My calendar says 2019 is just getting started, but bike manufacturers have been releasing 2019-model-year machines for months now and from what we've seen the pickings look pretty posh. But not a lot of us—from where I’m sitting, anyway—have very deep pockets, so to whittle down our list of Best Bike Deals of 2019 to be more palatable for average Joes, we set the maximum price at $10,000 (US).
The good news is motorcycle riders of any size or stripe still have plenty of options to choose from. Even in the sub-$10K group of models, you’ll find traction control, ABS, and ride modes as standard features on some bikes, with upgraded suspension and premium materials on others. Throwback bikes are hot (again), and so are sportbikes—but you knew that already. Even the models that strut style first and foremost bring some manner of convenience to the table. And there’s a broad spread of variety here too, with styles ranging from sedate standards to corner-carving trackday missiles. So let’s dig into the spec sheets to cull the best bike deals under $10K for the 2019 model year.
Did we mention that throwback bikes are hot? But it might not be just the looks that hook you with Triumph’s most modern iteration of its Modern Classics line; for 2019, the already well-regarded Street Twin was bestowed with a fairly comprehensive set of tweaks and updates. Look beyond the modernized but still-classic silhouette and you’ll find more horsepower, beefed-up suspenders, and more robust brakes, along with the addition of premium materials. One of the biggest knocks on the previous-gen Street Twin was its ho-hum power output, so this year Hinckley boosted the 900cc High Torque parallel twin with 18 percent more power, or roughly 10 hp. That’s nothing to sneeze at; the Street Twin now makes a claimed 65 hp. That suspension got twiddled as well, with Triumph adopting a higher-spec KYB cartridge fork for a smoother ride.
The upgraded Brembo four-piston caliper front brake now gives the Twin a bit of an edge over its newest competitor, the bargain-priced Royal Enfield Interceptor. Other revisions include new alloy wheels, a magnesium cam cover, new headlight shell and brackets, a lighter crank and balance shafts, and increased service intervals, and, yes, two new riding modes.
With its retro lines and rideability the Street Twin was already Triumph’s best-selling Modern Classics model, and after riding it, we doubt it’ll relinquish that title anytime soon. For $9,300, this a pretty plum deal—whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider.
You’ve heard the rosy buzz about Enfield’s all-new twins, and it turns out it’s not fake news—when our testers finally rode the new 2019 Interceptor, they had to admit that a good chunk of the marketing copy for this model wasn’t just blowing smoke. The Continental GT and INT650 are the first global motorcycles to come out of Royal Enfield in a long time, and are all-new from the frame on up. Both models roll with a palpable attitude that outswaggers any RE before it.
Of the two, the INT650 (née Interceptor) is our choice for its comfortable ergos and overall styling, which riffs on the do-it-all bikes of the ’60s and ’70s. The air-/oil-cooled 648cc parallel twin and Harris Performance-designed chassis are a great match, and the bike also impresses with its user-friendly clutch, good gearbox action, and plenty of low-end and midrange power, all of which serve up an amiable riding experience.
Although many of the new Enfield’s components are basic (conventional fork, single disc brake) and power output is modest (a claimed 42.55 hp), ABS still comes standard, and taken together, the combinations work perfectly fine for real-world riding. Our testers came back buzzing about the INT’s overall composure.
Then there’s the financial factor: At a base price of $5,799 for the INT650 and $5,999 for the Continental GT, they’re a flat-out bargain. And if you’re worried about the reliability of a brand-new model, fear not—both bikes include a three-year unlimited-mileage warranty plus roadside assistance.
The small-mill market is where it’s at these days for several reasons, and many of those relate to price and accessibility. With the popularity of small-displacement bikes growing and the adventure-bike market maturing as a category, it was just a matter of time before the twain would meet. The GS is one of a few models that bring those two flavors together, so if you’re looking for urban maneuverability with light off-road capability (dirt roads), BMW seems to have checked those boxes with the G310GS.
No, there aren’t any real surprises with this baby GS—it’s essentially the same core package as the more streetable 310R, carrying a 313cc single-cylinder engine and six speeds, but with different wheels, steering head angle, suspension, and bodywork. Despite the long-travel suspension, semi-knobs, and GS badging, the 310GS is also really a streetbike—but it’s also a BMW, with standard ABS (which can be disabled for off-road use).
The G310GS is built at BMW’s India plant, which means it wears ByBre brakes (Brembo’s India subsidiary) but otherwise possesses all the build quality you’d expect in a BMW. As a bonus the 310GS is a looker, and you can get it in three color options. Despite its small displacement and a top speed of only 90 mph, the G310GS is a good fit for the audience it’s aimed at—light commuters, new riders, or those of smaller stature. And frankly, it gets the job done, as we noted in our review last year.
If strafing apexes is your bag, you’ve come to the right place. Bikes like Kawasaki’s 600cc Ninjas were a common sight on North American tracks in the early noughties when lightweight supersport racing was on fire, and when it was reintroduced in 2013, the ZX-6R was an entirely new bike. For 2019, Team Green is employing the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy—this year’s model is mostly unchanged.
That means the ZX-6R gets a face-lift and a couple of updates. There’s a standard electronic quickshifter, twin LED headlights and taillight, new instrumentation, new gear ratios for better low-end power, and new rubber. But otherwise it’s the same 636cc formula from six years ago, which, by all accounts, is a winning one; when we dynoed the ZX-6R in 2013, it pumped out just over 112 hp at 13,500 rpm.
The other upside of keeping things status quo is that it lets Kawasaki offer this middleweight rocket for an mind-blowing $9,999. That’s about $1,500 less than the 2016 model, and even if you add ABS, the middle Ninja slots in well below the competition. When we rode it last year, we were impressed with the stroked inline-four’s robust spread of torque and midrange. The Showa BP-SFF fork and shock both offer easy adjustability, traction control is standard, dual 310mm rotors up front slow things down quickly, and the ZX-6R’s ride quality was cited as one of its best features.
Although 600-class supersports aren’t as popular as they once were, it’s nice to see Team Green remains committed to the once-mighty class. The ZX-6R is great on the street but it also can be quickly rejiggered into a weekly track missile. And it’s a serious bargain.
In the market for a performance cruiser but not craving the weight or price tag of a full-scale model? The baby Scout may very well be your huckleberry then, as it carries the Indian DNA through its core, even if the proportions are three-quarter size of its bigger brethren. The Sixty rolls on the same chassis as the Scout, but Indian made some tweaks to the inside of the engine that cut displacement down from 69ci to 60, and got rid of fifth gear in the original Scout's transmission. The 60-degree V-twin brings snazzy chrome-on-black styling and, like its big brother, uses fuel injection and water-cooling.
Even though the smaller-bore Scout Sixty has fewer premium parts and rings in as the least expensive to Indian, you’ll still be able to wring out a claimed 78 hp with 65 pound-feet of torque—not too bad for a 542-pound machine. The Scout Sixty might have the same genes as the Scout but there are some clear visual differences. The Sixty has briefer fenders and skips the fender-mounted war bonnet altogether, while the fat 130-series front tire gives it a nice visual punch. The chrome trim on the engine covers and air cleaner on the bigger Scout are blacked out on the Scout Sixty, which gives it more attitude, but there are still subtle hints of the shiny stuff elsewhere to balance things out. An MSRP of $8,999 for one of the most stylish and well-handling cruisers on the market? Yes, please.
With its newer, cleaner neo-retro contours, upgraded components, and solid build quality, the Honda CB650R was the sleeper hit at the 2018 EICMA Show. It’s a strong leap over the competent but frumpy CB650F (now retired), both in performance and overall design. To a neighborhood populated mostly by twin-cylinder engines, the “Neo-Sports” (Honda’s words) CB650R brings a revised 650cc powerplant which gets 5 percent more power and also sits in a stronger and lighter frame. Meanwhile an inverted 41mm Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) is also added to soak up the bumps.
The CB650R’s total redesign includes a trimmed-down chassis, a round LED headlight, and a new LCD dash that includes shift indicators and a gear position indicator. In addition to the Showa fork, performance upgrades include radial-mount four-piston brake calipers, floating brake rotors, and new wheels. Its 649cc DOHC inline-four has a revised intake and exhaust, new cam timing, and a slightly higher compression ratio for more peak power and smoother torque delivery throughout the rev range. An assist-and-slipper clutch and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) round out the CB650R’s features, and ABS is available. We’re looking forward to a ride on this new naked middleweight, which hits the streets in April 2019, for a measly $8,899 (ABS will cost you more).
If you’re thinking the lightweight hyper-naked class feels like it’s pretty hot right now, you can probably thank Yamaha’s 2015 FZ-07 debut for that. In 2019, the former Fuzz extends its stellar reputation with much of its core unchanged, but this time with a new name. Now called the MT-07 (for “Master of Torque”—is there a Marvel comics series in this bike’s future?), this Yammie soldiers on with the same crossplane parallel-twin engine, sweet styling, and good handling that made it so desirable when it was just the FZ. Other than slightly revised spring rates and other suspension tweaks, along with some updated bodywork bits and seat changes, it’s very much the same steed.
And why wouldn’t it be? Our testers opined that the bike is so good that it would someday be called one of “The Great Standard Bikes of the 21st Century” and at an MSRP of $7,599, it’s a bona fide smoking deal. Part of the reason for that is the MT-07’s sheer versatility; it can serve as a daily rider, a beginner bike, an extra bike, or even a trackday bike. None of those things make it a price-point machine—it just happens to be well-priced. Last year Yamaha said the FZ-07 is the highest-selling motorcycle in its entire lineup, and that seems like proof enough. Oh, yes, and ABS is standard—in fact it’s not even an option.
C'mon, there had to be at least one Ducati in here, and though you can opt for the similarly priced (and powered) Monster 797, we’re choosing the Scrambler Icon because it finally fulfills the original’s formula of a simple, fun-to-ride bike, but this time with better execution. For 2019, Borgo Panigale's original Scrambler gets a style refresh, better suspension, an improved saddle, cornering ABS, Ducati’s Bluetooth Multimedia System, and more. Down below is Ducati’s stalwart 803cc oil-cooled L-twin, all gussied up in black with machined highlights, claiming 73 hp at 8,250 rpm and 49.4 pound-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm, which just so happens to move the 417-pound Scrambler with plenty of purpose when you get on it.
The bigger news is the Brembo braking system, now enhanced with Bosch 9.1 MP Cornering ABS. The addition of an inertial measuring unit to the Icon means the ABS now works when leaned over, adding yet another measure of safety to your daily ride. When we rode it last year, we called the Scrambler Icon a “significantly better motorcycle” compared to its previous iteration, and if that contributes to Ducati’s stated purpose of making a riding “joyvolution,” well then we’re cool with that (but a better catchphrase would be nice). The Scrambler comes in a 62 Yellow or the Atomic Tangerine color, and pricing starts at a cool $9,395.
The age of electrics is upon us, so why fight it? Sure, we keep hearing about high price and low range as sticking points, and that has to do with battery technology; the battery makes up as much as 40 percent of an electric vehicle’s price tag. But if you’re willing to take the plunge, some affordable (and upgradeable) options are out there right now. Because Zero Motorcycles is the acknowledged leader in the US market as far as proven track record and and breadth of its offerings, it made sense to start there.
Sweetening the pot is the fact that most of the firm’s 2019 range got some big improvements to its battery specs. Zero’s street-legal dual-sport DS ZF7.2 gets a 35-percent boost in power and an 8-percent-higher top speed, while the DS ZF14.4 extends its range by 10 percent. In fact, you can configure an electric motorcycle with as much as a 223-mile range (in the city), but it’ll cost you around $16,000 for the higher-price, high-capacity ZF14.4 plus Power Tank configuration. The dual-sport line is where you’ll find the lowest-price Zeros, the FX and FXS models. When configured with the economical and shorter-range (50 miles in the city) ZF3.6 modular battery option, either one can be had for $8,495.
Upgrade to the ZF7.2 battery in those models and you nearly double your range and horsepower to 91 miles in the city, with a claimed 46 hp and 78 pound-feet of torque. That configuration costs $10,495, a still not-unreasonable bill for a low-maintenance, big-fun two-wheeler.
Sure, everybody wants to ride the LiveWire, but it’s not here yet (and it doesn’t even come close to meeting our sub-$10K parameters). But there are a bevy of bikes in the current Milwaukee stable that’ll scratch the itch for a smooth, stylish, suitable sub-$10K rig—even if you’re not entirely sure what you want. Take the Iron 1200, introduced as a late-2018 model. Fortunately, it’s more than simply an Iron 883 with a larger engine; along with the bump in displacement, the 1200 also gets rethought ergonomics that splay you out more comfortably in the control room, thanks in large part to mini-apes with a nearly 9-inch rise and a pullback of 6.5 inches instead of the low, flat bars on the Iron 883—a substantial improvement in our book. To match the upright ergos, the Iron 1200 also gets a Café Solo seat that serves up more rear support, so the whole bike just feels roomier.
Interestingly, the chassis remains the same as the 883’s; it’s a bigger engine, but the same tires, suspension, and geometry, and just 2 extra pounds for the 1200. Those 564 pounds of wet weight never feel like a handful, and that’s helped by improved handling and the addition of things like mid-controls and a more stable 19-inch front wheel. The 1970s-themed Iron 1200 recalls the AMF era without all the shortcomings, and it brings authentically retro styling and a hint of pizzaz to the brooding Sportster line (though the retro ’70s tank graphics cost extra) for a pretty reasonable $9,999 sticker price.
Of course if you’re looking for a sportier Sportster, the Roadster is what you want. It packs a beefier, inverted fork, lower bars, and dual disc front brakes, but it does ring in at $1,300 more.
Harley has also made it easier if you get a bad case of buyer’s remorse. If you think a different Hog better suits your style, go back to the same dealer by August 31, 2020, and get your money back in trade value toward a new 2017, 2018, or 2019 motorcycle.