It's easy to get caught up in the idea of building a custom bike from the ground up, or going all out on a superbike that'll surely be more than you can handle out the gate. However, If your goal is to have something that's decidedly badass, dead-on reliable, and doesn't do long-term harm to your finances, there are a surprising amount of brand-new bikes you can snag for $5,000 or less.
1. KTM 390 Duke
Why It's Great: The Duke tips the scales at barely over 300 pounds, and it's brimming with tech. It has a one cylinder engine putting out 44 hp, which is more than enough to get you in trouble on a bike this light. Fortunately, it comes with ABS so you'll live to ride another day.
2. Suzuki TU250X
Why It's Great: The styling. It could almost pass for something out of the 1960s. It's light and easy to ride, and with the money you save by buying this, you can turn it into one hell of a cost efficient cafe racer.
3. Honda CBR300R
Why It's Great: The 300R is a sport bike for purists, not because it's un-modern in any way, shape, or form, but because its focus is on handling and the fun factor rather than the blistering outright speed of its bigger brothers.
4. Kawasaki Ninja 300
Why It's Great: If you were the type of kid that grew up with posters of bikes on your wall, the name "Ninja" likely conjures up the same level of emotion as Ducati or Lamborghini. The 300 gives you the look without bringing quite as menacing a package as the horrifyingly fast (and $50,000) Ninja H2R.
5. Honda CRF250L
Why It's Great: It's a peppy little off-road dirt bike that's fully street legal. You can literally find yourself riding along a desolate back road and decide to turn off onto a barely-beaten trail, just because.
6. Yamaha / Star V Star 250
Why It's Great: It's a classic V-twin cruiser without all the weight. Take it out onto a twisty back road and it'll really come into its own.
8. Yamaha TW200
Why It's Great: Take a good look at this thing, and try to say—with a straight face—that you wouldn't have a blast on it. Everything about it is designed to be user friendly, down to the electric starter and an indicator light to let you know you've somehow wound up in neutral.
9. Honda Grom
Why It's Great: This is easily the smallest bike you'll find on this list, not to mention the cheapest, and with an engine rated at 134 mpg, it's also the most efficient. That's cool and all, but think of it this way: the Grom weighs just 225 pounds, so when you're not riding it, it's perfect bench press material.
10. Yamaha YZF-R3
Why It's Great: Note that seating position. It's really low, which isn't just great for short people, or newbies learning how to ride; it's also great for keeping the center of gravity down. Combined with a more than adequate suspension, the YZF-R3's quite the intriguing proposition for anyone serious about heading to the track.
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