Auto Trader bikes

Skip to contentSkip to footer
Best Of

Top 5 first bikes for £5K

Just because you’re operating on a budget when you’re starting out on two wheels doesn’t mean that you can’t afford something that’s sporty, stylish, or versatile. Check out our picks here...

Whether you’re 16 and looking for an affordable 50cc sports scoot; 17 and fancy the ultimate in 125cc A1 class sports racer replicas or qualify for an A2-licence machine and want either a cool retro, fun roadster or genuine adventure bike, there’s plenty of choice out there for, say, under five grand.
And we’re not talking about secondhand machines here, either. As, yes, although buying used undoubtedly makes things cheaper and opens a far wider variety of bikes for that £5K budget, it also opens a potential can of worms regarding condition, reliability, warranties and more which, quite frankly, most novice newcomers would much rather do without. That’s less of a concern with very recently used machines, of course, ones are only a year or so old and have covered low mileages. In such cases there’s often most of the warranty still valid, they’ve been well looked after and, if buying from a dealer, tempting finance deals are still available. But to keep things simple here – although if your bike knowledge is good we’d certainly recommend bearing recent used bikes in mind – we’re concerning ourselves only with brand new machines in this guide. And there’s still plenty of tempting new bikes to choose from, whatever type and style you’re after. To help you deiced, here’s our current pick of the best…

1. Lexmoto Echo 50 Euro5 – the bargain 16-er scooter, £1749.99

Regular visitors to this site will need no introduction to the budget-priced Echo. Repeatedly Auto Trader’s recommendation in this class and a series UK best-seller, the Echo ticks all the 50cc sports scooter boxes – decent sports styling, OK spec, class-standard 30mph/50cc twist ‘n’ go performance and now Euro5 compliance, too – but with one over-riding advantage: price. At just £1749.99 and with finance deals from just £37.61 a month it’s terrific value and although that’s way under the £5K budget set here we make no excuses: at 16, when you’ve stratospheric insurance to deal with, new kit and security measures to buy and, probably, little by way of income, price is everything and you’ll need every £ you save. Lexmoto also offer the identically priced Echo+ version, which comes with slightly more stable 12, not 10-inch wheels (plus slightly higher seat).
Find a Lexmoto Echo 50 for sale on Auto Trader

2. Yamaha R125 – the ultimate 17-er sports, £5000

If you’re 17 and have a £5K budget for your first 125 to play with you’re a very lucky bunny indeed – but then the continuing sales success of Yamaha’s brilliant 125 learner sports suggest plenty are. The R125 (previously called the YZF-R125) has been a best seller in the category for years and this latest version, most recently updated in 2019 with new, MotoGP M1-alike styling and improved engine with variable valve-timing to boost midrange, and then again at the end of 2020 to meet Euro5, is the best yet. An updated chassis mades handling even easier, there’s a snazzy new LCD dash and overall, it looks and goes better than ever while still being novice friendly. Simply, if you want the ultimate sports 125 this is it – and you can still (just) get it for £5K!
Find a Yamaha YZF-R125 MotoGP Edition for sale on Auto Trader

KTM Duke 125
KTM Duke 125

3. KTM Duke 125 – the A1 ‘super naked’, £4499

KTM’s Duke family of ‘nakeds’ pretty much define the concept of the lightweight, sporty roadster, whether that be in 390cc, 890cc or astonishingly potent 1290cc Super Duke form. But one of the best and most popular of all is, rightly, the A1 class, 125cc version which manages to be uber-cool, easy to ride, stylish, well-equipped, a great, fun performer AND, crucially, cost under £5K new, making it an irresistible package for 17-year-old biking first timers. Its 15bhp motor is among the best in the class; it has quality suspension and brakes and, being a unfaired ‘naked’ helps keep it simple and affordable as well. Aprilia’s even cheaper £3850 supermoto SX125 and trail style RX125 is also worth a mention, here, but if you don’t want a full-on sports 125, the Duke is the one and there’s plenty of used examples available, too.
Find a KTM Duke 125 for sale on Auto Trader

Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Royal Enfield Meteor 350
Royal Enfield Meteor 350

4. Royal Enfield Meteor 350 – the ‘retro’ A2 choice, from £3879

Indian owned classic British brand Royal Enfield have become increasingly popular in recent years for their combination of ‘on-trend’ retro styling, easy but solid mechanicals and performance and affordable prices. Its all-new, twin cylinder Interceptor and Continental 650s have proved huge hits in the A2 class and offer pleasing all round 47bhp performance at a Triumph Bonneville-busting price but are now over £6K so out of reach here. Instead, there’s the new-for-2021 Meteor 350 single which, with its low seat, light weight soft 23bhp performance is about as easy to ride as novice bikes get. Yet its classic badge, cruiser/roadster styling, solid build quality and ultra-low price means it also has lots of appeal as a first bike. If its cruiser/roadster styling isn’t quite your thing, Royal Enfield also this year introduced the £4599 Scram 401 with retro roadster styling and still offer the similarly powered Himalayan adventure style machine engine for the Himalayan from £4699.
Find a Royal Enfield Meteor 350 for sale on Auto Trader


5. BMW G310R – the premium brand ‘intro’, from £4970

Although there’s plenty of quality, A2-class learner roadsters we could recommend, recent price rises have now put many of them above our £5,000 limit – Honda’s CB300R and CB500R twin, KTM’s 390 Duke and Husqvarna’s Duke-based Svartpilen 401 among them. But if you’ve a budget of £5K, are after a quality but novice-friendly A2-class roadster that’s easy to ride, one premium offering is still within reach. BMW’s G310R 34bhp single was launched in 2016, updated to Euro5 spec in 2021, is built in India (to keep prices down) yet offers perky 34bhp performance, is again light, slim and a doddle to ride, features classy touches like a smart digital dash with gear indicator and span-adjustable brakes and clutch levers and, possibly most tempting of all, is offered by BMW in its clever ‘Rookie to Rider’ finance package which includes gear bike, gear discounts and all training for around just £120 a month, after which you can upgrade to your next BMW bike.
Find a BMW G310R for sale on Auto Trader

Send me great Auto Trader offers and the latest vehicle reviews.

By signing up, you agree to receive marketing emails in accordance with our privacy notice. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow us on social media