For most riders, their first A2 bike will be their first big bike.
A breakthrough into the world of sub 5 second 0-60 times and the freedom of motorway riding.
For most riders, too, this first bike isn’t one that breaks the bank.
In this list, we’ll show you both second hand bikes and brand new bikes that can be found for a great price.
If you’re looking for a foal to learn along with you or a stallion to show you the ropes, you’ll find something here.
Engine Size: The displacement (in cubic cm) of the bike’s power plant. Measures the amount of fuel-air mixture combustion per revolution.
Power: Pay attention to the second number. If your bike produces peak power at high revs, be ready for lower torque numbers on a frame this size.
Price: For the brand new bikes in this list, we’ll give you the current retail price. For the used ones, the price will be an average of a few different options sampled from AutoTrader and Gumtree.
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Cheap A2 Bikes – Used
The used market is usually the best place to look when it comes to a bargain A2 bike.
Private sellers often post bikes at amazing prices, so keep an eye out on Facebook Market and other similar sites – you’ll always find at least one diamond in the rough.
If you do go down the used route, though, do your research beforehand and know what to look for. Check out our used bike buyer’s guide for more info.
Kawasaki Ninja 250R (2015)
Starting with the used bikes, we have Kawasaki’s 2015 Ninja 250R.
This bike is the ultimate small displacement racer, and has long dominated the US market for low power bikes.
Engine Size: 249cc Twin
Horsepower: 32bhp@ 11000rpm
Price: From £1900
In the UK, it is somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Yamaha’s YBR125 or Honda’s CB125 series, but the 250R should not be overlooked when it comes to picking an A2 bike.
All the styling of a hyperbike, distilled into an easily digestible package.
Suzuki GS500 (2005-08)
Another second hand gem, the late 2000s GS500 from Suzuki is dripping in retro race bike style, and will hit a top speed of 105mph- not to be sniffed at.
Engine Size: 487cc parallel twin
Horsepower: 45bhp@ 9500rpm
Price: From £2000
It is a smaller machine physically so will suit riders of the same persuasion, however, the relaxed riding position means all but the gangliest riders will be comfortable too.
There are a lot of these around, too, so don’t worry about finding a nice one used.
As with any bike, take your time, and don’t throw your money at one until you’re absolutely sure it’s the bike for you.
Honda CB500F (2013)
If you’ve read our best A2 bikes roundup, you’ll know we have a soft spot for Honda’s series of 500 twins.
Engine Size: 471cc parallel twin
Horsepower: 47bhp@ 8500rpm
Price: From £2495
The hearty little twin-cylinder motor that they all have in common has a surprisingly robust power output, even in the lower rev range, and a top speed somewhere in the 110s is more than sufficient for anything but track riding.
The naked standard of the bunch, the CB500F, was revamped in 2016 along with its X and R cousins, which means that the older models can be found for an amazing price in the second hand market.
KTM 390 Duke
Another small displacement bike, but don’t be fooled, the Duke is a lot of fun to ride with a short wheelbase and aggressive setup.
Engine Size: 373cc single cylinder
Horsepower: 43bhp@ 9500rpm
Price: From £2295
This bright orange crotch rocket has been around for a while now, so the second hand prices are starting to drop to affordable levels for someone upgrading from a 125cc, or just getting into bikes.
Look for the later models where you can – the Duke got an upgrade in 2017 which gave it a facelift and beefier brakes.
Yamaha XMAX 250
We’re sneaking in a couple of scooters here, mainly to talk about their usefulness and advantages in an urban environment.
Engine Size: 250cc single cylinder
Horsepower: 20bhp@ 7500rpm
Price: From £1500
Twist and go transmission and comfortable seating make middleweight scooters a great choice for anyone who needs to be in and out of the saddle a lot.
They aren’t slow, either, and you’ll often beat a manual bike of the same engine size simply on the merit of your automatic gear change – power is instantaneous and smooth at any speed.
The first choice is the XMAX- for its simplicity- this thing epitomises the convenience and comfort that all scooters strive for.
Suzuki Burgman 400
The Burgman is our second Maxi pick, this time for power.
Engine Size: 400cc single cylinder
Horsepower: 32bhp@ 7600rpm
Price: From £3700
The grunt from the 400cc motor in this thing makes it an ideal motorway cruiser and will give you incredible speed out of the lights in the city centre.
Top this off with all the creature comforts- ample storage, great ergo, onboard USB ports and charging- and the Burgman starts to look like a great choice for someone in the market for an easy ride.
The last of our used entries, and one that’s starting to push the definition of ‘budget’, the Yamaha R3 is a beauty. It is pretty fast too, with a 0-30 time of less than three seconds- at this engine size, that’s an impressive figure.
Engine Size: 321cc inline twin
Horsepower: 42bhp@ 10750rpm
Price: From £2990
Don’t write to us when you try to drag race your mates’ 1 series, though. What you really buy this bike for is style, and it has that in buckets.
Most liveries have matte colours and graphics as stock, so you’ll be sure to earn the admiration of onlookers with this one.
Cheap A2 Bikes – Brand New
We’re getting into the new bikes now, so expect the prices to jump up a notch.
If you’ve got the extra space in the budget, though, it’s well worth buying new.
Not only will you be the first to ride your pride and joy, you’ll also gain the benefits of the manufacturer’s warranty and service plans from the dealership.
Initially reviled by mechanics and bike owners, Chinese manufacturers like Zontes have really upped their game in recent years, and bikes like the T310 demonstrate the increase in quality and attention to detail from such brands.
Engine Size: 312cc single cylinder
Horsepower: 34bhp@ 9000rpm
The Zontes T310 is a single cylinder adventure bike, and its list of mod cons and extra features is as long as its front forks.
It’s got keyless ignition, an LED display, disengageable ABS, onboard USB charging ports and an alloy swingarm- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One for the open minded.
A baby GSXR? Sold!
Engine Size: 248cc parallel twin
Horsepower: 25bhp@ 8000rpm
The 250R’s engine has been specifically designed with low down torque in mind, and the result is a lightweight machine with enough grunt to pull you through the bends and fire you out of the other side.
It’s pretty, as well, with styling to show up most superbikes- an aggressive front fairing and LED headlamps give it a distinctive silhouette and aesthetic.
Herald Classic 400
Something a bit left field to finish, then. British company Herald has a range of Chinese-built bikes available at some very reasonable prices.
Engine Size:400cc single cylinder
Horsepower: 27bhp @9000rpm
The retro styled Classic 400 is a roadster with attitude, and the screaming 400cc single will lead to some wide grins on country lanes.
The devils in the details with this one, and Herald have hit all the right notes. The Classic 400 has fat tires, bullet indicators and a dual exit exhaust, so it really fits the bill when it comes to looks.