New bikes are pricey and even old bikes are creeping up in value – but you can get SO much and so many bikes for the price of a new one, CB-NET investigates: here’s part 3.
Over the last few weeks we have mentioned the cost of modern, brand-new bikes.
Last time out we looked at tourers and – if we don our time-travelling two-piece touring textiles – we would have found that a Honda Pan European would have cost us £8745, 20 years ago and its successor the ST1300 Pan would have been around £12,550 10 years back. By the time it was deleted in 2013, it cost around £14,000…
So, if we had £15,000 in our pockets would we buy a new bike? Nope! Instead we’d go find appreciating assets in the world of used motorcycles. This time we look at Naked bikes but as we’ve said before: why not mix and match for the perfect ‘dream garage’ of sports bike, tourer, naked and the like?
And please – feel free to suggest differences… it’s all personal taste, right?
Aprilia Tuono 2002-on
This is a ‘real’ sportsbike: but one that’s naked and more comfy. Tuonos are magic bikes, providing nine-tenths of the joys of a sportsbike with three-tenths of the ibuprofen intake and Deep Heat applications. Things to watch out for are the same as the Mille donor bike: not a lot, save for leaky oil pressure sensors and fork seals. Oh, and a naff steering lock in town. Do stick to the service intervals, too. Some reckon the Mk.1 machines are the purest to go for and we’d agree – the later ones seem a little too quirky in the looks department. Looking around, both can be found for about our budget – but they are appreciating! Do look out for the special ‘Factory’ versions and beware standard machines pretending to be them…
What a strange journey the ZRX has had. Born in 1997 costing £7398, the bike came in two versions, a fully-naked and one with a bikini fairing (R-model) to look a little like the old Eddie Lawson Replica of the early 1980s. It even came in green! It was always a bit of a budget machine – using the ZZ-R1100 liquid-cooled motor, but with twin Kayaba shocks, tubular swinging arm: it looked the nuts! Even with a capacity hike to 1200cc in 2001 (and being joined by a half-faired, sports-touring S-version) it was still cheap (£6720, S-version £6920) but then when it was discontinued in 2006, the lust for them on the second-hand market went up. Five or more years back a rough 1100/1200R could be had for a grand, today you’d need to pay double that. Decent ones start around £3000, rising to £3500-£4000 for minters. The S-model does come in a few hundred quid cheaper (ironic considering their new price was £200 more) but to show how popular these are, we’ve seen Eddie-rep R-models with 10,000-35,000 miles on the clocks go for £4000-£8000 with a zero-miler last-of-the-line being advertised for £15,000!
Feel free to tell chancers who are selling a green one that it’s NOT a limited-edition colour scheme…
Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer
Here’s the antithesis to the Kawasaki ZRX, because – while the ZRX started cheap and got expensive the Fazer thou’ was the other way around. At the end of 2000/ start of 2001 when it was launched it was billed as ‘an alternative sportsbike’ and cost £8039. It could be argued this was right, as it had the motor and brakes from the barking YZF-R1 but it’s a shame it didn’t have the firmer suspension of the race-rep either as the Fazer was bouncier at both ends than an over-excited Labrador at feeding time. When potential owners flocked away, Yamaha quietly reduced the price to just £7234 in 2002 and then £6639 in 2004… Today, as a second-hand buy, it is brilliant value for money, meaning you can sort the forks and shock and have a superb one or two-up naked bike suitable for any occasion.
As little as £1400 will get you a useable Fazer, but we’d spend more to ensure a good one without the issues of a neglected one (header pipes rot, engine/frame paint flakes etc.)
Let’s dip into the realms of the ‘modern classic’ and plump for Suzuki’s TL1000S. This much-maligned bad-boy would seem – on riding it today – more like a pussycat, but back in 1997 it felt anything but.
A solid 130bhp pumping out through a V-twin 1000cc motor with a flighty front-end was a recipe for interesting handling – especially with a rotary rear damper, with the damper being a rotary-vaned system in oil and with a separate rear spring. A series of crashes including a fatality led to recalls for the fitment of steering dampers, while aftermarket suspension firms sold lots of replacement shocks. The S-model today has more about it than the later fully-faired TL-R and riding one you’d wonder what the fuss was all about. Maybe the shock went off as it was warmed by the rear cylinder, maybe tyre tech couldn’t handle the V-twin hit of power, or perhaps born-again bikers weren’t ready for the instant oomph after years on inline fours?
Either way, it’s a classic which has still to reach its potential in pound notes. £3K gets a good one…
Yamaha FZS600 Fazer or Suzuki SV650
Yup… we can’t make up our minds about how to spend our last £1500 (or so) so we’ve hedged our bets. This bike in our old for new garage will be a little runabout for day-to-day use, and you can’t get better than either of these machines: it depends whether you like twins or fours, really…
First up the Fazer: it came about in 1997 and used the best bits of other Yams in the range. The motor was courtesy of the Thundercat, re-tuned for more mid-range and the brakes were from the R1. The looks were all its own and – while it didn’t have the handsome simplicity of the Honda Hornet 600 – it did have a more useful half-fairing, a bigger fuel tank with more gauges (fuel, two trips) and more space for luggage or a pillion.
Issues are few and far between, but mostly concern the fact it was budget at the time. So, like the 1000 downpipes rust easy and as a result the studs can snap when removing them, headlights (only one is on) were poor but can be improved by a mod to make both come on along with more modern bulbs. The blue-spot brakes can lose performance if not looked after and carb rubbers crack over time.
With the SV650/S it’s a case of the same goes… It was another budget bike with a brilliant motor, available in naked N or S/half-faired format. For the N the gearing and ergos more suited a sit-up-and-beg style of riding. Once more the motor is bulletproof, while the chassis components are budget and can suffer as a result or by now be way past their best (the bike first came out in 1999, after all…)
On both counts here, we’d plump for as late a Fazer 600 as we could – even the 2002-2003 facelift versions can be found for £1500 as can the upgraded/angular styled K3 SV650s. Just ensure you’re not buying an ex-race SV as they are popular in MiniTwins racing…