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The Used Motorcycles We’d Buy Right Now For $2,500

Even with a budget of $2,500, you can still come across incredible deals and avoid the ‘ran when parked’ and ‘makes a good project bike’ ads.


Going on the hunt for used motorcycles is an adventure rife with both incredible finds and complete pieces of junk. Luckily, even with a budget of $2,500, you can still come across incredible deals and avoid the ‘ran when parked’ and ‘makes a good project bike’ ads. And that’s the beauty of a used motorcycle: for considerably less money than a car, a modern mountain bike or even some watches, you can land yourself one hell of a motorcycle, and you don’t have to comb the ad sights for very long to realize it. From versatile enduros to classic sport bikes to a vintage mini-bike, these are the motorcycles we found and would buy right now for $2,500.

2008 Honda CRF 230L

I’ve recently seen the light when it comes to enduros. They inherit the best qualities from dirt bikes — featherweight, incredible handling — and the ease at which they can be customized means they can turn into super light adventure bike in no time. Now, the CRF230L might be a tad on the small side, making highway runs a challenge, but as soon as dirt comes into play, it’s an absolute dream. And although it’s not completely necessary to make it a great city bike, a quick swap to more on-road-biased tires would transform this single cylinder into a wonderful little supermoto machine. — Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer

Mileage: 2,519
Original MSRP: $4,499


1975 Honda XL250

A basic Craigslist search with the only parameter set at “Max price: $2,500” yields plenty of underrated sport bikes and UJMs, but it’s the temptingly cheap enduros that have caught my attention lately. Honda’s XL250, a bike that, according to Motorcycle Classic, “defined dual-sport bikes for at least a decade,” is about as good as it gets. The biggest departure from its competition was the use of a four-stroke in place of the de rigueur two-stroke, which means you get all of the lightweight, zippy fun sans the annoying trail of smoke. That makes this socially acceptable to weave in and out of city traffic, but I’m dreaming of punching it up hills, sliding it through dirt and just generally sending it, as well. Such is the magical duality of the enduro. — Andrew Connor, Staff Writer

Mileage: 8,419
Original MSRP: $850


1970 Honda CT70

Even though Honda’s new Monkey will undoubtedly be quicker, better built and more reliable, this original CT70 has more charm than a barrel of those. The seller admits this one is about a seven out of ten, but all indications point to a mechanically sound little machine. Trust me when I tell you, no matter how bad your day is going, five seconds on a monkey bike will convert you back into a grinning seven-year-old. — Matt Neundorf, Contributing Writer

Mileage: 2,547
Original MSRP: $395


1982 Yamaha 650 Seca

This appears to be an immaculate example of a vastly under-appreciated bike from an era full of models that didn’t age well. Initially, Yamaha didn’t offer the 650 Seca to the North American market, instead sending us the 650 Maxim which was more a “custom” style bike rather than the sporty style Seca offered in Europe. However, after some proactive US journalists got their hands on a 650 Seca, discovered how damn good it was and subsequently made lots of noise about it, Yamaha brought it to the US in 1982. A sturdy frame, reliable DOHC air-cooled inline-four, comfy flat seat instead of a garish stepped unit and easily maintained shaft drive makes the Seca a very desirable unit. These bikes make a great platform for a project, but this one in particular should be enjoyed as-is because how could you mess with those period-correct graphic touches? — Andrew Maness, Contributing Writer

Mileage: 32,000
Original MSRP: $3,099


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