Many manufacturers have been making a big push lately to introduce new models that won’t take a massive bite out of your wallet. Makes sense, really, as our sport is still trying to recover from the darkest days of the economic meltdown. Since disposable income isn’t what it used to be, we’ve come up with a list of the 10 least expensive street-legal motorcycles you can buy in 2014.
Not surprisingly, none of these bikes come from Europe, nor do any have engines with more than two cylinders. As you’d expect, the reason why some of these bikes are so cheap is because many of them come from less-industrialized nations. That said, there are still a few bikes here from reputable companies we’d recommend if extremely cheap transportation is what you’re looking for. And if the ultra-cheap options here appeal to you, make sure they are EPA-legal in your state.
Our list starts with the most expensive first, working our way to cheapest at numero uno. So what will four grand and some change get you? Read on to find out.
10. Honda Rebel: $4190
Remember the Honda Rebel? The bike many of you likely dropped several times in your MSF courses, the venerable Rebel, is still in the Honda lineup. Why? Because it doesn’t cost much, and if your learner classes taught you anything, it’s that you’ll have to try pretty hard to kill one of these things. Powered by a 234cc parallel-Twin, the little Rebel isn’t very modern or contemporary, but it’s cheap and it works. Considering Honda still sells them after all these years, that’s apparently all many of you are looking for.
9. Hyosung GV250: $3999
Say you really want a cheap cruiser. As long as it looks the part and moves out of its own way, nothing else matters. Well, hypothetical friend, Hyosung has what you’re looking for in the GV250. An Asian cruiser not from Japan may sound a little sketchy, but the GV250 offers some impressive features, like a 250cc V-Twin, fuel injection, and big-bike styling. At a dollar under four-large, the GV250 is nothing if not affordable. Isn’t that the point of this list?
8. Suzuki GW250: $3999
Continuing into 2014 unchanged from last year (doesn’t even get bold new graphics!), the Suzuki GW250 is a cheap beginner bike alternative that doesn’t fall into the sportbike or cruiser category. Powered by a SOHC parallel-Twin, the 250’s styling mimics the audacious (and discontinued) Hayabusa-powered B-King’s, but it isn’t the least bit intimidating. Sold as the Inazuma in Europe for the past few years, and built in China, time will tell if it gains popularity with the American crowd.
7. Johnny Pag Falcon 320i: $3995
Admittedly, we don’t know much about the Johnny Pag Falcon. However, we do know it’s five bucks under four-large and powered by a 320cc, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled parallel-Twin. More importantly, it looks pretty snazzy for a bike in this category. With twin discs up front and an inverted fork, this could be the ticket if an ultra-cheap sportbike is what you’re looking for.
6. Hyosung GT250R: $3799
Coming in $200 less than its cruiser stablemate, the Hyosung GT250R shares the 250cc V-Twin from the cruiser and places it in a naked-bike chassis. The result is a very inexpensive motorcycle suited more towards the taller or larger beginner. Its proportions are more in line with bigger bikes, though its little engine belies its actual size. It’s a decent motorcycle, and for the price, you really can’t go wrong.
5. Qlink Adventure 250/Tour 250: $3395
The Qlink Adventure and Tour 250 are far cries from American Iron, but they do represent cheap alternatives to your typical cruiser and bagger. Both are powered by a carbureted 248cc V-Twin, which itself is rather impressive for a bike this cheap. The cruiser-inspired Adventure evokes classic cruiser styling with a raked front end and classic lines. Its spoked wheels and chrome pipes complete the look. The Tour (shown above) takes the Adventure and adds a windscreen, different seat, and hard bags for long(er) distance travel. While we haven’t ridden it, it looks good for a sub-$3400 bike.
4. Cleveland Cyclewerks Tha Heist / Tha Misfit: $3295
If you’re looking for a stylish bike for rock-bottom pricing, look towards Cleveland Cyclewerks. With the cafe-racer inspired “Tha Misfit” and hardtail chopper “Tha Heist” CCW puts out great-looking bikes for dirt cheap. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. We’ve ridden both bikes before and were less than impressed with its fit and finish. However, if you’re the type who keeps a well-stocked tool kit at home, the 229cc, Chinese Singles from CCW won’t scare you.
3. Honda Grom: $3199
Get ready for a wildcard! The Honda Grom looks like a motorcycle (albeit a tiny one), smells like a motorcycle, and works like a motorcycle, so we’re calling it one and including it. It’s street-legal, too, so technically it rightly deserves its spot on this list. With a 124cc engine you can’t take it on the freeway, but you sure as hell can terrorize the city streets, go-kart track, or local skate park! Honda can’t seem to keep enough of these things in dealerships and we know why: they’re really cheap and an absolute blast.
2. Symwolf Classic 150: $2999
It’s remarkable what $3000 will get you. The Symwolf Classic is a retro-styled bike powered by a 149.4cc air-cooled Single, that’s claimed to return up to 85 mpg. It only makes 15 horses, and transfers it through five gears, but we can see many people gravitating towards this Taiwanese-made motorcycle for its extremely attractive price and what appears to be respectable fit and finish. Backed by an impressive 24-month warranty, the Symwolf Classic 150 is also the official tour bike of Andrew Dost of the band FUN.
1. Qlink XP200/XF200: $2650
We return to China and Qlink motorcycles for our least expensive bikes of 2014. At only $2650, the dual-purpose inspired XP200 and supermoto-ish XF200 (shown above) are powered by 199cc air-cooled Singles, claimed to put out 15 horses. Some attentive eyes out there might even notice the XP200 does a commendable job imitating the Suzuki DR200SE, even down to the bore and stroke of the engine. Whatever Suzuki technology Qlink might be reverse engineering is a topic for another time. What we do know is former staffer Pete Brissette was pleasantly surprised during his time on the XF200. At that price, maybe you will be too.