10 Reasons Why Motorcycle Sales Could Be Declining

Motorcycles have a lot of perks: they offer fun driving experiences, you look cool riding one, and they get impeccable gas mileage. Despite this, motorcycles sales have been low for decades compared to car sales.

Here are some reasons why it’s so tricky for bike manufacturers to sell new motorcycles these days.

1. Aging customers and industry

A person in motorcycle sales talking to potential customers in a bike shop.
Motorcycle sales | Getty Images

According to HotCars, the motorcycle industry has spent most of its time marketing to the boomer generation. While you can certainly still hop on a motorcycle at any age, many buyers have since moved on to other passions. Additionally, the industry deprives itself of new sales thanks to its lack of marketing for younger customers.

2. New buyers have little cash to spare

The economy for young people today is entirely different compared to how it was for the boomer generation. Millennials and Gen Z adults usually don’t consider spending their savings on recreational vehicles. Cars are generally their first priority because these vehicles are more practical and provide shelter throughout the changing seasons.

3. Minimalistic preferences

Grand touring motorcycles were popular in decades thanks to their mold-breaking designs and powerful engines. However, HotCars brings up that a younger generation is less interested in using these bikes as extensions of their personalities. They want a lowkey, affordable two-wheeler that can still get them to their destinations quickly.

4. Fewer people getting driver’s licenses

Driver’s licensing has also been less popular recently, especially in highly-populated cities. When public transportation is so readily available, why would you need a car? Even if you can purchase one upfront with no car loan to pay off, you still have to worry about gas and regular maintenance.

Depending on your prior driving experience, getting your driver’s license can also take months. After you get a driver’s license, next, you have to begin the process of getting a motorcycle license. It’s a time-consuming hassle that many people don’t want to deal with.

5. The stereotyping of motorcycle gangs

Some motorcycle gangs have violent histories, and a few of them have even aligned themselves with harmful hate groups. Unfortunately, these bad apples have painted a negative picture of motorcycling groups who just want to have a good time. Nobody wants to get invested in a hobby that could ruin their reputation.

6. The growth of urbanization

As cities are becoming more populated, the importance of public transportation and ridesharing is more emphasized than ever. There’s less traffic with fewer vehicles on the road, reducing the stress of both transport drivers and passengers alike. It also means that less harmful emissions are being released into the atmosphere.

7. Awareness surrounding motorcycle accidents

Even if you’re wearing all the recommended safety gear, studies show that motorcycle riding is still potentially life-threatening. Motorcycles can frequently become trapped in the blind spots of larger vehicles like trucks and buses. Helmets can reduce fatalities, but probably not as much as airbags and seatbelts.

8. Online shopping

Nowadays, buyers can buy vehicles almost completely online without ever entering a showroom. However, HotCars argues that buying a motorcycle online isn’t a wise choice. 

Motorcycles are sometimes shipped in crates, meaning a higher risk for damage if the bike isn’t tied down correctly. You also probably won’t be able to test drive the bike before you buy it. 

9. Riding gear is too expensive

A helmet, gloves, and boots are considered essential for safe motorcycle riding. Jackets with armored padding and additional eye protection are also recommended. All of this safety gear can often cost thousands of dollars.

10. It’s cheaper to buy a used bike

Modern bikes have their charms, but all of their accessories and technology inflate their prices. An older bike is obviously a fraction of that cost, and many still hold up well today. Perhaps a return to simple, no-frills design language would help lower the prices of new bikes and attract frugal customers.

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