Motorcycle insurance is a slippery subject. With so many options for coverage, it’s hard to keep track of every kind of policy. However, if you live in the States you gotta have at least bodily injury and property damage liability coverage before legally operating your motorcycle. But getting insurance doesn’t have to break the bank.
It’s true, generally speaking, the smaller the engine displacement the less insurance will cost. Age also plays a factor, too. If you’re 19 and own a CBR1000RR, expect to pay a premium.
Here, we’re putting together ten cheap motorcycles to insure. However, if this list were to simply name the ten cheapest, it would consist entirely of piddly beginner bikes spanning different decades.
To simplify things, this list will be comprised of only 2013 models, of which we picked the two cheapest in five different categories: Beginner bikes (500cc and under), sportbikes, sport-touring, cruisers and standard bikes.
Obviously, the cost of insurance will vary widely depending on age, motorcycle type, and driving record, just to name a few factors. Here, we consulted with three insurance providers: Progressive, GEICO and Dairyland Cycle Insurance for quotes on our fictitious male, 30-year-old rider with a clean driving record living in Los Angeles.
Actual prices won’t be displayed since everyone’s circumstances are different. Shop around with various insurance providers to get specific quotes for your needs.
Beginner Bikes – Honda Rebel
Unless you’re fresh out of the rider training course, it’s easy to forget about the Honda Rebel, but this little Honda stalwart was consistently the least expensive beginner bike we found during our search, no doubt in part to its modest 234cc engine.
The Rebel’s entirely unassuming presence and ride characteristics give riders and insurance companies alike good reason not to feel in danger. If the cruiser style is not for you, the trio in our recent beginner bike shootout: Honda’s CBR250R, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Hyosung GT250R are all only marginally more costly than the Rebel, and within a few bucks of each other, depending on provider.
Beginner Bikes – Honda CB500X/F
Though there aren’t any on the roads yet, the Honda CB500X and CB500F have already been granted fairly inexpensive coverage fees from the insurance companies we sought a quote from. Maybe due to its full fairing, or simply the “R” designation in its name, the CBR500R is more expensive than its 500cc stablemates.
For those looking for a Honda alternative, the Suzuki DR-Z400SM priced similarly to the two CB500s.
Sportbikes – Triumph Daytona 675
We’ll break the sportbike section into two groups: 600s and 1000s. During our middleweight sportbike tests, the combatants are always so similarly matched and picking a winner is a matter of splitting hairs. However, if we had factored in insurance costs, the clear winner would be the Triumph Daytona 675. We found quotes significantly less expensive than its Japanese counterparts, definitely a shocking discovery.
Sportbikes – Kawasaki ZX-10R
If you want a Japanese literbike, we found the Big Four — and BMW — are evenly priced when it comes to insurance. As expected, Ducati, Aprilia and the other European brands incur a premium when it comes time to insure. However, one company in particular, GEICO, quoted a significantly lower rate for the Kawasaki ZX-10R than the other Japanese 1000s. Hence its spot on this list.
Sport-Touring – KTM 990 SM-T
The Sport-Touring category is vast in selection, with models from Europe and Japan all jockeying for a piece of the pie. When it comes time for insurance, all the current models we found were very similarly priced. However, we were able to find a considerably cheaper rate for the KTM 990 SM-T through GEICO, so it gets the nod for the sixth spot. Perfect if you prefer more sport than touring.
Any Other Sport-Touring Motorcycle
It’s incredible how closely priced this category is. It’s not surprising models like the BMW K1600GT/GTL and Ducati Multistrada were more expensive (though only just); what’s more surprising is our quote search for the BMW R1200RT, Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14, Yamaha FJR1300, Triumph Trophy 1200 and Moto-Guzzi Norge all delivered the exact same price. So if you’re in the market for one of the above, don’t let insurance costs sway your opinion.
Cruisers – Honda Shadow 750, Suzuki Boulevard S40, Star V Star Custom
There’s a three-way tie when it comes to cruisers with more pep than the Honda Rebel. In our search for quotes the Honda Shadow 750, Suzuki Boulevard S40 and Star V Star Custom all returned the same prices.
Cruisers – Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Triumph America/Speedmaster
Take a slight step up in displacement and there’s another tie, as the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic, Suzuki Boulevard C50 and Triumph America/Speedmaster all returned the same quote during our search. At 803cc, the Suzuki has the smallest engine of the trio. Triumph is next at 865cc, with the Kawasaki trumping the others at 903cc. The Triumph is unique in that it’s the only one with a parallel-Twin instead of a V-Twin like the others.
Standards – Honda NC700X, Kawasaki Ninja 650/Versys, Suzuki SFV650
Conveniently, one of our favorite — and underrated — categories, the middleweight standard, also yields four of the least expensive motorcycles to insure: Honda’s NC700X, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 and Versys, and the Suzuki SFV650 (formerly the Gladius). All of these bikes could be taken as the modern interpretation of the UJM, which is refreshing in this age of specialized motorcycles.
Often, when we have a member of this innocent, do-anything-and-do-it-comfortably foursome in our garage, it’s the one we gravitate towards when the cameras aren’t pointed at us. If we were to actually own one, knowing the insurance wouldn’t take a bite of our wallet just makes us favor them even more.
Standards – Triumph Speed Triple
When it comes to big displacement standards, the Triumph Speed Triple narrowly edged out bikes like the Kawasaki Z1000 and Ninja 1000, Yamaha FZ8 and Suzuki GSX1250FA (aka Bandit). There was some discrepancy between the different insurance companies we researched, but on average the Trumpet came out as the best bargain versus the competition. With one of our favorite street engines, impressive handling, and fairly comfortable ergos, we’re big fans of the Speed Triple ourselves.