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The Best Cheap Motorcycles You Can Buy Today

Chaparral Motorsports
November 16, 2018
Last Updated: May 29, 2020

For most people, a motorcycle isn't a necessity, it's often a secondary means of transportation or just a fun toy purchased with discretionary funds. However, a motorcycle is an extremely affordable mode of transportation with most brand new bikes costing much less than a decent used car. Shopping for a new motorcycle can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you're on an extremely limited budget. We decided to scan our inventory of new motorcycles and showoff some "The Best Cheap Motorcycles" you can get with very little money. Now when we say cheap we mean that in the best sense of the word, meaning that these bikes are of good reliable quality but cost very little.

It's hard to determine what a budget friendly motorcycle is for everyone, some people may feel that $3,000 is too much while others may be comfortable with spending nearly $5k on a bike, so we put a cap on the high side at $4,000 for this article. As you will see the bikes are grouped together based on thousand dollar increments so you can quickly find a budget and the bikes that work for you. A good portion of the bikes on this list feature engines that are right at the 125cc mark. While these bikes are really budget friendly and make great city or college commuter motorcycles, this is an important feature to take note of because some states prohibit motorcycles under 125cc or 150cc from being operated on the highway. So if you are interested in say the Razkull or the Honda Grom and want to ride on the freeway, make sure the bike is legal to do so in your state.

If you're looking to get more use out of your two wheeled friend other that just running errands on surface streets, we will circle back with another article highlighting our Top Five Cheap Motorcycles That are Highway Legal; so be sure to check that article out.

Under $2,000

SSR Motorsports Razkull MSRP: $1,999

Two grand for a mini moto that sports big bike features like a trellis frame and inverted frontend? Absolutely. The Razkull is one of the least expensive bikes on our list but delivers big fun and sporty looks inspired by the finest Italian motorcycle brand. Powered by 125cc four stroke single, you'll get about 8hp out of the Razkull-not much but plenty to get you around town with ease and a smile on your face. If you come from the old school, are handy with tools and mechanically inclined, the fact that the Razkull is carbureted rather than fuel-injected may be a big plus for you. You may also like that the bike features both electric and kick-start. The Razkull come with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty.

Key Specs
Engine Type 125cc, 4 Stroke, Single Cylinder, Air Cooled
Bore x Stroke 52.4mm x 55.5mm
Transmission 4-Speed Manual
Front Wheel/Tire Aluminum Alloy/120/70-12
Rear Wheel / Tire Aluminum Alloy/120/70-12
Seat Height 29.5"
Ground Clearance 6"
Fuel Tank 3.17 gallons
Weight 225 lb
L x W x H 69.7 x 29.8 x 34.8 inches

Kymco K-Pipe MSRP: $1,999

If you are just getting into motorcycling the K-Pipe is the bike for you. Besides being really inexpensive, the bike is really beginner friendly with its semi-automatic clutch that allows you to pull away from a stop at idle in first gear without having to fuss with feathering the clutch. The K-Pipe also has a unique shifting pattern with neutral all the way at the bottom instead of in between first and second like most traditional motorcycles. This shifting pattern won't be an issue for new riders but could take some time to getting used to for veteran riders.

Just like the Razkull, don't expect a ton of power from the 123.7cc single cylinder engine; but again, mild power output could be a blessing for a beginner. Couple that with the K-pipe being one of the lightest motorcycles on this list and you have the makings of an agile and easy to maneuver ride. Like the Razkull, the K-Pipe is carbureted and offers kick and electric start.

Looks -wise the K-Pipe stands out amongst most of the other bikes in this article most notably because of the separation between the bodywork and underslung engine. With the single lung mounted to the underside of the frame, parallel to the ground, it helps expose more of the chassis and rear suspension giving the bike a more industrial look. While the K-Pipe has a 31-inch seat height, you get big bike looks and feel with a pair of 17-inch wheels-something you typically don't find on these smaller displacement motorcycles. The K-Pipe comes with a two year limited factory warranty.

Key Specs
Engine Type 123.7cc SOHC 4 stroke
Bore x Stroke 54mm x 54mm
Transmission 4-Speed Manual/Semi-Automatic
Front Tire 2.75-17
Rear Tire 3.50-17
Width 37"
Height 41.3"
Wheelbase 50.8"
Claimed Dry Weight 224.4 lb
Seat Height 31"
Fuel Capacity 1.2 gallons

Under $3,000

Kymco Spade MSRP: $2,999

For those that appreciate the looks of a café racer you'll dig the stylings of the Kymco Spade. The flat tuck and roll style seat offers a roomy seating position and gives you a place to keep small items safe with it's under storage compartment. The retro look is accentuated by a pair of coil over rear shocks and a passenger grab bar looped over the back of the seat. Powered by a 149.4cc four stroke four valve engine, you can expect a little more than 12hp from the blacked-out mill. The Spade rolls on a pair of 12" wheels which help bring the seat height to an extremely low 28". Just like the K-Pipe. The Spade comes with a two year limited factory warranty.

Key Specs
Engine Type 149.4cc SOHC 4-Stroke, 4-Valve, Single Cylinder w/EFI
Bore x Stroke 62mm x 49.5mm
Transmission 5-Speed Manual
Front Tire 120/80-12
Rear Tire 130/70-12
Width 30.1"
Height 40.5"
Wheelbase 47.2"
Seat Height 28.1"
Weight 248.6 lb
Fuel Capacity 1.6 gallons

Under $4,000

Kawasaki Z125 Pro MSRP: $3,199

The Honda Grom reinvigorated the small displacement motorcycle market and quickly gained a strong following. While it is a great bike, you can get the equally fun and sporty Kawasaki Z125 Pro for $200 less than a Grom, $3,199 versus $3,399 respectively. The might mini Kawasaki is powered by a 125cc 4-stroke, 1 cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve air cooled engine a sports a smooth shifting 4-speed transmission.

With shrunk down sport bike styling the Z looks fast sitting still and zips around tight quarters with ease thanks to its small footprint. Measuring in at an overall length of 66.9" and weighing in at 224 pounds the bike is easy to handle for beginner riders yet provides plenty of stability and predictability at speed for advanced riders to enjoy ripping around on it. Thanks to the popularity of these small displacement bikes the aftermarket has exploded with tons of parts and accessories to customize, setup for short course racing, or even turn them into mini dual sports.

Key Specs:
Engine Type 125cc, 4-stroke, 1 cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve air cooled
Bore x Stroke 56mm x 50.6mm
Transmission 4-speed, return shift
Front Tire 100/90-12
Rear Tire 120/70-12
Wheelbase 46.3"
Seat Height 31.7"
Weight 224.8 lb
Fuel Capacity 2.0 gal

Honda Grom MSRP: $3,399

As stated above, we can really thank Honda and its introduction of the Grom for fueling the recent interest and enthusiasm for these smaller displacement motorcycles. For a couple hundred dollars more than the Kawasaki Z125 you purchase a Grom and know you're getting a motorcycle that is backed by Honda's strong reputation of building dependable, durable, and long lasting vehicles.

Available in an array of bright and lively colors, you get a group of Grom riders together and it's like a bunch of skittles blasting down the road. The sculpted and streamlined bodywork on this motorcycle really makes it look like a shrunken sport bike-minus the fairing. The 124.9cc air cooled single that powers the Grom is the same mill that propels the company's Monkey (see below) and puts out almost double digit horse power (9.7) and 8-ft lbs. of torque. Don't let 1.4 gallon fuel capacity discourage you, according to Honda you'll be able to get plenty of MPGs to stretch out gas stops-we're talking upwards of 130 miles.

The customization options and comradery that comes with owning a Grom is part of what makes it such a fun motorcycle. With these bikes becoming so popular there are now a myriad of aftermarket parts available to trick them out. There's everything from full body kits, stretched swingarms, to pipes, pegs, and other accessories. Speaking of customization, if you're not satisfied with the HP/torque output there are plenty of hop up kits to help boost power. It's the customization process and the fact that these are really fun and cool bikes that draws attention to them just about everywhere they go. There are groups all across the country and on social media dedicated to the Grom.

What makes the Grom such a great mini moto is that it can be turned into just about any style of motorcycle such as an mini ADV, café racer, or pro street. Don't believe us? Check out this article.

Key Specs
Engine Type 124.9cc, air cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Transmission 4-Speed
Front Tire 120/70-12
Rear Tire 130/70-12
Wheelbase 47.2"
Seat Height 30"
Weight 229 lb

Honda Monkey MSRP: $3,999

A throwback to the 1960s when love was in the air and motorcycling was all about having fun without the tough guy attitude, Honda has brought the Monkey back with much fanfare. This iteration sports a 124.9cc air cooled engine-basically the same as the Grom-and four speed trans.

A retro lover's dream, the Monkey won't break any land speed records but it may break a few hearts with its cute as a button looks. Don't let its chunky physique fool you, although it sports a cushy oversized seat and a 120mm front and 130mm rear on 12" wheels, the 1.5 gallon camel hump gas tank helps keep the weight down to around 230 pounds. Speaking of the tires, the Vee Rubber tires feature a mix use design that's not exactly ideal for rugged offroading but their blocky tread pattern will provide decent traction when the desire for some light dirt work strikes. And with Monkey's old school dirt bike vibe, that desire will most likely strike often.

Key Specs
Engine Type 124.9cc Single-cylinder four-stroke, air cooled
Bore x Stroke 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Transmission 4-Speed
Front Tire 120/80-12
Rear Tire 130/80-12
Wheelbase 45.5"
Seat Height 30.6"
Weight 231.5 lb
Fuel Capacity 1.5 gallon

So there you have it, some of what we consider the best "cheap" motorcycles you can buy for less than $4k. Again these may not be necessarily freeway-legal in your neck of the woods, so do your research before you pin the throttle on that on-ramp. If you want a cheap highway-legal motorcycle, we have a list of our favorite cheap motorcycles coming soon, best of all, all the bikes on that list can be had for less than $5k.

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