Top 10 fastest naked motorcycles for £3k

So you like 'em cheap, fast and in their birthday suit?

IF there’s one thing better than speed, it’s cheap speed. Loads of horsepower for not much money is an equation that just never fails to get one's loins all a-tingle.

In this Top Ten, we give you the ten fastest nakeds you can buy for under £3,000 [current trade prices]. You’d be amazed at what you can get for the price of a new 125cc bike (two if they're Chinese).

Why nakeds? Well, sportsbikes are great and we love them, but they sure are demanding beasts. Chest on the tank, hunching into a tiny windscreen and staring up into the top of your eyeballs as you blast along is not for everyone. No, some of us prefer to sit up and catch the fly-specked wind like the weatherbeaten sail of a man-o’-war. Besides, with no fairings to break and more sensible riding positions, nakeds are more practical everyday bikes, and dare I say, more beautiful machines, with their brawny engines proudly on display for all to gawp at.

To keep this list down to a reasonable size, we’ve restricted it to 21st century bikes. Yes, you could pick up some mad ‘80s/’90s nakeds off eBay for a few hundred quid, but that’s a story for another day. 

Right then - if cheap, fast and resplendently nude is your thing, click to see our top ten fast naked motorcycles, in alphabetical order. 

Aprilia Tuono

RSV Tuono

NOWADAYS when manufacturers strip the fairings off their sportbikes to create hot nakeds, they usually civilise the bikes a bit. Not Aprilia.

The wild, in-your-face Tuono, launched in 2003, is essentially a RSV Mille that left the house without its shirt on. And what a hairy chest it has! The Rotax-built 1000cc, 123 bhp, 75 lb-ft V-twin is a massively torquey yet high-revving unit that hurls the Tuono and its white-knuckled rider to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds on the way to 145-plus mph. The only concession to reason is a steering damper to compensate for the reduced weight going through the slightly higher handlebars.

For £3,000, you'd bag a 2004 model in good nick; we’ve spotted some tasty ones with accessories like aftermarket exhausts, crash bungs and Datatag markings.

Read Aprilia Tuono owner reviews or add your own.

Cagiva Raptor 1000

Raptor 1000

BACK when buying a Ducati was a bit of a mechanical gamble, Cagiva would sell you the Raptor, their Monster lookalike (with a beaky headlight fairing it was called the V-Raptor) powered by a reliable Suzuki TL1000S engine. 

While the TL1000S itself had a poor reputation, that was on account of its suspension, not its storming 125 bhp, V-twin engine; once shoehorned into the Cagiva chassis and with remapped fuel injection, a fine bike was born. Huge grunt and a 150 mph top coupled with excellent brakes and handling means the Raptor is capable of springing a real surprise. 

A 2004 model comes in just under our budget of £3,000, while a 2001 costs around £2,500. There aren't that many Raptors around though, so while exclusivity is assured, spares are not always easily available.

Read Cagiva Raptor 1000 owner reviews or add your own.

Honda X-11


THE CBR1100XX Super Blackbird was once, before the Hayabusa came along towards the end of the 1990s, the fastest bike in the world. In 1999 Honda stripped off the Blackbird's sleek outfit and, with some minor mods to the silky-smooth 1137cc engine, created the naked X-11. 

With 135bhp and 83 lb-ft on tap, the X is staggeringly quick off the line and nearly 160 mph fast, with a combined braking system hauling you down to earth, and the Honda's build quality is typically good. 

Though a short-lived model, there are well-kept X-11s kicking around. A medium-mileage (25-40k) 2002 model  is yours for £2,800-3,000; higher mileage or slightly scruffy ones can go for as little as £2,300. 

Read Honda X-11 owner reviews or add your own.

Honda CB900F Hornet

Hornet 900

THE thing about Hornets is that they're so ubiquitous that people take them for granted. And while 600cc Hornets are synonymous with despatch riders, the CB900F is a real underrated surprise package.  

110bhp from the detuned-for-midrange 919cc Fireblade engine may not sound like all that much, but the Hornet 900 is still capable of a 11.2-second quarter-mile drag. Honda lopped off a fair chunk of the Blade's top-end but, face it, 135mph is still plenty.

Well made, well behaved and classically handsome, the bigger Hornet is the fast naked of choice for the rider who likes to be firmly in control of his machine.

Easily available and well supported with parts, the Hornet 900 is a safe buy. Early (2002-03) models with moderate mileage are a bargain £2,300-£2,500; if you want to use up the full £3k budget, low-mileage 2004-05 bikes are yours for the taking. 

Read Honda CB900F Hornet owner reviews or add your own.

Kawasaki Z1000


THE Z750 and Z1000 were a refreshing change of direction for Kawasaki ten years ago, and with their loud, muscular, aggressive looks and strong performance, they deservedly became hugely popular.

The 1000 sports the ZX-9R's 953cc, 125 bhp engine, and true to these superbike roots, it's proper quick all the way up to 150mph, with a rushing top-end that's rather partial to lifting the front wheel. But predictable power delivery lower down means it's a great in-town bike too.

Both Zeds are much loved in the aftermarket, with all manner of accessories, some tasteful and some tacky, sold and fitted. 

A clean 2006 Z1000 would account for most of our £3k budget, though if you went for a 2004-2005 or higher-mileage model, you could save a few hundred quid (and promptly spunk it on accessories). 

Read Kawasaki Z1000 owner reviews or add your own.

Suzuki SV1000


SUZUKI'S SV650 is one of the friendliest middleweight bikes around, and still sold after all these years. But its bigger brother, the now discontinued SV1000, packed a bit of a punch.

You see, it was where the TL1000S motor found a home after the TL itself, unable to shake off its Widowmaker reputation, breathed its last (giving life to a few Cagivas along the way). Suzuki tamed the racuous TL motor for SV guise, but it still made for a fast naked bike. 

The torquey 118bhp V-twin loves wheelies and sure can get a move on when asked, staying in the pack with the Hornet 900 and Z1000 over a quarter mile, and you'll see over 150 mph if you keep the throttle pinned. But it's also great to ride slower, thanks to its smooth power and precise fuelling. 

The SV1000 is plentifully available in the UK in half-faired S guise, and our £3k would get you a clean, low-mileage 2006 model, while 2003-2004 bikes can be had as cheap as £2,300. 

Read Suzuki SV1000 owner reviews or add your own.

Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit

Bandit 1200

OR should that be Bargain 1200? Yes, the big Bandit is dated (the 1200's production began in 1995 and ended in 2006) and rather frumpy - but if the keywords are 'cheap' and 'fast' it's still a really, really good deal. 

The 1157cc motor, with its proven '80s GSX-R lineage, is bulletproof. Suzuki focused on beefing up the bottom end, so while its 100 bhp output seems skimpy, factor in 67 lb-ft of torque, and the Bandit holds its own amongst some of the litre-capacity nakeds in this Top Ten, in terms of quarter-mile acceleration and top speed. 

There are loads of Bandits 1200s on sale, and you can get slightly tatty or higher-mileage 2000-01 model bikes for less than £2,000 - we found a couple at a frankly ridiculous £1,500 - while for the full £3,000 you'll have your pick of mint, low-mileage 2003-04 (and, if lucky, even up to 2006) bikes.

Read Suzuki Bandit 1200 owner reviews or add your own.

Suzuki GSX 1400

GSX 1400

AS our friends across the pond say, there ain't no substitue for cubic inches. And with more cubes than the living room of one Mr Rubik (we assume), Suzuki's GSX1400 is the quintessial brawny naked. 

With 106 bhp from the vast air-cooled lump available to haul 250+ kg (wet), it won't try to peel off your eyelids and send them thwacking wetly on the windscreen of the car half a mile behind you. But it certainly has stomp, loads of it. With a train-like 90 lb-ft available from as low as 3,000 rpm, it can push you very quickly towards 150 mph if you fancy. Comfort and handsome looks are a bonus, but it's not a sporty bike and you shouldn't ask it to handle like one.

There are quite a few older GSX1400s (2001-03) on the market for as little as £2,500, though they tend to have relatively high miles on them. Newer (2006) or low-mileage older models are closer to the £3,000 cap.

Read Suzuki GSX1400 owner reviews or add your own.

Triumph Speed Triple 955

Speed Triple 955

THE original hooligan bike and the model that best announced the return of Triumph to the world stage. The 1997-2004 Speed Triple 955 is big and brash, and with those twin round headlights, puts up two fingers to your opinion of beauty as it blasts away in a cloud of smoke and pulverised rubber, rattling your eardrums with its triple-flavoured exhaust note for added effect.  

Essentially a naked T595 Daytona, the Speed Triple delivers an impressive 11.5-sec quarter mile and a 150 mph top thanks to its 120 horses. But it's more than the numbers: with an engine layout unique to this Top Ten, it marries low-end torque and high-end revs in inimitable fashion, and its heritage and unapologetic styling make it a true icon. 

Speed Triples are sought-after bikes and don't stay on the market for long, but you would be able to land a 2001-2002 model in fairly good condition within this budget, often with a few accessories included. 

Read Triumph Speed Triple 955 owner reviews or add your own.

Yamaha XJR1300

XJR 1300

THE GSX1400's main rival in the retro bike stakes, this big Yamaha is another bang-for-the-buck naked. It's a bit slower than most of the other bikes in this grouping, but it'll still embarrass sportscars at the lights, so there.

The 1251cc inline-four (like the GSX, dating back to the '80s in lineage) is a wellspring of torque, 80 lb-ft to be precise (accompanied by peak power of 105 bhp), pulling effortlessly from jogging pace and hitting 140 mph if you so demand. Besides the point-and squirt-giggles, the XJR's charm lies primarily in its perfect bygone-era looks. 

XJR1300s from 2000-01 are just £2,400-£2,500, and the full £3k will get you a well-kept 2004 model. 

Read Yamaha XJR1300 owner reviews or add your own.