew all rivals away. Yet at the same time its upright riding position, laid back looks and exquisite styling and detail touches also put the Diavel very firmly in the stylish roadster or cruiser camp. Park one up and we guarantee you’ll grab as much attention as any Harley or Triumph. Fire away on one, however, and their riders will simply be eating your dust.
Of course, the downside to all that style, sophistication and speed was the Diavel’s new price. The latest, top spec 1260 S version will cost you a fiver short of 20 grand with even the base model (without Ohlins suspension etc) starting at £16,995. No matter. That nearly-10-year production run and 2018 update to 1260 form (with enlarged engine, improved electronics, new TFT screen etc) also means slightly older examples can now be a bargain – and for very little trade-off considering how it’s likely to be ridden. We found a 17-plate 1200 stocker (not the carbon or S models) showing just 14,000miles for just £9999. And, for a bike which does it all yet is also has all the allure of a genuine cruiser or retro, that’s some kind of steal.

Find a Ducati Diavel here.