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5 best bikes under £10,000

When you’ve £10,000 to spend on a bike you’d be forgiven for thinking the world’s your oyster – and it’s certainly true that kind of budget gives you the option of not only a whole raft of classy used bikes including BMWs and Ducatis but also a big variety of quality brand new ones as well.

Phil West

Words by: Phil West

Phil West

Additional words by: Phil West

Last updated on 11 August 2023 | 0 min read

After all, for 10 ‘big ones’ you can easily afford brand new machines as impressive and capable as, say, Yamaha’s award-winning Tracer 7 GT all-rounder or even Triumph’s brilliant retro roadster the Bonneville T100, 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, five or six years old with under 20,000 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 R1250GS? 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 customs, sports bikes and ‘super nakeds’. In short, if you’re after a used bike at this price, make sure you read our recommendations first.

1. KTM 1290 Super Adventure – the adventure all-rounder

The adventure bike category has never been more competitive– and with good reason. Best sellers like BMW’s R1250GS really can do it all – tour, commute and deliver a fun, bend-swinging Sunday ride – and yet can also be fully loaded with the latest equipment whether that be luggage, radar-controlled cruise control, semi-active suspension or more. But that also means the very best, and highly specced, options aren’t cheap. Indeed, the latest Ducati Multistrada V4 is over £20K. So where does that leave us with our £10K budget. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of choice. Sadly, you’ll only be able to afford a R1250GS if you’re prepared to go for one with over 40,000 miles. But its arguably closest rival, KTM’s brilliant V-twin 1290 Super Adventure can’t match the German’s residual values, yet beats it with 160bhp performance, class-leading electronics and, if you go for the more off-road ‘R’ version, true off-road ability. £10K will easily get you a 2019/20 example with as little as 6000 miles under its wheels.
Find a KTM 1290 Super Adventure here.

2. Yamaha MT-10SP – the supersonic super naked

If you’re looking for a fire-breathing, 150bhp+, exotic-specced super naked it’s tempting to think you want an Aprilia Tuono, Ducati Streetfighter or KTM 1290 Super Duke – all of which can (just about) be had for this kind of money. But there’s also a Japanese offering that’s just as entertaining and characterful, still comes with top spec cycle parts from the likes of Ohlins and Brembo,
has the advantage of a more solid reliability record and expansive dealer network and is also among the most versatile of the breed – Yamaha’s fabulous MT-10 SP. Effectively a naked version of the Crossplane crank R1 superbike, the MT-10 has a simply fabulously evocative and grunty 160bhp motor, in SP trim comes with classy semi-active Ohlins suspension and is also impressively comfortable (partly thanks to a small screen) and versatile – there’s even a Touring version available with panniers and taller screen. Your £10K budget will get you a mint 2017/18 version with as little as 13,000 miles on the clock. Find a Yamaha MT-10SP here.

3. BMW S1000RR – the classy superbike

If you’re after a premium, ultra-high performance superbike it’s tempting to assume that exotic Aprilias and Ducatis are out of reach of a £10K budget and you’ll be left with more humdrum, mainstream Japanese offerings such as Honda’s Fireblade or Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR. Not so. BMW’s astonishingly powerful S1000RR revolutionised the category when introduced in 2009, came with brilliantly effective rider electronics, roomy comfort and build quality that also made it a great road bike and was successively updated to become incredibly refined and usable before being updated with an all-new model in 2019. That current model remains out of reach as a used buy with this £10K budget but a good, late example of the original one is. We spotted a mint, 2017 ‘Sport model, in BMW Motorsport colours, and with just over 17,000 miles on its clocks for a tempting £9999…
Find a BMW S1000RR here.

4. BMW R1250RS – the overlooked all-rounder

If it looks familiar then that’s because it is – we included the predecessor to this bike, the R1200RS, here as best £10K sports-tourer when we last compiled this £10K Top Five. In a sense nothing’s changed – in another, quite a lot has.
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 was even better, and now can be had for the same £10K budget. We spotted a mint, 20-plate ‘Exclusive’ example (meaning it has all the BMW options) with only just over 4000 miles under its wheels for a very tempting price of just under £9000… Find a BMW R1250RS here.

5. Indian Scout – the alternative American cruiser

Last time we recommended a used cruiser that could be had for under £10K we were swayed by Ducati’s astonishing potent 160bhp V-twin hot rod, the Diavel, which can still be had, although for this budget you’re probably looking at a bike that’s at least six years old. So, we’ve had a rethink. If you want a cruiser you really want a pukka AMERICAN cruiser – ie a Harley or, we think even more tempting for this budget, an Indian. Yes, you can just about snag a Street Bob (Harley’s most basic ‘big twin’) at this price, but most of its other large cruisers fall outside, unless you’re happy with something over 10 years old. Alternatively, you could go for a fairly recent Sportster, Harley’s more junior V-twin, and the 1200 versions in particular are decent. But our alternative recommendation would be for an Indian, the historic US brand revived in 2013 by Polaris, and specifically its 1200cc Scout family, which, with 100bhp, easily out-perform the Harley Sportster, have bags of style of their own, are a pleasing ‘midi’ size and are even more affordable. We found plenty of Scout and Scout Bobbers from around 2020, with under 6000 miles or so for under £10K.
Find a ndian Scout here.

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