Re­li­able Tour­ing Bikes You Can Pick Up On The Cheap


Re­li­able Tour­ing Bikes You Can Pick Up On The Cheap

“Runs great. Needs TLC.”

“Runs great. Needs bat­tery/carbs cleaned.”

Or one of my per­sonal fa­vorites: “Orig­i­nal patina!” (It’s just rusty.)

Brothers and sis­ters, let’s face the facts: We live a damn ex­pen­sive life­style. Th­ese steel horses we ride are not cheap, and the more power and re­li­a­bil­ity you want, the more you have to pay for it. But that doesn’t al­ways have to be the case. If you’re will­ing to spend the time dig­ging through and deal­ing with the “used bike” cra­zies, you can find great mo­tor­cy­cles with sur­pris­ingly rea­son­able price tags.

When I was first start­ing off, a Har­ley-David­son mo­tor­cy­cle was all my lit­tle heart de­sired, but it seemed to be un­ob­tainium with my hourly job and the beer fund usu­ally tak­ing an un­healthy chunk of my bi­weekly checks. It wasn’t un­til I found a 1995 Dyna with 11K miles for $5,500 on that old list of Craig’s that I re­al­ized how ac­ces­si­ble my dreams re­ally were! In­spired by our own pur­chases, we have scoured Craigslist around the US and found some of the most pop­u­lar, ac­ces­si­ble, com­fort­able, and re­li­able bikes you can get— all for a price that’ll still let you eat a de­cent din­ner at the end of the day. From the East Coast to the West, here are some great bikes to get you baggin’ on a budget!

One of the most well-known names in bul­let­proof sport-tour­ing mo­tor­cy­cles is the Honda Gold Wing, specif­i­cally the Gold Wing Aspen­cade. The Aspen­cade was orig­i­nally de­signed to be the peak of lux­ury on two wheels. It had a larger seat, more “cus­tom style” paint, and all the ac­ces­sory op­tions you could get on the other mod­els would come as stan­dard on this one. Start­ing pro­duc­tion in 1982 with the four-cylin­der GL1100, they re­mained a fix­ture of Honda’s lineup un­til the re­design of Honda’s plant for the GL1800 in 2000. How­ever, if you’re look­ing for the deals, stay­ing with the four-cylin­der mod­els is usu­ally the way to go.

Honda Gold Wing Aspen­cade 1982–1988 $1,500–$3,000

Kawasaki Z1000P 1979–2005 $1,000–$2,500

The Kawasaki Z1000 is a clas­sic. It has been made ba­si­cally the same for po­lice use for more than 30 years and still holds those clas­sic lines and the re­li­a­bil­ity that has made it so fa­mous. Com­pared to stock, the Po­lice mod­els have been beefed up with more stor­age, ra­dios, larger seats, and more to ac­com­mo­date the long hours and more ex­treme rid­ing that of­fi­cers are likely to do. Due to the huge range of pro­duc­tion on th­ese bikes, they’re in­cred­i­bly easy to come by, which means they’re cheap as well, and hav­ing them made as re­cently as 2005 means you’re likely to find one that hasn’t had the snot beaten out of it.

Yamaha Road Star Ven­ture 2001–2013 $4,000–$8,000

Yamaha’s Royal Star Ven­ture gets you the full-dresser pack­age for a frac­tion of the ticket price we’re used to see­ing else­where. You get the big seat, large fair­ing, ra­dio, hard bags, and trunk/back­rest for your pas­sen­ger, as well as the full stereo sys­tem. It’s pow­ered by a 1,300cc liq­uid-cooled V-4, shaft-driven en­gine, which pro­vides great power and smooth de­liv­ery through­out. The Ven­ture has more clas­sic bag­ger style than most of the other met­ric tour­ing mod­els of the time and is also eas­ily cus­tom­ized for what­ever look you’re into.

Vic­tory Cross Coun­try 2010–2017 $8,000–$12,000

Vic­tory’s Cross Coun­try line launched in 2010, only for the com­pany to be shut down in 2017. How­ever, in that time, they pro­duced some of the best tour­ing mod­els we have had the chance to ride. Their clos­ing means that now you can get a damn fine bike for a steal—the down­side be­ing that you’ll only have the next 10 years of new parts for it be­fore sourc­ing them might be a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult. For ba­si­cally the price of a Sport­ster, you can get a fully loaded tourer with a great en­gine, bul­let­proof trans, steady chas­sis, and great stor­age. While this is on the high side of budget bag­gers, trust me—you’ll still be get­ting a deal.

Har­ley-David­son Road King 2000–2005 $7,500–$10,000

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