Top 10 superbike bargains

Second-hand or new, now is the time to grab a bargain

Top 10 superbike bargains

WE’VE seen the whole superbike class get an overdue makeover in the last couple of years, including a new R1 and ZX-10R and finally a new Fireblade and GSX-R1000.

Since values of older models tend to weaken as they are superseded, now’s a good time to get optimum bike for your money by going second-hand.

In some cases you don’t even need to buy used, as the superseded model can still be purchased new, with dealers keen to get them out the door.

Here, then, is our reverse-order top 10 superbike bargains.

10. 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000

It might not have been top of the class at its launch, or indeed anywhere near, but that’s exactly why it’s a bargain. In a dawning age of multi-mode traction control, confusing instrument panels and a growing bar-switch-to-thumb ratio, the GSX-R1000 was still a Neanderthal of a superbike. 

The 2012 incarnation came with a few updates including new forks and brakes, but stuck to the old recipe of an obscenely powerful in-line-four with only your wrist to save you.

Of course the lower-than-average tech had to be reflected in the price, and still is. These days there are plenty of very nice 2012 GSX-Rs advertised at around £7K. Or you could ride out of dealership on a pre-registered 2016 model – essentially the same machine but new – for under £10K.

Engine:  999cc in-line-four

Power: 185hp

Torque: 86lbft

Kerb weight: 201kg

9. 2012 Honda Fireblade

It wasn’t exactly ground-breaking at the time – more of a perfunctory round updates to limit damage in the face of a still-faltering economy and devastating BMW S1000RR.

But the 2012 Blade is still a missile by any standard: 180hp and super-sharp handling, with new Showa big-piston forks. The 2016 model, which is essentially the same, is still listed on Honda’s website at £12,799 – £2,500 cheaper than the new one – while dealers are advertising them at just over £12K.

Or you could pick up good second-hand one for more like £7K.

Engine:  998cc, in-line-four

Power: 180hp

Torque: 84lbft

Kerb weight: 211kg

Read our recent road test of the ’12 Blade and our review of the 2017 Fireblade and Fireblade SP.
8. 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1

Yes, we’re going to get the ’12 R1 in here too. It’s basically the last year multiple manufacturers updated their superbikes, so represents the best machines available without paying top dollar for the very latest.

Unlike Honda, Yamaha answered the threat of BMW’s S1000RR with traction control, making the ’12 R1 one of the few machines on this list with advanced rider aids. That was just about the only update but it enhanced an already sharp package.

You can’t get them new anymore, since the 2015 R1 has been around since, well, 2015, but a good second-hand one can be had for £7.5K, less than half the price of a band-new 2017 model.

Engine: 998cc in-line-four

Power: 182hp

Torque: 85lbft

Kerb weight: 206kg

Read our review of the 2012 Yamaha R1.
7. 2010 BMW S1000RR

The S1000RR is one of those machines that changed our expectation of what a superbike should be, with class-leading power (193hp) and a full set of rider aids including traction control and power modes while the rest had none.

Unlike with, say, the Fireblade, you don’t have to go through a 25-year time-warp to find an excellent original one of these gamechangers. A 2010 S1000RR can be picked up for not much over £8k.

It will still cut it with the best on track, or retract its claws and take you to work. A strength of the S1000RR has always been that it’s as easy to ride slowly as fast.

Engine: 999cc in-line-four

Power: 193hp

Torque: 82.6lbft

Kerb weight: 204kg

Read our review of the 2010 BMW S1000RR.
6. 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R

Kawasaki were the quickest of the Japanese manufacturers to really take the fight to the S1000RR. The 2011 incarnation of the ZX-10R – the last before the current one – had traction control and power modes, and also made a claimed 200hp.

A new frame made it a compact, ultra-sharp track weapon, and there are plenty of good examples on eBay right now for around £7.5K.

Engine: 998cc in-line-four

Power: 200hp

Torque: 84.3lbft

Kerb weight: 198kg

Read our review of the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R.
5. 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale

The first Panigale represented a giant leap forward compared to its predecessor, the 1198, with cutting-edge technology including traction control, a quick-shifter and engine braking control.

The new engine is smoother in the bottom-end and so-quick revving it could fool you into thinking it’s a V4, while the handling is closer to supersport 600.

Italian exotica holds its value but that’s half the reason to buy in. A decent 2012 1119 Panigale will cost you around £12K, maybe £11K if you’re lucky.   

Engine: 1199cc V-twin

Power: 195hp

Torque: 97.4lbft

Wet weight: 188kg

Read our review of the Ducati 1199 Panigale.
4. 2009 Aprilia RSV4-R

Who knew Aprilia could pull-off a four-stroke masterpiece and build a world-beating V-four superbike, the RSV4 Factory.

The RSV4-R might have lost some of the bling of the homologation special but it was still unmistakably a V4 racer for the road, and £2,500 cheaper.

New, that made it not so much more expensive than a Japanese litre sports bike, at £12,449. Now, you can have some V4 racer in your life for around £8K.

Engine: 999cc V-four

Power: 177hp

Torque: 85lbft

Kerb weight: 184kg

Read our review of the 2009 Aprilia RSV4-R.
3. 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000 (K5)

This is the GSX-R1000 that everyone bangs on about and with good reason. A redesigned engine delivered one more cubic inch and loads more mid-range.

Coupled with a more compact, lighter chassis, it put Suzuki back at the top of the class, and took that year’s World Superbike championship, a first for an in-line-four litre bike.

Now you can easily bag a very nice K5 for £5K (easy to remember). We’re not sure there are many ways to get more performance for your money.

Engine: 998cc in-line-four

Power: 178hp

Torque: 89lbft

Dry weight: 166kg

Read our review of the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000
2. 2008 Honda Fireblade

The new looks divided opinion but the performance didn’t, thanks to a lighter, smaller chassis and super linear power from 2,000rpm to the new, higher red line of 13,000rpm.

It didn’t quite have the wild rush of power of the ZX-10R, nor the technology of some of its rivals, but the ’08 Blade made it easier for mortals to ride fast.

Now there are plenty advertised at about £5K, an absolute bargain.

Engine: 998cc in-line-four

Power: 175hp

Torque: 86lbft

Wet weight: 205kg

Read our review of the 2008 Honda Fireblade.
1. 2009 Yamaha R1

The 2009 R1 was probably the most significant evolution of the model since its birth in 1998, thanks to its MotoGP derived cross-plane crank engine.

The cross-plane crankshaft creates an uneven firing order, which results in a smoother torque delivery so you can get on the power earlier with less chance of traction loss. It sounds great too.

It was to be a short-lived reign, since BMW’s technology-packed S1000RR was just around the corner, but the R1 was back at the top of the litre sports bike pile.

Now you can pick up a 2009 cross-plane crank R1 for not much over £6K.

Engine: 998cc in-line-four

Power: 182hp

Torque: 85lbft

Wet weight: 206kg

Read our review of the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1.