Top 10 recent 600s for £3k

It could be all the bike you ever need

WHETHER you’ve only just graduated to a full ‘A’ licence or you’ve been riding for years but want something reasonably priced, reasonably reliable and reasonably effective for day-to-day riding there’s a good chance that one of the machines on this list will fit the bill for you.

Armed with an imaginary £3000 budget and on the lookout for bikes around the 600cc mark that, at under five years old, should still have plenty of life left in them before needing major surgery, we’ve picked out the top 10.

10: WK 650i

We're sure there will be people shouting “but you could have had a slightly older Suzuki SV650!” in the comments below, but the simple fact is that with new prices at around the £4k mark (before the near-inevitable discounts) it doesn’t take much use for a WK 650i to fall below £3k. We found one with only 300 miles on the clock for just over £2500, and regardless of your thoughts on this Chinese-made Kawasaki ER-6n, ahem, tribute might be the polite term, that’s not a lot of money for any nearly-new bike of this size. Sure, it’s not as good as an ER-6 or SV650, but bear in mind that the WK (also known as a CFMoto) has formed the basis of a decent Lightweight TT racer over the last couple of years, an achievement that’s not to be sniffed at.

9: Hyosung GT650R/GT 650 Comet

What the WK650i is to the Kawasaki ER-6, the Hyosung GT650 is to the Suzuki SV650. Korean rather than Chinese, a new Hyosung is a little more expensive than a WK, but on the used market a five-year-old one will probably be well under £2000, putting it way under our limit. Despite the rumours, the Hyosung’s 650cc V-twin isn’t simply an SV650 clone, although it no doubt took its inspiration from the Japanese bike. Don’t expect it to hold on to what’s left of its value, but if you just want a bike to ride until it’s scrap the GT650 could be an option.

8: Suzuki V-Strom 650

While there are plenty of V-Stroms in the sub-£3k bracket you might have to look for a while to get one that’s under our five-year-old age limit. They’re out there, though. As a tourer in the adventure bike mould, the smaller Strom has long been a popular choice and they make great all-rounders, provided you’re not looking for a track day tool.

7: Suzuki GSF650

Well, you didn’t think you’d get through a list of budget bikes without seeing a Bandit, did you? There isn’t much to say here that hasn’t been told a thousand times before, but for the theoretical £3k-and-five-year-old limit you might be in for a bit of a search, so don’t expect to be terribly picky. Yes, they’re bikes from another era, and feel it, but there’s no arguing with the Bandit’s solid simplicity.

6: Suzuki GSX650F

Since the Bandit’s here, the GSX650F needs to be in the list as well, as it’s largely identical under the skin. But that skin is just enough to elevate it, adding a sportier, more modern look and a modicum of wind protection. It’s got all the Bandit benefits, looks a bit more exciting and, strangely, seems to be a little cheaper on the used market at the moment.

5: Honda CBF600

It might be the magnolia paint of motorcycles but for all the excitement and inspiration that the Honda CBF600 doesn’t inspire, there’s great dollops of confidence-boosting reliability and the knowledge that, well, it’s a Honda. Cliché or not, there’s a reason why it’s a firm that’s so intrinsically linked to the idea of well-made, long-lasting bikes. The budget should bag an 11-plated version

4: Yamaha XJ6

At around the same age as CBF600, our budget would also bag Yamaha’s rival – the rather more modern XJ6, whether in ‘N’ naked, ‘S’ half-faired or ‘F’ full-faired form. While it’s another bike that was never designed nor destined to make hearts beat faster at the mere sight of it, the styling is a little racier than the CBF600, and there will always be demand for machines like this so, if you look after it, the depreciation shouldn’t be too savage.

3: Kawasaki ER-6 (and Versys 650)

We’re being a bit cheeky and bundling the naked ER-6n, faired ER-6f and the adventure-styled Versys into one here, even though the Versys actually has quite a few differences. These things are some of the definitive budget bikes of recent years, and dominate the Lightweight class at the TT (which, to be fair, was pretty much created around them). They might not be as powerful as some of the bikes on this list, but they’ll make up for it around corners and have love-em or hate-em styling that at least isn’t forgettable.

2: Suzuki SV650

Sorry. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Yes, the SV is an even more definitive budget bike than the ER-6 and while it’s an older design there’s something about its V-twin engine and sporty handling that elevates it to near-cult status. You’ll have loads to choose from at £3000, although they’ll be nearing the older end of our five-year limit.

1: Yamaha FZ6

In a few months’ time, the youngest of Yamaha’s old FZ6s will be too old to meet our five-year maximum age, and its FZ8 replacement, introduced in 2010, still tends to be a tad too expensive for our £3k maximum (although cash and haggling might well bag you one). With an aluminium frame and nearly 100bhp they’re a step above the newer XJ6 model in terms of technology and performance, too. Well worth a punt – at least until the MT-07 starts hitting the used market at a price low enough for entry to this list. 

Want more?

Top 10 brand-new adventure bikes under 1000cc

Top 10 brand new bikes under 500cc

Top 10 bikes to buy instead of a Honda RC213V-S

Top 10 brand new retro naked bikes

Top 10 Big Adventure Bikes

  • Sign up for Visordown's weekly newsletter, Bugsplat, to get the best motorcycle news, road tests and features plus exclusive competitions and offers direct to your inbox. Register as a Visordown member here and tick the box for Bugsplat in your newsletter settings here.