I was in a similar position when I got my RS. I was actually looking for an 885cc triple, as those bikes can be found in that price range fairly frequently, but there were none around. What I found was a $4500 Sprint RS whose owner told me Capital One would be willing to give me a loan no matter how bad my credit was. I got the loan and the bike; that may be an option for you as well.
You can occasionally find a Sprint ST for $2500, but they will almost always have some crash damage and/or salvage titles.
I was just looking around this morning at new and used machines, it looks like anything decent starts out at about $3k and doesnt go much over $4k for the 955 model Sprint ST. Im sure you could spend more but I doubt you have to if you shop around a little.
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