Top ten motorcycles to buy for under £10,000

Be it a sporty naked, rugged adventure bike, or classic retro machine, the market place in 2023 has you covered, with a plethora of new motorcycles to choose from

The Tuono 660 Factory wheelies over the mountain at Cadwell Park

IT’S fair to say that the last couple of years has been pretty weird for the global population. From the covid pandemic to war in eastern Europe – and let’s not mention chip shortages – whatever could be thrown at us bikers, was!

Amazingly though, the motorcycle industry stood firm and chipped away in the face of adversity and the result is a lot of new motorcycles appeared in the last 12 months. In this top ten, we’ll be taking a look at the best bikes you can go out and buy today, in the UK for less than £10,000. We’ve tried to include a little bit of everything, from sports bikes, performance nakeds, modern retros and even some mud-loving adventure machines. If you want to grab a new motorcycle for less than £10,000 in 2023, this top ten is for you!

10. Triumph Tiger Sport 660 - £8,945

Launched mid-covid, the Tiger Sport 660 became a sibling to the massively entertaining Triumph Trident 660. It uses the Trident’s engine, tunes it specifically for the long-legger tourer and pumps out a healthy 80hp and 47lb-ft of torque. The frame too borrows heavily from the Trident, although with a sturdier sub-frame bolted on the rear end.

All in all, the bike feels greater than the sum of its parts; it’s sporty without feeling knife-edge, exciting yet still accessible and quite possibly one of the sweetest handling mid-weight adventure tourers when ridden solely on the road.

You can check out the full review of the Triumph Tiger Sport 660 here.

9. KTM 390 Adventure - £6,299

I didn’t have massively high expectations before riding the KTM 390 Adventure, thinking that it would be more of a 390 Duke with some long suspension and probably not that good off-road. In reality, I could not have been further from the truth. The 43hp engine is rev-happy on the road and grunty enough to get you up, over, and through pretty much anything.

And when you do hit the trails, the 390 Adventure keeps on delivering, with some of the best suspension in the lightweight ADV sector (fully adjustable WP APEX front and rear) and a chassis that is more than up attacking some tricky trails.

Add to that cost-effective luggage options that can create a cheap and economical lightweight tourer, and the 390 Adventure is a bike that cannot be ignored. For 2023 the bike has gained a raft of updates, including sexy spoked wheels to make it look even better than ever.

8. BSA Gold Star 650 - £6,800

Probably the most important motorcycle in the history of the brand, the BSA Gold Star 650 was also one of the most eagerly awaited new models of the 2022 launch season. It signalled the first bike of the Classic Legends era of BSA, and it was something the team there simply had to get right.

And get it right they did, as the design team and engineers perfectly match retro style with modern performance and classic bike character. It’s not going to set your hair on fire when you hit a twisty B-road but is more than capable of shaking its tail and raising the hairs on your neck with that delicious exhaust note.

You can check out the full review of the BSA Gold Star 650 here.

7. Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 - £7,299

Another modern retro now, from the Anglo-Indian giant Royal Enfield. The Super Meteor 650 took the parallel twin from the Continental GT and Interceptor 650, blending it with a relaxed cruiser-style chassis and retro styling.

For the press launch of this bike, Visordown sent Alex to sample the machine in its native India, and it’s fair to say he was impressed. Summing the bike up from the launch, he said, “In a world where motorcycles are becoming increasingly electronic, the Super Meteor 650 keeps it rudimentary and raw, and in the best way. It offers a balanced, stable riding experience, and with no rider modes or electronics ‘getting in the way’ you get a direct feel of what is going on beneath you. But there’s still the Tripper nav unit if you get lost on the way, so not totally archaic on every front.”

You can check out the full review of the Royal Enfield Super Meteor 650 here.

6. Aprilia RS660 - £9,550

The Aprilia RS660 was launched in 2020, and it really did signal the first in a new breed of supersport machines. Once it was ridden, it really did feel like traditional in-line four-cylinder sports bikes had a very big hill to climb.

It was cheaper than the four-pot competition, just as well equipped (and in some cases more so) and with twin-cylinder power, it's more usable on the road thanks to a broader spread of low and mid-range torque. In 2023, the RS660 is better value than ever, with Aprilia UK slashing nearly £1,000 off the price and making it a shoo-in for this top ten.

You can check out the full review of the Aprilia RS660 here.

5. Honda CB750 Hornet - £6,999

Another bike now that had it been launched ten years ago, it would be powered by an inline four-cylinder and not a parallel-twin. In truth, the new 750cc twin-pot engine in the new Hornet (and also found in the incoming XL750 Transalp) is all the better for being smaller, more compact and less complicated.

Out on the roads around Almeria, the handling of the CB750 Hornet didn’t disappoint either, feeling much more focused and capable than before. Its styling would have you believe it's basically a CB500F with a larger engine slotted in, although, with an all-new frame and suspension set-up, the handling vastly improved over its smaller sibling. It’s quick turning, stable at speed, and with brakes that feel much classier than their budget appearance would have you believe. Whether you’re looking for a B-road blaster or a quick and convenient commuter, the new Honda CB750 Hornet is more than up for the role.

You can check out the full review of the Honda CB750 Hornet here.

4. Kawasaki Z650 RS - £7,949

Taking all the class and style of the Kawasaki Z900 RS, and mixing it with the rideability and accessibility of the Kawasaki Z650, the middle-weight retro landed in 2021 and drew praise from all sides.

Another press test that took place in the weird hinterland as covid looked to be coming to an end, we sent Alex off to France for this ride. He was impressed with the engine, and its grunty 67bhp delivery, and the bike's suspension that kept everything composed and comfortable on the bumpy roads.

With this bike though, it might not be the riding experience that you really want though. This is one of those bikes that if I owned one, I’d not be able to stop myself from glancing back at it every time I finished a ride.

You can check out the full review of the Kawasaki Z650 RS here.

3. Yamaha MT-09 - £9,800

Always offering value for money, the MT range of naked bikes gained the latest generation MT-09 in 2021 and it meant the biggest update to the much-loved machine since its introduction in 2014. It’s a bike built for fun, although the 2021 model took things up a notch, with more technology, all-new styling, and a new long-stroke engine for improved delivery.

We liked the MT-09 so much, in fact, we choose that as our bike of choice for 2022, running it all year and even bolting on some aftermarket kit to really make it our own. The new engine is a revelation, keeping the fun factor, but somehow making the new model feel more grown-up and easier to live with than ever before. Granted, the new styling isn’t to everyone’s tastes, although a year on from the launch, I can barely remember what the old model actually looked like!

You can check out the full review of the Yamaha MT-09 here.

2. Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory - £9,250

What do you get if you take an Aprilia RS660, ditch the lower fairings and slap on some standard handlebars? You get the amazingly capable and awesome fun Tuono 660 Factory. Upgrades over the standard Tuono 660 come in the form of more tech (IMU and more rider modes), a quickshifter as standard, upgraded fully adjustable forks and a Sachs rear shock.

For this road test, we kept hold of the bike for a couple of weeks of road riding, before heading to one of the most challenging tracks in the UK for a day at the Aprilia owner's trackday. Once I’d got my head around the track (having not been there in quite some time) the Tuono 660 Factory really came alive, with my only real gripe being the inability to manipulate the wheelie control of the bike.

You can check out the full review of the Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory here.

1. Triumph Street Triple R £9,595

Hot off the launch of the new 2023 Triumph Street Triple R and RS, I can confirm it is still the benchmark in the middleweight naked category. It outpaces the competition on the road and track. And at a shade under £10,000, it’s cheaper and more viable than much of the competition too.

Major updates have been brought in for 2023, with the inclusion of IMU control for the model, more power, updated rider modes, and a quick shifter as standard. And the best bit is, you’re getting all that tech for just a few hundred quid more than the outgoing model. What’s not to love about that?!

You can check out the full review of the 2023 Triumph Street Triple 765 R and RS here.

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