Top five winter hacks

Put your bike away and continue to ride through winter by buying one of these affordable hacks.

Top five winter hacks

1. Yamaha Diversion 900

Weather protection, a shaft drive, plenty of effortless power and torque and an engine that will probably outlast the pyramids – the Diversion 900 is a bike that bats away winter like a fly.

Twelve years after it went out of production, the XJ900 retains a devoted fan base in the active Diversion owners’ club, and with good reason. As workhorse, a tool, a bikers’ bike, it’s tough to beat.

Very nice-looking examples are available on eBay for around £1,500, often already accessorised with top boxes and heated grips, and with mileages that barely scratch the surface of what these machines are capable of.

The XJ600 Diversion is worth a look too but the 900 is the daddy.

Engine: 892cc air-cooled in-line four

Power: 89hp

Torque: 57lbft

Dry weight: 239kg

Seat height: 795mm

2. Honda CG125

You could buy a new Chinese 125 commuter for not much more than a grand. Or you could spend your money on a very nice example of a machine that you know will shrug off many winters to come.

As utilitarian transport, the humble CG125 is one of the greatest machines ever produced. It's simple to maintain and repair and, best of all, fun.

Get a late minter for £1,500 or shop around for slightly older but still nice example for under a grand. Ride it through winter and then sell it for the same amount.

With hipsters doing weird things like café-racerising them, you might even make a profit.

Find it in our top 10 learner 125s.

Engine: 124cc air-cooled four-stroke single

Power: 11hp

Torque: 7lbft

Dry weight: 114kg

Seat height: 781mm

3. Suzuki SV60

Early, curvy SVs are still a very common site on the road 14 years after they were superseded by the pointy one. That’s because they go. And go. And go.

There’s an argument for going naked in winter because it means less nooks and crannies to collect road salt, but sod that for some weather protection. Go for a faired example if you can and you won’t just get through winter, you’ll enjoy it too, with a good punch from that V-twin engine.

About £1,200 should be enough to get a very decent one if you shop around and it’s another machine that isn’t going to lose value.

Read our buyers’ guide.

Find it in our top 10 first big bikes.

Engine: 645cc liquid-cooled V-twin

Power: 70hp

Torque: 45bft

Dry weight: 169kg

Seat height: 805mm

4. Yamaha Fazer 600

Introduced just before the SV, in 1998, the Fazer 600 is another great middleweight all-rounder than remains as commonplace as a cold.

The Fazer 600 has always been an affordable, highly capable and deceptively fast machine. It’s comfortable – more upright than the SV – affords good weather protection and takes winters in its stride.

It never got better looking than original iteration, as ridden by the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill. As with the SV, £1,200 can get you a very nice one, but look closely before buying.

Read our buyers’ guide.

Read our used-bike review.

Engine: 599cc liquid-cooled in-line four

Power: 95hp

Torque: 45.8lbft

Dry weight: 189kg (205kg wet)

Seat height: 790mm

5. Suzuki GS500E

The GS500 is an under-appreciated machine, with an undeserved reputation for poor finish quality. And that means you can get a very good 10-year-old one for under a grand.

You’ll be sacrificing weather protection with the naked E version but the absence of a fairing means easier repairs and maintenance and makes hosing off road salt easier.

It’s comfortable and it will see off many winters if cared for.

Engine: 487cc air-cooled parallel-twin

Power: 44hp

Torque: 28.9lbft

Dry weight: 169kg

Seat height: 790mm