Everyone wants to go fast.
Not everyone has half a million dollars to spend on a custom-built superbike that can go 350 mph.
Luckily, you can still get pretty high top speeds while staying within your budget.
Before we start, let’s define cheap and fast.
What Is a Cheap and Fast Motorcycle?
“Cheap” will mean something different to every person and is somewhat relative. For example, compare the Ninja ZX-10R I recommend below with the Ducati Superleggera v4.
While they’re both 998cc motorcycles that push 200 mph, the Kawasaki bike will cost under $20,000, while the Ducati? Around $100,000.
In other words, the ZX-10R costs $91 per mph of top speed, but the Superleggera v4 costs $500 per mph.
This price per mph is a great way to see how cheap a motorcycle is for its speed, so I’ve included it in all my comparison charts below.
8 Cheap and Fast Motorcycles To Consider
The Kawasaki Ninja is the poster child for affordable but fast sports bikes. With 11 models currently in production and numerous previous models still on the pre-owned markets, it’s easy to find one for your price range that will still give you speed and power.
In my opinion, the all-out winner is the four-cylinder Ninja ZX-10R. With a 998cc engine, it can reach speeds of 189 mph, over 300 km/h, but has an MSRP of just $17,199, meaning a price per mph of $91.
If you want the really cheap option, look at the Ninja 300, which is just $5,299 with ABS but can reach speeds of up to 120 mph, around 190 km/h, which is definitely enough to get you pulled over. Altogether, that’s a price per mph of a mere $45.
All the Ninja models give you good speed for the money. Here’s a breakdown of models currently in production.
Here are the models.
|Ninja H2||998cc||250 mph (400 km/h)||$30,500||$122|
|Ninja ZX-14R||1441cc||186 mph (300 km/h)||$15,599||$84|
|Ninja ZX-10R||998cc||189 mph (305 km/h)||$17,199||$91|
|Ninja 1000||1043cc||153 mph (246 km/h)||$13,999||$92|
|Ninja ZX-6R||636cc||134 mph (215 km/h)||$10,499||$78|
|Ninja 400||399cc||105 mph (170 km/h)||$5,599||$53|
|Ninja 300||296cc||119 mph (190 km/h)||$5,299||$45|
The motorcycles from Honda’s CBR line probably come closest to giving the Ninja a run for its money when it comes to affordable sport bikes.
My favorite has to be the CBR600RR, which has won the Supersport World Championship numerous times. With an MSRP of $12,999 with ABS, it hits speeds of 165 mph or 265 km/h. This makes its price per mph just $79.
Here are the models.
|CBR1000RR-R||999cc||187 mph (300 km/h)||$16,799||$90|
|CBR650R||649cc||135 mph (217 km/h)||$9,799||$73|
|CBR600RR||599cc||165 mph (265 km/h)||$12,999||$79|
|CBR500R||471cc||112 mph (180 km/h)||$7,199||$64|
Honda RC51 (RVT1000R)
Before the CBR series came to dominate the market, there was the RC51, also known as the RVT1000R in the US, produced specifically by the Honda Racing Corporation, hence RC. Developed in 2000 to compete with Ducati V-twin racing models, it won the World Superbike title ridden by Colin Edwards in its first year.
After that, it became incredibly popular with sport bike enthusiasts, mainly because of its low MSRP of $9,999 and a top speed of 165 mph (265 km/h), a price per mph of $61.
Though the RC51 was discontinued in 2006 and replaced by the CBR1000RR, you can still find used models, sometimes as low as $5,000.
Like the Kawasaki Ninjas and Honda CBRs, the Suzuki GSX-R series is filled with models that get great speed while keeping prices down. Models range from 125cc to 1000cc, which naturally increase in price the larger they get, though the smaller ones aren’t currently available in the US.
I’d especially recommend looking more into the mid-size models like the GSX-R600 if you want something fun and lightweight that still gets surprising speed.
Specifically, it hits 165 mph or 265 km/h with an MSRP of $11,699, a price per mph of $71. As you can see, this makes it similar to Honda’s 600cc model but slightly less expensive.
Here are all four models currently on the US market.
|GSX-R1000R||999cc||190 mph (305 km/h)||$17,749||$93|
|GSX-R1000||999cc||173 mph (278 (km/h)||$15,799||$91|
|GSX-R750||749cc||175 mph (281 km/h)||$12,549||$72|
|GSX-R600||599cc||165 mph (265 km/h)||$11,699||$71|
Yamaha might not get the press that Suzuki and Honda do, but I frankly think that many models in the YZF series are even better than the Ninjas and CBRs, in some cases combining the best of both worlds at an even lower price point. It’s worth comparing these models to their similar Honda and Suzuki counterparts.
When it comes to cheap fast motorcycles, the clear standout is the YZF-R3. With a 320cc engine, it’s a smaller option than most of the mid-size bikes I’ve recommended above, making it great for beginners who still want to go fast.
In addition to a lightweight chassis and superior suspension, it can go up to 112 mph (180 km/h) but has an MSRP of just $5,499 or a price per mph of $49.
Here are the rest of the models in the series.
|YZF-R7||689cc||139 mph (223 km/h)||$8,999||$65|
|YZF-R3||320cc||112 mph (180 km/h)||$5,299||$49|
|YZF-R1||998cc||177 mph (285 km/h)||$17,599||$99|
|YZF-R6||599cc||165 mph (265 km/h)||$12,199||$74|
I am generally impressed with Yamaha’s value. Quality and speed tend to be high for what you pay. The MT series, which stands for “Master of Torque,” is another example.
The MT models are naked bikes, which means they lose a little bit of speed to their YZF cousins. However, they’re still fast and easier to handle for beginners. They’re also usually a little cheaper compared to other Yamaha models and other brands.
Like most other series, I find the mid-size bike to be the best intersection of speed and price. In the MT line, that’s the MT-07 which can go 133 mph or 214 km/h on a 689cc engine. The MSRP is just $7,899, giving it a price per mph of $59.
If you’re looking for a different size, consider the other models in the series.
|MT-03||321cc||105 mph (170 km/h)||$4,799||$46|
|MT-07||689cc||133 mph (214 km/h)||$7,899||$59|
|MT-09||847cc||148 mph (238 km/h)||$9,499||$64|
|MT-10||998cc||155 mph (250 km/h)||$13,999||$90|
As you’ve probably noticed, most of the bikes on this list are Japanese. However, one European brand that has managed to slow costs down while keeping speed high is KTM.
Both bikes in the 390 series, the naked Duke 390 and RC 390 sport bike, have great top speeds but surprisingly affordable prices. Naturally, the RC goes a little bit faster.
Here are the models in the series.
|Duke 390||373cc||104 mph (167 km/h)||$5,799||$56|
|RC 390||373cc||112 mph (180 km/h)||$5,799||$52|
Known for making cheap motorcycles, Triumph is an excellent place to look if you want speed without breaking your budget.
The Daytona line of sport bikes has had many models, though only the Daytona 675 is currently in production. A mid-size bike, its 675cc motor can push it to 165 mph or 265 km/h. It costs a bit more than its Japanese counterparts at around $14,000, or $85 per mph, but it’s still managed to compete with them on the sport bike market due to its compact handling and powerful acceleration.
If the price tag of the 675 is a bit high for you, other used Daytonas are all over the market. They make great bikes for learning to handle speed before moving on to faster models.
Don’t Be Afraid of Pre-Owned
The prices listed above are the manufacturer-suggested retail prices for new models. You can cut these prices considerably if you buy older years used. This is your best bet if you want to get the same speed but spend a lot less money.
If all else fails, you can check out these tips to make your motorcycle faster.