Top 10 brand new bikes under 500cc

There's no replacement for displacement... except with Visordown's favourite sub-500cc bikes

WHETHER it’s a backlash against the insane performance of the biggest bikes on the market, changes to the licence rules or a reflection of increasing awareness of fuel economy and spiralling insurance costs, the number of models on offer in the sub-500cc section of the market has ballooned in recent years.

Not long ago the natural progression would be from a 125cc single and L plates straight to something like a Bandit or Fazer 600, leaving little room for bikes in between apart from specialist off-roaders. A decade or so ago, anyone wanting a road bike in the yawning chasm between 125cc and 600cc would generally be limited to uninspiring relics like the Honda CB250 or CB500, the Kawasaki ER-5 or Suzuki GS500. However, the booming market for 400cc Japanese grey imports at around the same time suggested that the desire for smaller models was always there, it just wasn’t being catered for.

Now, the picture is quite different, with most manufacturers offering a selection of bikes in the 250cc-500cc zone, partly in response to the 47hp A2 licence regulations but also because there are plenty of people out there with full licences who simply want something smaller than the traditional 600cc starting point.

While the sheer range of machines on offer, in a mass of different classes, means that the idea sub-500cc bike for you might be quite different from our selection, here’s a snapshot of the best 10. We’ve left big scooters out on purpose – they’re due a top 10 all of their own.

Join the conversation!

Let us know what you think, just sign up for a free account, leave a comment and get involved!
Register Now