2000 Buell X1 Lightning - $2,750
Remember Buell or back when Harley-Davidson owned a brand that had the potential some real traction with a young audience? The appropriately name Lightning came to be in 1998 and had a short four-year run on the market. Described as raw and rough, the Lightning X1 was underlined by a big 1,203cc V-twin. What’s not to like? While the biggest engine on our list, it also has the lowest output, at 88 horsepower. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a not-so-quiet escape to the sound of a V-twin engine!
This 8,200-mile unit is even equipped with a race kit (but was never actually raced according to the announcer).
2001 Honda RC1 - $2,600
This Designated Duck Killer has the racing pedigree you need to get where you need to go fast. This Honda was introduced for 2000 and won that year’s and 2002’s Superbike World Championship.
The RC1 uses a 999cc V-twin capable of pushing 133 horsepower. This unit was rebuilt nine years ago according to announcer using custom aftermarket components.
2001 Suzuki GSX-R1000 - $2,000
A one-liter sportbike list isn’t complete without a Gixxer, the poster-child of sportbikes. This fine specimen swaps the usual racing livery for a more sober one complete with tan seats—a fine, low-key look if you ask us! This first generation of the model produced a respectable 143 horsepower—not too shabby!
This baby located in Richmond, Virginia needs a bit of love but if you’re the fiddling type and have a bit of time to invest to get the perfect runaway ride, you might want to check it out.
2003 Yamaha FZ-1 - $2,299
The FZ-1 is a good compromise between loads of power and a less radical riding geometry which in the long run equates to better comfort. This Yamaha is a true sleeper—it looks a little more like a sport-tourer with a straighter riding geometry, propelled by a modified version of the R1’s 998cc inline four. This allowed the model’s first generation to produce close to 150 hp.
This Ledgewood, New Jersey model has been well-loved with over 26,000 miles on the counter.
2005 Triumph Speed Triple
Note: A reader looked into the Triumph and said the dealer is actually selling for $3,600 and that the bike needs a fair bit of work. Not as good of a deal as the ad suggests. It was too good to be true...
I mean, speed is in the name of this model, so it’s bound to have a few tricks up its sleeve right? Powered by a massive 1,050cc inline triple, the then newly-upgraded 2005 Speed Triple was capable of producing 131 horsepower and was capable of a top speed of close to 155 mph. That should be enough to take you a long way fast!
BONUS: 1990 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 - $2,900
As sexy as that 2005 Speed Triple is, it’s actually not as good a deal as the ad suggests so I decided to throw in a sixth bike for a real 5 under $3k. Of course, who says sportbike inevitably thinks of a Ninja. Alongside such models as the GSX-R and the Hayabusa, it is one of the most recognized names in the segment.
This version of the one-liter Kawasaki was produced for over a decade in the 90s. The ZX-11 is propelled by a 1,052cc inline four—a layout still used in most sportbikes nowadays—and produced a claimed 134 horsepower at the back wheel.
This 1990 model marks the beginning of this ZX-11generation—the model was introduced to the market that very year. How’s the fastest production sportbike of its era for an escape?