It’s May, 2022, and as you’ve probably heard by now, motorcycle sales have been looking up over the past couple of years. In stressful times, as it turns out, more people want to get outside and enjoy the thrill of riding, for any number of reasons. Just about every industry has experienced supply chain issues, though—including motorcycling.
From the ongoing global semiconductor shortage to the parts compliance issue that caused one major American OEM to halt production for two weeks, it’s clear that we’re still not out of the woods yet. Depending on the type of riding you like doing, though—maybe the woods are exactly where you want to be! If so, don’t worry—we've got you in mind on this list.
Prices on everything have been going up—but you can still find some great new bikes in 2022 with MSRPs under $5,000 in the U.S. You’ll still need to pay things like taxes, destination, title, and other assorted fees, which vary by locality. Also, we clearly can’t guarantee you that your local dealer will have the bike you want in stock when you want to buy it. We can tell you that a bike exists, but it’s up to you to do some local legwork if you decide it’s the right bike for you.
Ready? Let’s get cheap AND cheerful with the following five motorbike options in 2022. Since they’re all small-displacement models, the even better news for buyers is their comparatively low fuel consumption!
2022 Honda Rebel 300
Engine: liquid-cooled, 286cc single-cylinder with bore and stroke of 76mm x 63mm
Curb weight: 364 pounds
The smallest member of the Honda Rebel family grew by 50cc of displacement not long ago, and most people view that as a good thing. Times have changed since its introduction, and luckily, so has the Rebel’s styling. While it still retains a strong hold on that neo-retro cruiser DNA from the Rebel 1100, it’s of course tied up in a much smaller, tidier package for anyone who doesn’t need or want a massive bike. Disc brakes and LED lighting come standard; ABS is optional. The Rebel 300 also comes with Honda’s slipper/assist clutch, which you may not have expected in this package.
2022 Yamaha MT-03
Engine: liquid-cooled, 321cc parallel twin with bore and stroke of 68mm x 44.1mm
Curb weight: 373 pounds
This is the tiniest of Yamaha’s torque masters. If the Yamaha MT design language speaks to you, then you’ll definitely want to check out what’s probably the easiest-to-ride, most forgiving bike in the bunch. You get an inverted 37mm KYB fork up front, a monoshock with adjustable preload in the rear, disc brakes, ABS, an LED headlight and turn signals, and an LCD meter up front.
2022 Honda Trail 125
Engine: air-cooled, 124.9cc single-cylinder with bore and stroke of 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Curb weight: 259 pounds
MPG: TBD per Honda
The Trail 125 is a great example of a thing Honda does well—reaching back into its past, taking something cool, and making it just the right kind of modern. It’s good as-is, or there are a whole host of accessories you can add to turn it into your best camping and light trail-work buddy. It’s not a heavy-duty adventure bike, but if all you want to do is explore some fairly easy trails nearby and enjoy some nature, then ride home on local paved roads, it could be your new, tiny companion.
2023 Kawasaki KLX230R S
Engine: air-cooled, 233cc single-cylinder with bore and stroke of 67mm x 66mm
Curb weight: 253.6 pounds for the 49-state model; 262.3 pounds for the California model
MPG: Not available
If you don’t care at all about roadability and all you want is to go explore some trails, then you could do a lot worse than the KLX230R S. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is get out and explore—and this bike is a great way to do exactly that. It’s small, light, and nimble, so it’s a lot easier to pick up if you fall, too.
2022 BMW G 310 R
Engine: liquid-cooled, 313cc single-cylinder engine with bore and stroke of 3.0 inches x 2.4 inches
Curb weight: 362 pounds
MPG: Not available
Squeaking in just under the wire, we have the BMW G 310 R—but you know what’s fun? Turning heads with its fantastic looks, then telling anyone who asks that your BMW cost under five grand. The G 310 R comes standard with ABS, LED lighting all around, and adjustable brake and clutch levers. Both low and high seat options are available to fit a wider range of riders. They do cost extra, but it’s nice to know all the same, particularly if you’re either very short or very tall.