Feel the need for cheap speed?

Published: 21 April 2017

Bikes for sale

There are brilliant bargains around if you want to go fast for not much cash.

The arrival of new models always has some effect on sales of the ones they are replacing. Honda have a new Fireblade, Suzuki a new GSX-R1000 and Kawasaki have tweaked their ZX-10R.

None of these bikes are cheap, but it makes you think about 170mph- plus machines... and why not?

If you look at the used market, there is one standout choice, and that’s Kawasaki’s ZZ-R1100.

I write this a few minutes after watching a 1992/J bike, 20,000 miles only, new clutch, new brakes, and seemingly in damn good original condition, fail to sell at £1500. You what Actually, the real shock was realising that the ZZ-R is now a quarter-of-a-century old, but really, there is no finer and cheaper way of going bloody fast. I also saw a 1997 D5 model with just 8000 miles on the clock sell for £2350.

There’s a shedload of decent- looking ones around for a grand or less. OK, so a sportsbike it isn’t, but 175mph isn’t to be sneezed at. You’ll still whoop with glee the first time you open it up (and many times subsequently), and it’s unlikely to be a mechanical disaster because not many people can thrash a ZZ-R1100 to destruction. In terms of mph for your pound, nothing comes close.

The other big bike that’s under-priced right now is the Suzuki Bandit 1200. I think prices of the original, oil-cooled ones are going to head upwards soon, not least because the oil-cooled GSX-Rs that donated the engine to the Bandit line are rising in value.

Sure, they have faults (small tank, specced down to a price, iffy finish), but they’re brilliant value. Just try and buy a stocker that hasn’t been ‘streetfightered’ (the polite term for ‘crashed’) or covered in tasteless coloured alloy fasteners.

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