A2 bikes are great fun; they’re lightweight, have manageable power and are a significant upgrade if you’ve been riding a moped or 125cc. However, bikes can easily become expensive, which is why we have compiled this list of affordable A2 motorbikes under £2,000.
Before we start, it’s important to note that affordable motorcycles available to A2 riders fall into two categories:
- The first type consists of A2 friendly bikes that can be ridden right away because they fall within the 35 kW power limit. These will be labelled as “A2 friendly”.
- The other type is made up of bikes that have up to 70 kW of power and require a restrictor kit to be fitted to be A2 legal. These will be labelled as “restrictor required”.
As we’re looking for A2 bikes for under £2,000, our list combines motorbikes that are A2 friendly, as well as those that need to be restricted to 35 kW of power for you to ride them.
Depending on the motorbike, A2 restrictor kits can be quite easy to fit. The clear benefit is that as soon as you get your full category A license, you will be able to remove your restrictor and have a much more powerful motorcycle, without the need to buy a new bike.
At the time of writing this article, we were able to find more than one of these A2 bikes for under £2,000 across platforms such as AutoTrader and eBay, in a reported good and sound mechanical and working condition. You may find even more of these examples on other popular sites with used A2 motorbike listings.
If your budget for an A2 bike is over £2,000, it’s worth reading our list of top 10 A2 motorcycles. Otherwise, read on!
Suzuki GSF600 Bandit
Years: 1996 - 2005
The success of the Suzuki GSF600 “Bandit” showed Suzuki that with a roadster chassis and affordable pricing, it warranted a whole new category of middleweight motorbikes. Suzuki wasn’t wrong in thinking that – the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit has remained a great choice for beginners for years now and has over the years, inspired many other budget roadsters.
In 2006, the older model was revamped and fitted with a new 650cc free-revving, reliable, and beginner-friendly engine obtained by reviving and changing the oil-cooled GSX600F motor. Though the new engine falls short of a super sports engine, there is no denying that it is powerful and trustworthy, with a long life. The steel-tube cradle chassis not only adds to the bike’s looks but also does a decent job of holding together the different elements and components. The GSF600 Bandit handles are comfortable and provide a firm grip while riding. Overall, the bike offers a comfortable riding experience with easy handling.
For its price, the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget A2 bike – it’s made by a reputable company with years of experience. Its assembly includes proven components. Though the bike has performed fairly well in most tests, its performance in bleak winters has sometimes been short of satisfactory. Like any other motorcycle, the Suzuki GSF600 Bandit has a few flaws. However, when it comes to moolah, there is no other affordable A2 bike that promises value for money the way Suzuki GSF600 Bandit does for under £2,000.
Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Years: 2008 - 2011
The Ninja 250 enjoyed immense popularity in the American market for a long time until the Americans began to grow tired of the older model. The manufacturing company, therefore, decided to woo back its loyal clientele with the revamped Ninja 250R, an astute move by the company. Fortunately, the Ninja 250R, complete with emissions-compliant fuel injection, is also available for bikers in the UK and is one of the best beginner’s bikes available for under £2,000.
The Ninja 250R uses an upgraded version of the rock-solid ZZ-R/GPX 250 engine that churns out 33bhp. The engine spins smoothly and quickly to 14,000rpm, supported well by the fuel injection kit. The gear-linkage may seem slightly budget but does its job perfectly well. The bike assembly includes old-world analogue clocks and a front-wheel-driven speedometer. The inclusion of wave-style disc brakes makes the Ninja 250R a perfect motorcycle for the budget A2 category.
Moreover, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R bikes are produced in Taiwan under strict quality control measures and thus, the quality of each of the components is exemplary when compared to others – each part is likely to last you a long time. Further, the most popular black and green combination of the bike gives it a cool look.
Most importantly, although a budget A2 sportbike, the Ninja 250R’s suspension can tackle even the worst of UK roads and therefore, the bike is highly recommended in the affordable A2 bikes category.
Years: 2004 - 2007
A bigger brother of the later-mentioned CBF500, the Honda CBF600 has all the features that beginners and new riders look for in a motorbike and therefore, make it a budget A2 bike that instantly appeals to first-time motorcycle owners.
There are two models; the CBF600N which is the naked version and the CBF600S, which is the one with sport fairing.
This supremely efficient and competent bike features a renovated version of the Honda CB600F Hornet engine. The 599cc, inline-four engine produces around 76bhp. The bike comes equipped with an adjustable upright seat, which makes the whole riding experience more comfortable.
Furthermore, the CBF600 is relatively easy to handle and easy to manoeuvre, which makes it a perfect choice for novices and beginners. The gearbox is smooth and the bike fares well on motorways. Beginners can choose to find a model with ABS for increased safety.
The finish of the Honda CBF600 is also pretty impressive – the paint lasts years if maintained well. The mirrors work well and the adjustable handlebars add to the riding experience. If you want to customize your bike, there are plenty of mods, including heated grips, luggage, and a fly screen.
The Honda CBF600 is a highly reliable motorcycle with a robust built and trustworthy engine. It's pretty reasonably priced too, which makes it an appealing buy for first-time owners.
Years: 2005 - 2008
Motorcycle riding tests have shown time and again that road testers rank the Kawasaki ER-6f as one of the best middleweight bikes available. With its impressive looks and even more impressive assembly, this motorcycle has managed to win many admirers over the years. This bike, with its several safety options, is also a good choice for beginner riders looking for a budget A2 bike.
The Kawasaki ER-6f offers a smooth ride with its 649cc fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine. The engine cracks 64Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm and 72 bhp at 8,500 RPM. The engine also features amazingly responsive throttles that help to display the power and agility of this motorbike.
Other than its powerful engine, the Kawasaki ER-6f is also known among bike lovers for its smooth gearbox and powerful brakes, both of which come together to make this motorcycle a safe option for new and less experienced riders. Both the brake and clutch lever can be adjusted. More importantly, the offset rear suspension and the underhung exhaust give this bike a cool look, often coveted by young motorbike lovers.
The Kawasaki ER-6f is a well-built bike with a long life. It has a solid structure that can tackle difficult roads. More importantly, it offers a fun and enjoyable ride. Riders looking for new and customized additions can go for aftermarket options, with plenty of mods available out there.
All in all, the Kawasaki ER-6f is a popular and good value for money choice.
If you are looking for a practical, reliable, and new rider-friendly bike, your search ends at the Honda CBF500. With its simple and clean looks, the Honda CBF500 stands out in a sea of conventional-looking bikes.
More importantly, the Honda CBF500 is one of those motorcycles that hold their resale value; an important but often overlooked consideration for used bikes.
The Honda CBF500 uses a 499cc, 56bhp engine with a parallel-twin motor that holds the bike together, giving it grip and grit on dual motorways. The engine is powerful and safe for those new to the world of bikes, but it’s a great budget A2 bike for experienced riders, too. The bike comes equipped with a mono-shock rear suspension that can be adjusted to suit a rider's weight and riding style. Beginners can choose to go with ABS braking, thereby adding another safety feature to their bike.
The Honda CBF500 also fares much better than most other 500cc - 600cc engine bikes and ranks very highly in terms of quality, built, and reliability. The bike holds it together on the worst of roads and in the worst weather conditions too. The Honda CBF500 also ranks very highly in terms of resale value.
To sum up, with its high-quality brakes, stable suspension, passenger grab handles, rear-view mirrors, 19-litre fuel tank, and utterly comfortable motorbike seat, the Honda CBF500 is one of the best affordable bikes for under £2,000.
Yamaha XV535 Virago
Years: 1988 - 2004
The XV535 was the first cruiser motorcycle released by the Japanese manufacturer. It hit the market in 1988 and within only a few weeks of its launch, the bike had gained a cult following and large fan base, so much so that the admirers of the XV535 Virago were soon outnumbering even the Harley Davidson fans.
What worked most in Virago's favour was its simple but sleek design and amazing riding performance. More importantly, the XV535 Virago was reasonably priced, which made it even more popular.
The Yamaha XV535 Virago features a 535cc V-twin engine that offers ample pull low down. The bike comes equipped with efficient brakes, a powerful suspension, and a smooth gearbox. Since the Yamaha XV535 Virago was launched in 1988, its handling is slightly trickier than that of more modern bikes. However, this affordable A2 bike still offers a stable riding experience.
Further, the fact that the Yamaha XV535 Virago has a low centre of gravity, easy manoeuvrability, and good ground clearance works in favour of beginners and new riders. The motorbike also comes equipped with an analogue speedo, good mirrors, and a plush and comfy seat, all of which come together to provide a fun riding experience while simultaneously adding to the bike's supreme looks.
The Yamaha XV535 Virago is one of the most reliable bikes. Although we would recommend newer XV535 models, many XV535s have survived all these years and are still available for sale on the market. This motorcycle holds its resale value. However, if you plan to part with your XV535 someday, make sure to keep the chrome in good shape.
To summarise, the Yamaha XV535 Virago is a solid and robust A2 motorcycle that is fun to ride and easy to handle, making it a good choice for riding enthusiasts and beginners.
Years: 1999 - 2008
The Suzuki SV650 is a middleweight, practical, and fun-to-ride motorcycle that was launched in two versions (the naked SV650 and the sporty SV650S). Though the SV650 is more common, making it easier to find it for under £2,000.
Around the time the Suzuki SV650 was launched, the market was full of bikers falling in love with the more expensive Yamaha FZ6 Fazer and Honda CBF600. However, with its versatility and affordable pricing, the Suzuki SV650 managed to sway many of these admirers in its favour.
The Suzuki SV650 features a liquid-cooled DHC that provides a super-smooth riding experience over its competitors, such as the Ducati Monster 620. The bike fares well on motorways, holding its ground at speed. The fuss-free chassis adds to the overall experience. The gearbox is smooth and the clutch is light and easy. The initial models came with analogue dials, which were later changed to the digital speedo.
The Suzuki SV650 has a powerful engine that has survived the test of time – there are many Suzuki SV650 bikes on the market. This Suzuki SV650 is an affordable A2 bike and has a robust build, designed for long life. However, some of its parts are susceptible to corrosion and furring, especially during the winter. Similarly, the bike also lacks in terms of equipment and tech. However, this motorcycle offers great mileage, which is a big asset, especially when you are an A2 category rider looking for one of your first bigger bikes.
In conclusion, though the SV650 has its flaws, its affordable and great fuel consumption make it a wonderful A2 bike to own. More importantly, the motorcycle offers a super-light feel, easy handling, and great manoeuvrability, making it easy and fun to ride. The assured suspension and powerful brakes add to its safety features, while the comfortable seat makes this bike an absolute joy on long rides.
Years: 1995 - 2003
BMW R1100R has derived from the twin-cylinder BMW Boxer, one of the most popular from the BMW Motorrad range. This now-affordable motorcycle features a powerful 1085cc air/oil-cooled twin engine that offers plenty of mid-range.
The BMW R1100R features the company’s patented Telelever front suspension, which significantly enhances rider comfort. The Paralever rear suspension, on the other hand, minimizes the effect of the shaft drive. The bike comes equipped with the powerful R 1100 RS brakes, which can be easily upgraded to add ABS.
The centre stand is easy-to-use and holds the bike firmly in its place. However, the highlight of the BMW R1100R is that, unlike most other BMW bikes, it doesn’t drink fuel as quickly and it’s not a high-maintenance bike either. Thus, making the R1100R a fantastic bike for any new riders looking for a budget A2 motorcycle.
The BMW R1100R was certainly more expensive than some of the other bikes mentioned in this list when new. However, examples of this A2 bike can be found for under £2,000.
Moreover, the R1100R is sturdy, reliable, features high-quality components, and most importantly, registers low depreciation. Thus, buyers may be required to shell a bit of extra money while buying the BMW R1100R but they will also get this money back if they decide to sell their bike later. More importantly, for a naked bike, the BMW R1100R is quite well-equipped – most naked bikes are only left with the essentials, which is not the case with the BMW R1100R.
All in all, the BMW R1100R is a highly-versatile machine that resists high-speed work and provides excellent rider comfort, making it an excellent purchase as a used bike.
BMW F800S and F800ST
Years: 2006 - 2013
The BMW F800S and F800ST are the perfect purchase for someone who wants a bike to learn and then, also a bike to keep for life. This motorcycle comes equipped with a characteristic engine and offers easy and lightweight handling. Moreover, the company's aftersales service is exemplary.
To distinguish the two models; the F800S has sport fairing, whereas the F800ST is the sport tourer version of the bike, with slightly different fairing.
The highlight of this motorbike is its 978cc engine which offers the perfect combination of torque and horsepower. The throttle response could have been better, but the wide powerband more than makes up for it.
This affordable A2 bike is made for speed and holds its ground well when you twist the throttle. The under-the-seat fuel tank provides it with a low centre of gravity, making it easy to handle and giving it high manoeuvrability.
In terms of safety features, the brakes are powerful and the gearbox is smooth. The bike comes equipped with a fuel gauge, adjustable levers, a gear indicator, and a bar-mounted control button, all of which create an impressive dashboard and add to the bike's overall looks.
Much like any other BMW motorbike, the quality of the BMW F800S and the F800ST is unquestionable. These two affordable models are reliable, trustworthy, and built to last.
In terms of pricing, the BMW F800S & ST are slightly more expensive than its counterparts, such as the Suzuki SV650 and the Kawasaki Z750. However, it can’t be beaten when it comes to reliability, aesthetics, and badge.
Years: 1989 - 2008
Perfect for beginners, the Suzuki GS500E is an inexpensive starter bike that impresses with its sporty look as well as acceleration and power. However, its biggest highlight is its low price tag; the key feature that attracts young bikers looking for something concrete but affordable.
The Suzuki GS500E is powered by a powerful 487cc parallel-twin engine that works perfectly and makes this budget A2 friendly bike a lot more than just a starter motorcycle. The engine offers 45bhp, which is perfect for new riders and the suspension allows the bike to deliver a comfortable performance.
The GS500E delivers 58mpg, taking you more than 220 miles on a single 17-litre tank, which is a massive plus point. The gearbox is smooth and the upright riding position along with the stock banana seat makes riding the bike comfortable, even on long trips.
However, there are a few areas where the bike lacks. First, the brakes could have been better, though this is a problem that can be easily taken care of. Second, the paint chips and the metals parts corrode. Thus, owners are required to pay special attention and ensure the bike's maintenance, especially if you plan to resell it someday.
Even with its flaws, the Suzuki GS500E is an amazing starter bike and one of the best affordable A2 bikes. With its 45bhp, 487cc inline 2 engine, the bike delivers concrete performance. Its low price tag, lower maintenance requirements, and huge fuel tank that delivers great mileage due to its fuel-efficient engine make this bike easy on the pocket while also being extremely fun to ride.
To conclude, the Suzuki GS500E is the bike to consider if you are shopping on a budget and want the best value for money.
The last stop
Before you disappear, we also highly recommend that you read our ultimate guide to buying your first motorcycle. It’s packed with valuable information about the different types of bikes, what to check before buying a bike, and other considerations and things to know!
Last but not least, if you need to insure your very own A2 motorcycle, make sure to get a motorcycle insurance quote direct with Lexham!
This is a guest blog from a2motorbikes.co.uk