Stay sin­gle

Thump­ing good bar­gains wait­ing to be bagged

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn -

It’s one of bik­ing’s odd­i­ties that peo­ple gush over big sin­gles when they are stashed in a trail-style chas­sis – think Honda Dom­i­na­tor – but look the other way when they are in a ded­i­cated road bike such as the Dom­i­na­tor-pow­ered SLR650

The think­ing is that a 650cc thumper is fine in a trail bike that is hard-pushed to do more than 100mph (no­body makes very fast trail bikes). A 650cc road bike, how­ever, finds it­self com­pet­ing with twins, triples and fours, where you seem­ingly get a lot more bang for your buck.

How­ever, there are plenty of rea­sons for lik­ing road thumpers. They are dif­fer­ent, fun, in­cred­i­bly cheap and easy to run and be­cause peo­ple tend to over­look them, de­mand is low and so are prices.

They tend to be small and low, so if you are small and short-legged your­self you might find you fit one per­fectly. Most of the old 1970s and 80s things are pretty hum­drum. Yamaha’s SR500 is as­ton­ish­ingly long-lived, and still with us as a 400, but it is kick-start only and is slow even by thumper stan­dards.

Ca­giva made some­thing called the River in the 1990s in a 500cc and 600cc guise. A sort of be­gin­ner’s Deauville, it had pan­niers and screen as stan­dard but com­bined slug-like per­for­mance with hor­ri­ble looks. A dealer I knew once ran one as a loaner and wryly called it the ‘dis­cour­tesy bike’.

No, there’s re­ally only one con­tender – the Yamaha MT-03. With a 4v 660cc en­gine, (not to be con­fused with the later 300 twin) you can get a su­per low-miler for un­der £2000 – or at least £500 less than an equiv­a­lent Ténéré and it’ll make you grin ev­ery time you ride it. Hunt around the MCN clas­si­fieds and you’ll get a sin­gle-minded bar­gain. NEXT WEEK Don’t pay over the odds on your next used bike

Yamaha’s orig­i­nal MT-03 is a classy sin­gle for not much cash

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