10. Yamaha V-Max
Talk about a game changer; when the original V-Max was introduced in 1985, everything else suddenly felt inferior in a straight line. In fact, the V-Max arguably introduced the term “muscle cruiser” into the motorcycling lexicon. The fact it was relatively unchanged for 23 years (when the all-new VMax, no dash, was introduced in 2008) meant it still held its own, even amongst much newer competition.
Sure, the V-Max couldn’t negotiate a turn very well (okay, it was awful), but the ferocious dual overhead cam, liquid-cooled, four-valve, 1198cc V-Four — with V-Boost! — was a monster, reportedly making nearly 20 horses more than the Suzuki GSX-R1100 of the day. It was relatively comfy, too, so you could actually ride the thing like a motorcycle, not like an impractical exotic.
Late-model versions in fairly good condition are well under our $10,000 cap, so if you’re in the market, now is the time to buy.