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5 Best bikes under £5000

Whatever type of A2-licence compliant bike you’re after (we’re not dealing with used A1 licence 125s here, £5K will get you almost any of them new), we can point you in the right direction. Here’s our pick of the current best used bikes for £5K.

If you’re in the market for a good used motorcycle the c.£5K price point is one of the most popular of all – which is both good and bad news if you’re thinking about buying a bike.
On the plus side, there’s a brilliant choice available of machines to suit all types of riders – and riding. But, conversely, that sheer scale of choice makes it harder to know what models may suit you best – and what common faults, if any, you should be looking for. Take, for example, the middleweight twins category – bikes between 600 and 700cc with around 70bhp and two cylinders to keep them slim and light – there’s loads of them, ranging from Suzuki’s V-twin SV650. To Kawasaki’s Zed and Versys to Yamaha’s best-selling MT-07 family. And that’s not including bikes like Ducati’s Monster, Triumph’s Bonneville retro or BMW’s brilliant F700 so which should you go for? Which is where Autotrader bikes can help. Our experts have vast experience not just of buying and selling but of the bikes themselves – what you get, what’s the best and, crucially, when buying used, what’s the most reliable, what you should look out for and which accessories actually add value.
1. Honda CB500X – the best A2 option
We’ve been consistent fans of Honda’s purpose-built, A2-licence specific, CB500 twins family (there’s CB500F roadster, CBR500R sports and CMX500 cruiser variants, too, all built around the same willing and flexible 47bhp twin) but the X adventure style version stands out in particular. Updated in 2019 with a facelift, improved clocks and longer suspension to give it an even more authentic adventure bike feel, it’s also still low enough to be a doddle to ride for all, is equally at home around town or on the motorway and is well built with proven mechanicals – enough, in fact, for it to be Autotrader’s Best A2 Bike of 2019. Best of all, however, although over £6000 new, £5K will easily get you an as-new 19-plate example with barely £3K on the clock. As long as it has no novice dings or damage you’ll have the best A2 bike around – and at bargain money.
Find a Honda CB500X here.
2. Honda CBR650F – the brilliant ‘first big bike’
Honda have the best track record of any when it comes to delivering brilliant ‘first big bikes’ – machines that have enough unrestricted performance to satisfy yet also the easy manners and novice-friendly proportions so as to not intimidate, and all delivered with excellent build quality and reliability and a dealer network that’s second to none. Nor is its four-cylinder CBR sports/all-rounder Big H’s only option. There’s also its naked sibling, the CB650F, for roadster fans and the economical and clever NC750X, to mention just two. Then there’s the option of brilliant, lightweight twins such as Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 and Yamaha’s best-selling MT-07, all of which can be easily had for under £5K. For us, though, if it’s truly a ‘first big bike’ you’re after, Honda’s four-cylinder CBR stands out strongest. With a free-revving four-cylinder engine good for 90bhp and 130mph, yet also utterly compliant and docile when you want it to be, it’s a truly great introduction to ‘big bikes’. While its full-size chassis blended with novice-friendly ergonomics and precise, light controls means that, while a fun, fine handler it never becomes a handful, either. The very latest version, the CBR650R, came out in 2019 benefitting from updated Fireblade-alike styling and other mods and, as used buy remains out of range of this budget at £6K-plus. But the preceding 2017-2018 CBR650F is, to all intents and purposes, the same bike, arguably as handsome and equally versatile and fun. Quality finishes and proven durability also means you should have no concerns when buying used, especially as there are plenty about. £5K will easily buy you a clean, 2017 model with as little as 5000 miles on its digital clocks.
Find a Honda CBR650F here.
3. Triumph Street Triple 675 – the best middleweight ‘naked’
'Another bike that has been head-and-shoulders above its rivals ever since it was introduced (in this case way back in 2007) is British firm Triumph’s brilliant Street Triple. Inspired by the Speed Triple super naked but this time essentially an unfaired or ‘naked’ Daytona 675 but with higher bars and a more upright riding position, the Striple is a simply brilliant blend of performance, fun, character and value. The original version had twin round headlamps, a flexible and fast 97bhp from its distinctive three-cylinder Daytona engine fabulously sporty but still upright and comfortable handling and, originally around £7K new, was great value as well. Major revisions in 2011 brought new, more angular ‘foxeye’ headlights, 105bhp and even better handling. This then was updated further to become the Street Triple 765 in 2017 (whose engine is the basis for Triumph’s Moto2 unit, natch) but, for most, a good, late 675 delivers all the style, practicality and ‘junior super naked’ thrills anyone could want. £5K will buy a mint, 5000-mile, 16-plate example, possibly with some tasty Triumph accessories, such as a flyscreen and belly pan and you won’t regret it. However, if you want you middleweight naked more sedate or retro, a recent Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor (£5K will buy an examples with barely 2K under its wheels) or Triumph Bonneville (£5K will get you a late, 6000-mile, 865), will more than satisfy for the same money.
Find a Triumph Street Triple 675 here.
4. Yamaha Tracer 700 – the bargain ‘all-rounder’
Yamaha’s family of modular-built, budget-conscious but still fun-packed MT 700 twin and 900 triples have been one of motorcycling’s biggest success stories ever since the launch of the original 900cc MT-09 roadster triple in 2013 which immediately proved lively, fine handling yet also flexible and affordable. A 700cc twin version soon followed, which, if anything, was even better and more of a bargain, and their success lead to the even more versatile, half-faired and roomier ‘Tracer’ sports-tourer versions in 2015 and 2016 respectively which have also proved Europe-wide best sellers. It’s not hard to see why. The 700, in particular, manages that brilliant trick of being both unintimidating and affordable enough to attract newbies but also sufficiently long-legged and lively to satisfy more experienced riders as well. The Tracer 700 has been improved further for 2020 with a facelift, adjustable screen, new clocks and other detail changes, but is out of this budget. But the original, with the same 74bhp and versatility has just as much ‘all-round’ appeal and £5K will easily get you an excellent 18-plate example with as little as 7000miles on the clock.
Find a Yamaha Tracer 700 here.
5. Kawasaki Z1000SX – the big sports-tourer that does it all
First introduced in 2010 and a consistent best-seller ever since, the SX is one of those rare bikes that was surprisingly brilliant from the get-go and has been refined and improved, three times in fact (and for 2020 is now called the Ninja 1000SX to confuse things slightly), ever since. Originally a Z1000 super naked with the addition of a fairing and other tweaks to turn it into an affordable, sub £10K sports-tourer it was actually much more than the sum of its parts. While the Zed thou was a fairly indistinct super naked, this faired version, with an ample 140bhp, comfort for two, decent handling and a great price was a truly brilliant budget all-rounder with enough sporting ability to entertain. It was thoroughly updated and improved in 2014 with new brakes, suspension, styling, ergonomics and electronic rider aids, then again in 2017 with further enhancements, before 2020’s latest makeover. Throughout it all it’s just got on with it as a brilliant real world four-cylinder motorcycle that’s fast, practical, fun and good value. £5K obviously won’t get you the latest versions, but it will get you a good 14-plate example with a still low 20-30K on the clock. And, with so many to choose from and utterly solid mechanicals, you can’t really go wrong. With a bit of luck it’ll even come with panniers, too.
Find a Kawasaki Z1000SX here.

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