In the last few weeks we’ve categorized the cheapest motorcycles of 2017, as well as the most expensive motorcycles of 2017. But what about the realistic bikes that offer the best bang for your buck? You know, the motorcycle that’s going to deliver the most of everything you desire for the money spent. In this list you’ll find bikes we consider to be the best value from categories including cruisers, sportbikes, ADV bikes, utilitarian bikes, and play bikes. Depending on your personal proclivities and the size of your bank account, there are probably a few more that can be added to the list. Write your suggestions in the comments section below.
Overall winner of our Battle of the 125cc Ankle Biters, the SSR Razkull outscored the Honda Grom and Kawasaki Z125 Pro partly by having an MSRP about one-third less expensive. Yes, the Razkull is carbureted whereas the other two are fuel-injected, but that didn’t stop the little SSR from winning our hearts. The fact that the Razkull resembles a mini-Monster certainly doesn’t hurt either. Learn more about the Razkull here.
The CSC RX3 was our Honorable Mention for Best Value of 2015, and it remains a bargain for 2017. It’s also been the only 250cc adventure bike available in the U.S. before the introductions of the forthcoming Honda CRF250L Rally ($5,899), Kawasaki Versys-X 300, BMW G310GS (price TBD), and Suzuki V-Strom 250 (price TBD). So, if you’re in the market for an ADV bike, but aren’t attracted to the weight and price tag of larger adventure bikes, the RX3 is an affordably priced, small-displacement option. Check out our full review of the RX3 here.
After putting a few thousand miles on a long-termer KTM 390 Duke, we declared that it can’t be topped in terms of versatility, style and performance in a $5k package. Winner of our Little Terrors Comparison against Honda’s CB500F, the little Duke punched above its weight, outpointing the bigger Japanese bike in smiles per dollar; $4,999 vs. $6,299. “The little orange ripper’s amazingly light weight and low price tag blow the Honda out of the water. What a sweet little maniac of a bike,” was our final conclusion. If the KTM isn’t your cup-o-tea, read more about the Honda CB500F – our Honorable Mention for Best Value of 2014 – here.
Yamaha’s FZ-07 has won MO’s annual Best Value category three years in a row: 2014, 2015, 2016, and it remains one of the best bang-for-your-buck motorcycles on the planet even at its inflated-for-2017 $7,199 MSRP. The FZ-07 won our 2014 Middleweight Mash-Up Six-Way Shootout!, and was only narrowly defeated (0.3%) by KTM’s 690 Duke in our Suzuki’s SV650 Takes On The Competition shootout last year. The FZ-07 is also one of the most versatile motorcycles, excelling at everything from commuter duties to trackday fun.
John Burns would have my ass in a sling if Honda’s NC700X failed to make this list. One of the most utilitarian streetbikes ever constructed, with an engine that’ll most likely run forever, the NC700X at $7,699 could be the only motorcycle in your garage. While not the most exciting two-wheeler, it’ll perform any task asked of it comfortably for about any size rider. In our Midsize Urbane Adventurers shootout the NC lost out to Kawasaki’s Versys 650 ABS, and while a legitimate alternative, in terms of value it costs $400 more than the Honda. Check out JB’s Long Term Review of the NC here.
Having just published our initial review of Kawasaki’s new Z900, the bike’s fresh in our mind, and at $8,399 it undercuts Yamaha’s newly updated FZ-09 by $600. That doesn’t mean to imply the new Kawi will defeat the FZ in a shootout, but the Z900 is an obvious bargain for price-conscious shoppers. The Z doesn’t boast any cutting-edge technology, but you’re not going to find a liter-size four-cylinder with this kind of performance anywhere else for less than $8,400.
Last year Indian’s Scout Sixty won Honorable Mention for Best Value. Evans Brasfield said it best: “The same qualities that make the Indian Scout Sixty the Best Cruiser of 2016 make it an incredible value. Indian created a motorcycle that costs 20% less than its bigger sibling and gave it 95% of the torque and 83% of the horsepower. To put the Scout Sixty’s accomplishments into perspective, one needs to look no further than our Great American $9k Cruise-Off, which pit the Sixty against the Harley-Davidson Iron 883. The Sportster has long been the go-to model for cruiser fans looking for an American-made cruiser in $9,000 price range, but when the dust settled, the Sixty ended up on top by almost 2 percentage points, largely due to the strengths of its engine, suspension, and build quality.
It wasn’t a single model that won last year’s Motorcycle of the Year award, it was Triumph’s entire Bonneville lineup, and the Street Twin is the most affordable among the Bonneville models. Among the many retro bikes available from Ducati, Moto Guzzi, et al, the $8700 Street Twin, with its 900cc parallel-Twin, represents perhaps the best value. Guzzi’s upcoming V7 lll Stone, at $7990 (and yet to be tested), might be a better modern representation of a ’60s classic, but it’ll be outgunned in power production. Read all about Triumph’s most affordable Bonneville here.
Besides Evans Brasfield’s Forgotten Files article last year, we have to go all the way back to 2011 and our Gentlemen’s Sportbike Shootout to find a comparison with the Suzuki Bandit 1250 and a couple of its competitors. It didn’t win that shootout against the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and Yamaha FZ1, but at $11,599, we see that its price six years ago was $1,700 more than its 2016 MSRP of $9,899. The Bandit 1250S ABS is not returning for 2017, but there are definitely some 2016 models to be had, and dealers are probably willing to heavily subtract from that already low retail price. A brand new 1255cc sport-tourer for under $10k is a steal by any measure.
Regardless of model – RR, Factory, or some earlier variation – we love Aprilia’s Tuono V4. It’s the only bike that comes close to upsetting the mighty KTM Super Duke R from its hooligan throne, and, depending who you ask, is actually the better motorcycle. In fact, in last year’s Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout EiC Duke and I called it draw. Working against the SDR is that it only comes in an expensive ($17,999) version, whereas the Tuono RR model at $14,999 is more affordable than its counterpart Factory version ($17,499) or the KTM. Although the Tuono was barely out-pointed by Yamaha’s FZ-10 in our most recent Streetfighter Shootout, by a scant 0.2%, the Tuono vaults the cool factor to an unapproachable level for its MotoGP V-4 soundtrack and Italian flair. Performance-per-dollar, it’s hard to match what the Tuono RR brings to the table. The 2017, the Tuono receives several upgrades, including Cornering ABS, color TFT instrumentation, cruise control, an auto-blipping downshifter and a 500-rpm higher redline.
Honorable Mention: EBR 1190SX: $12,995
Poor EBR. With the announcement late last year of yet another liquidation, it seems unlikely that even Erik Buell can phoenix this time around. However, if you’re willing to purchase a motorcycle from an OEM that for the most part already doesn’t exist, the 1190SX is a steal at its current $12,995 price. In last year’s Yet Another Streetfighter Shootout the 1190SX proved to be the most raw among the participants, and we mean that in a good way. And some day a clean EBR could well be very valuable at auction.