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Hagerty Employee

3 midsize street bikes that won’t break the bank

In the car universe, some collectibles are reliably magnetic. Wheel up to a concours, Sunday’s cars and coffee, or any other gearhead gathering in an early Sting Ray, an E-Type, or a vintage “patina pickup” and you’ll immediately find appreciation and friendship thanks to your ride.


Well, motorcycling hosts the same dynamic. In between heavies like Vincents and innumerable small-displacement Japanese bikes exists a nice selection of blue chips that are affordable, fun to ride, and beautiful—and they will always pass peer review among real bike folk. Here are three favorites you can typically find in ridable condition for $6000 or less. Read the full article on


Hagerty Employee

these illustrations are fantastic. what a neat touch!


The CB750 was the first super bike and first production 4 cylinder. It decimated the competition. And it didn’t leak oil like it’s British counterparts and was super reliable. Knowing how long the CB750 was in production for, Honda got it right the first time. 
The BMW toasters were only one year - 1972 and were widely panned by the BMW community upon release. 
Having owned both bikes, they are fun to ride, own, and work on. Syncing all 4 carbs on the Honda can be tricky, but manageable. 

Intermediate Driver

I agree, the renderings are awesome!  I'd love to have an old Honda to putter around the neighborhood on.  Great to looks at and takes up the space of a lawnmower and seed spreader in the garage.

New Driver

Having bought both a 1970 T100R Daytona new and a 1971 R75/5 I can vouch for the bulletproof nature of both.  The BMW was a fabulous tourer though I also had ridden the Daytona on 2-300 mile rides.  Great choices!

New Driver

You know Lucas did the electrics on those Brit bikes. Do you remember the Lucas nickname?

Prince of Darkness, lol.

Intermediate Driver

Many manufacturers developed 4 cylinder motorcycles before Honda & when Kawasaki came out with their 900 Z-1 in 1973, they gave up & stopped production the following year. I just wish I still had my old 1949 Indian Scout again but then, maybe that's why I have a bad right knee today.

New Driver

My favorite was the Suzuki GT750 2 stroke triple. Was bulletproof, toured with the best of them and could snap your head back when you cracked the throttle like only a 2 stroke could. 

Intermediate Driver

I have owned a 1971 R75 for 25 years and also own a SOHC CB 750 for many years.  In the early '70's, the Honda was such a more flashy and attractive bike over the stogy and expensive BMW.  The Honda may not have been the first four cylinder production bike, but they did it in a way that changed the motorcycle market.  The bike had overhead cam, a 5 speed and front disc brakes.  The four exhaust pipes were stunning.  Not only that, but the Japanese bikes of the era came in bold colors with lots of chrome.


My R75 has some modifications.  My high mileage bike wore out the transmission, so I replaced the 4 speed with a /6 five speed and higher ratio rear drive.  Those modifications make the bike much nicer to ride.  The Japanese 5 speed snicks into gear with a gentle touch of the toe, while the German transmissions require a disciplined kick to klunk the bike into the next gear.


Despite it all, I greatly prefer the BMW to the Honda.  The German bike is better for longer rides.  It handles better in the turns and (believe it or not ) the front drum brake stops the BMW better than the Honda's disc.  The big brick of an engine in the Honda hinders it's handling and the steel piston in the aluminum caliper needs to be cleaned every year to keep electrolysis from gumming it up.  


Both engines are smooth and dependable, but the BMW is a joy to service and maintain.  The BMW gets my vote.

Pit Crew

I bought a Honda CX500 Custom new in 1979 and absolutely loved the size, water-cooled shaft drive in a smaller mid size bike. I just bought a 1982 similar version with 12k miles and fell in love all over again. Not the fastest bike, but a reliable Honda that can cruise the countryside with ease!