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Old 01-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
Red Brown
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Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

Howdy,

In these challenging economic times, if you take a pittance of shekels from your bank account, what might be the best used motorcycle with a price cap of $3,000 ? The bike has to also have a history of reliability and readily available parts. If your skills of persuasion are like that of Cicero, you might be able to haggle for a lower price. I have included national Craigslist search links for each model.

Feel to add other models and brands that match this criteria....

RB

1993 Honda VFR750



1997 Suzuki Bandit 1200S



1996 Yamaha YZF600R



1986 Yamaha Virago 1100



1987 Kawasaki EX500



1989 Yamaha FJ1200



2003 Suzuki SV650



2002 Suzuki DR-Z400S



1983 Honda XR650L



1998 Suzuki Kantana 750

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Old 01-10-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

I would look at a XT250 or a KLR650. These are go anywhere bikes and can easily be found under $3K. The KLR for more freeway, the XT if you prefer city and back roads. Both are singles and are pretty cheap for gas and maintenance.
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Old 01-10-2010, 02:16 PM   #3
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

$3k is a nice benchmark. You can find that much in loose change in the sofa cushions. Allowing for a little bit of haggling leeway a cursory search of Austin C/L presents several viable candidates. Now whether they have issues (the superhawk with its 3 paint jobs worries me) is another matter but all are in the expected price range for these bikes.....

$3100 2005 Suzuki SV1k


$2500 1999 Kawasaki Concours


$3300 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R


$3000 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R


$2500 1998 Suzuki Bandit


$3000 1998 Superhawk
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:25 PM   #4
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by AusFletch View Post
$3k is a nice benchmark. You can find that much in loose change in the sofa cushions. Allowing for a little bit of haggling leeway a cursory search of Austin C/L presents several viable candidates. Now whether they have issues (the superhawk with its 3 paint jobs worries me) is another matter but all are in the expected price range for these bikes.....

$3100 2005 Suzuki SV1k

Sweet looking SV...what is the weight, torque etc on the 1000?

RB
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Old 01-10-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

How about less than $2,000. My 95 NH 750 with 29K miles and almost perfect condition. Got it for $1,700 to replace the 99(bought for $2,800) that was destroyed by the classic "I didn't see it" cager who tried to destroy me also. Nighthawks are great bikes, extremely reliable, and definitely can be had for little dinero.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

How about my bike - 2001 Suzuki SV650 $2200

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Old 01-10-2010, 04:48 PM   #7
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by Red Brown View Post
Sweet looking SV...what is the weight, torque etc on the 1000?

RB
HP is claimed about 115, torque about 75. Weight is about 415 ell bees (dry).

http://www.motorbikes.be/en/Suzuki_SV_1000_S_2005.aspx
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:49 PM   #8
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by lucky lindy View Post
How about less than $2,000. My 95 NH 750 with 29K miles and almost perfect condition. Got it for $1,700 to replace the 99(bought for $2,800) that was destroyed by the classic "I didn't see it" cager who tried to destroy me also. Nighthawks are great bikes, extremely reliable, and definitely can be had for little dinero.
Nighthawk would be pretty hard to beat dollar-for-dollar for an all around bike...
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

I paid less than $3k for my BMW a year ago. Plenty good bike for the money. The answer really hinges on what type of riding you want to do.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:05 PM   #10
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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I paid less than $3k for my BMW a year ago. Plenty good bike for the money. The answer really hinges on what type of riding you want to do.
I tried to suggest bikes in the sweet spot ranging from 1200-400cc as a versatile option for doing light-weight generalized highway commuting duty (sustained 70 mph) and still be enjoyable to ride for purely pleasure. I don't think there is any 200 cc bikes fit this bill for $3,000. Some of the dual-sport bikes mentioned may need a sprocket change to be more comfortable at highway speeds, especially the DRZ.

I don't think an XT250 has enough juice to be on most large highways in the US but a KLR650 would fit the bill. I could not find a BMW that could be purchased under $3,000 that was not so depreciated that it would take $$$ to keep it going and also parts for the average ride might be hard to come by.

If I had to make one personal pick, it would be either the VFR750 or the FJ1200. This air-cooled inline-Four is smooth running, thanks to rubber engine mounts, and has a satisfying combination of bottom-end torque and top-end power. This allows it to serve as a everyday runabout, a playful backroader and, with Yam accessory saddlebags, a pretty good sport-tourer. If you look at their Bluebook value of $2,360 it is a great deal. I have seen several around Central Texas and the owners seem to really like them.

Just sayin'....

RB
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:13 PM   #11
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

Having owned two of FJ's I would go with the FJ1200. I owned an 85 FJ1100 for 18 years and 80K miles. I sold it to a buddy of mine that now lives in Florida. It still gets ridden regularly.

I didn't own the FJ1200 as long. I sold it long before it was worn out when I was consolidating bikes after I bought my ST1300.
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:27 PM   #12
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by lucky lindy View Post
How about less than $2,000. My 95 NH 750 with 29K miles and almost perfect condition. Got it for $1,700 to replace the 99(bought for $2,800) that was destroyed by the classic "I didn't see it" cager who tried to destroy me also. Nighthawks are great bikes, extremely reliable, and definitely can be had for little dinero.
I would add my 1982 Nighthawk to the list, but frankly it is a bit too old for most people. But the 750 Nighthawks are cool, too!

And Fletch -- can I come and clean out your couch???
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:06 PM   #13
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

I would look for an SV 650 or 1000 (2003-5), I am sure you can find one for ~$3K.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:06 AM   #14
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by AusFletch View Post
$3k is a nice benchmark. You can find that much in loose change in the sofa cushions.....
I must have the wrong people sitting on my sofa.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:55 AM   #15
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by mbrew View Post
I must have the wrong people sitting on my sofa.

Or your sofa is just MUCH newer than mine...
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:21 AM   #16
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

I'll throw in Honda Shadows..750 for sure and even 1100s are available at the $3k price point. Dead bone reliable, and still in production so parts are very available. Older 750s are chain drive but newer ones are shaft propelled. Unfortunately, none are FI'd but the 1100 have hydraulic lifters for less maintenance and more riding.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:58 PM   #17
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Originally Posted by leekellerking View Post
I would add my 1982 Nighthawk to the list, but frankly it is a bit too old for most people. But the 750 Nighthawks are cool, too!

And Fletch -- can I come and clean out your couch???
Is that the shaft drive Nighthawk?
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:03 PM   #18
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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I'll throw in Honda Shadows..750 for sure and even 1100s are available at the $3k price point. Dead bone reliable, and still in production so parts are very available. Older 750s are chain drive but newer ones are shaft propelled. Unfortunately, none are FI'd but the 1100 have hydraulic lifters for less maintenance and more riding.

I would have to second that. My 06 Spirit 750 has been dead reliable, except for the known issue with the headlight switch. I would buy another one in a hearbeat. It doesn't hurt that everyone says it is a sweet looking bike either. It may not be as fast as a 750 sportbike, but it is still fun to ride, and you will get in a lot less trouble.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:31 PM   #19
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

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Is that the shaft drive Nighthawk?
No, shaft drive came in 1983 (and went in 1991). Bikey has chain drive -- the last of the SOHC Hondas.
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2001 Yamaha VStar 650 -- Vera (Sold to fix wife's jeep) Because she works 60-80 hours a week and I love her
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:55 PM   #20
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Re: Best USED bikes for $3,000 or less

For the under 3k part of this thread, I vote the Bandit 1200 is best bang for the buck out there. And you don't have to buy an ancient bike to afford one.

As far as Ausfletch's thoughts. I think I have been bitten by the street tracker bug also. For me, I have been pondering a SV 650 based street tracker at some point in the future. I know SV's are common, Japanese, and all those other things. But what a solid, proven, reliable bike to build a project out of. (my SV1000 is not being considered as a donor)

I would love to do a lower cost, street legal version of this.

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