It’s been almost three years to the day since we posted the 10 cheapest bikes of 2014, and, my, has the landscape changed since then. So much so that we thought it necessary to update the list for 2017. Generally speaking, cheap bikes have gone small. Partially due to the uptick in 125cc playbikes sparked by the Honda Grom, but also due to the proliferation of Chinese motorcycles all powered by little engines. Those two clues should give you an idea of the kind of bikes you’ll see in the coming pages.

For this list, just as we did three years ago, we decided to keep things relatively simple and stick with street-legal motorcycles. Also included is the country of origin. Other things of note: Only Kawasaki is represented among the major Japanese manufacturers, as the mighty Honda Grom at $3,299 would have qualified at the number 11 slot. And unlike three years ago, where a loose limit of $4000 covered all the bikes, now just $3200 is needed to purchase any bike on this list – with change to spare! So which bikes are they? Listed from most expensive to least, here’s our list of the cheapest street-legal motorcycles. . .

  • allworld

    Well other than price the common thread here is China.
    Who will sell, service and stock parts for these up and coming bikes?

    • Jon Jones

      An important point to keep in mind, indeed.

      • c w

        Just about any small engine shop with a phone line or internet connection.


    Was that a KTM? Did I see a mini monster?

    • TroySiahaan

      It was KTM orange, at least! And yes, the SSR sure looks like a mini Monster. Probably not a coincidence.

  • BDan75

    I thought Kymco was Taiwanese?

    • TroySiahaan

      Yes, but the stamp on the K-Pipe says, clear as day, “Made In China.”

  • Old MOron

    Oh man, with half a dozen MOrons and a midnight parking lot, you’re got a race series!

  • TC

    You won’t be able to find a competent repair shop, dealer, or spare parts for these bikes. A low budget buyer is far better off buying a good used bike, which are plentiful. That doesn’t mean Chinese bikes will never make it to legitimacy, but it will take a big change in the status quo.

    • Jon Jones


  • black hole

    How about the CSC/Zongshen RX3 and TT250? 50 state legal, $3895 and $2195 respectively, and CSC keeps every single part for both bikes in stock in the USA.

    • TroySiahaan

      The RX3 costs more than the Grom, which currently sits at the number 10 spot as most expensive. But you’re right about the TT250. Good catch.

  • Justin Case

    There is a large cult following of Chinese bikes offering PLENTY of advice for where to find parts, repairs, etc. on Thousands of us keeping Chinese bikes rideable, and more importantly, racking up thousands of miles. Funny thing is, no one is reporting any catastrophic failures with their bike. However, if one feels insecure enough that they HAVE to have a shop, then SSR would be the answer because they have a dealership network. However, I have seen the XF250 offered via mail-order, but its engine is a Suzuki clone (an actual clone, not a similar Hondoid which is Honda-like) so one could probably convince a Suzuki shop to perform repairs.

  • Leonard New

    i recently got a 2005 200cc roketa practically free. i thought parts may be a problem but then again it’s almost free… and it has a low mileage lifan engine. parts were not a problem, i got everything it needed for under $100 and now it runs like new. don’t believe people who say you can’t get parts. as for repair shops… learn to fix it yourself, last time i checked there are no repair shops out on the trails.