These top-spec middleweights are the cream of the crop, but which one is the best used buy?

The middleweight class has been on fire over the last few years with no shortage of bikes packing stacks of performance – and that is great news if you are after a bargain because plenty are entering the market as owners look to upgrade.

Get the look: Best kit for riding naked motorbikes

If you are after bags of easy power, a top-rate chassis and eye-catching components, the top-spec middleweight class is for you. Immense fun and far less intimidating than a super-naked, when it comes to grins for your pound, there is no better investment.

And don’t forget to check out the new breed! The traditional 600 class may be dead and buried, but the middleweight sportsbike is far from gone. Along with the best naked motorbikes of 2023.

Go for the full SP option and you definitely won’t regret it

Yamaha MT-09SP best buy

Spec: 113bhp / 847cc / 820mm seat height / 193kg kerb weight

Yamaha finally gave fans of their naked hooligan triple the bike they craved – the MT-09 SP. Costing £1000 more than stock, the SP has the same engine and chassis but comes with a few performance targeted upgrades to its suspension as well as a unique look. Noticeably better handling than the standard model (especially when it comes to the shock…), the SP is tremendous fun to ride without feeling too serious. Arguably you could spend less on a used stock MT and pay for aftermarket suspension upgrades yourself, but the SP model does deliver added kerb appeal.

Yamaha MT-09 SP used buying advice

  • The exhaust is a one-piece unit, so inspect the welds around the collector box and also the link pipes between the headers.
  • The fuel injection has always been a bit abrupt and the system really benefits from an ECU remap – budget £200 for this.
  • The MT-09 requires its valve clearances checking at 24,000 miles, so bear this in mind if you are buying used because the work will cost you around £500.

Triumph Street Triple R – £4,500 – £7,000

The 2013-2016 bike is a top-spec British middleweight option

Triumph Street Triple R

Spec: 105bhp / 675cc / 820mm seat height / 183kg kerb weight

The R took the new generation of Street Triple to a sportier level through fully-adjustable KYB suspension, four-piston radial Nissin brake calipers and sharper geometry (with a 20mm taller seat) – and all signified by a saucy looking red subframe. Light and super-agile to ride, the R model delivers a noticeable step-up in its sporting abilities.

Triumph Street Triple R used buying advice

● Always start and stop the bike a few times to check that the immobiliser is functioning correctly. Fitted for the first time to Street Triples from 2013-onwards, they are known to fail.
● Initially, this generation came with switchable ABS as an optional extra. Not every owner ticked this box so always check the spec.
● Triumph sold a ‘plug and play’ quick shifter. If the bike has one fitted, be wary of the gearbox and give it a good check on a test ride.

Kawasaki Z750R (2011-12) – £3,000 – £4,999

Forgotten naked ‘R’ model is a lot of motorbike for your cash

Kawasaki Z750R

Spec: 105bhp / 748cc / 825mm seat height / 224kg kerb weight

The Z750R arrived in 2011 and was effectively a stock Z750 with a few performance-enhancing trinkets from the Z1000. As well as a new nose fairing, the R gained uprated forks with preload and rebound adjustment, a new shock, radial calipers and Ninja-style six-spoke wheels. The R is a solid naked middleweight but ultimately is lacking that spark of excitement.

Kawasaki Z750R used buying advice

● Inspect the suspension linkages as they tend to be lacking in grease from the factory and could require a strip and rebuild. If there are signs of rust or the linkages don’t move smoothly, be wary.
● Check for rust and remove the seat as water can become trapped here, causing corrosion to form on the subframe.
● A lack of rear hugger means the shock gets coated in grime, leading to a rusty spring and possibly even corrosion on the shock’s shaft.

Aprilia Shiver 900 (’07-10) – £4,500 – £6,000

Something different with a touch of Italian class

Aprilia Shiver 900

Spec: 93bhp / 896cc / 810mm seat height / 230kg kerb weight

Replacing the Shiver 750, the 900 version of Aprilia’s overlooked middleweight is the better option as it features enhanced technology (ABS, TC, a TFT dash) as well as a V-twin engine with more mid-range poke. Despite being a fine handling naked with plenty of eye-catching components, the Shiver never really took off in the UK and that means used prices are pleasingly low.

Aprilia Shiver 900 used buying advice

● If you are on a restricted licence, the Shiver can be made A2-legal through an ECU re-map restriction kit. It is easily reversible and costs less than £50 to get fitted by a dealer. Make sure your bike has the power to match your licence.
● Check the service history as the Shiver needs its valve-clearances checking at quite low 12,000-mile intervals. They often require altering so it shouldn’t be skipped since incorrect clearances can lead to major engine damage.

Suzuki SV650X (2018-on) – £3,999 – £7,499

A bit of retro style and that easy-going V-twin’s a real peach

Suzuki SV650X

Spec: 75bhp / 645cc / 785mm seat height / 198kg kerb weight

As well as a set of sportier clip-ons instead of the SV’s flat bars, the X gains a nose fairing, a tuck and roll seat, pillion seat cover and dark styling. Sportier handling than the SV thanks to its clip-ons, the X is great fun to ride but after a while your wrists will start to protest. The X has all the SV’s charm and easy-going nature but in a bike with a modest amount of retro flair.

Suzuki SV650X used buying advice

● Always perform an HPI history check on a used SV650X, especially when buying privately, as many were bought on finance and you need to ensure there is no outstanding debt on it.
● Check the exhaust system’s welds as they are known to fracture, allowing gas to escape.
● It is worth fitting a fender extender to the front mudguard to prevent water getting flung onto
the front cylinder. If not, a misfire is a common SV issue.