Motorcycle sales are down around the world because many riders are big-bike snobs, while the industry has failed to reach out to women, minorities and millennials.
These are findings from the American “Give a Shift” group of motorcycle industry luminaries, yet they are universal to the motorcycle world.
They claim the industry has not reached out to women, minorities and millennials.
But it also blames “big-bike snobs who look down on smaller bike riders”.
The panel saw these as the major problems facing motorcycling:
- Baby boomer buyers are quickly ageing and leaving motorcycling;
- Dealerships are too interested in selling powerful and expensive bikes and don’t know how to deal with new customers interested in more “approachable” bikes; and
- The introduction of autonomous vehicles could kill off motorcycling. Click here to read more on this topic.
Among their suggested solutions are:
- Build more three wheelers that won’t tip over to keep ageing riders in the sport;
- Build bikes that are sized and priced to be attractive to newcomers;
- Promote motorcycling as an activity for everyone; and
- Riders should be better ambassadors for the sport.
Boomers go bust
The ageing rider base and the disinterest in motorcycling by millennials was highlighted by the Bernstein Research market report.
Give a Shift says millennials have been “bubble wrapped for safety in their youth” or raised by overprotective parents who discouraged risk-taking.
They say the sport needs to be promoted so the reward outweighs the risk.
It says a pivotal strategy is to engage more women who are typically more risk-averse.
If more women and, especially mothers, start riding, children will follow in their tyre tracks, the panel suggests.
“The increase in female ridership will have a huge influence on young riders’ access to motorcycling, a much-needed segment for motorcycling to thrive,” the panel says.
It calls on the industry to spend more time and money on promoting motorcycling to women and young riders.
But it also says riders should be better ambassadors to the sport, as outlined by this Australian female rider. Click here to read her comments.
The panel calls on every rider to become ambassadors and not snobs.
“To work to be inclusive of smaller motorcycles and scooters, not big bike snobs who look down on smaller bike riders,” it says.
“If just 20% of current riders were able to bring a new rider into the mix every year, the shift would be dramatic not only in sales, but also in camaraderie.”
Bike snobbery may not just be the domain of riders of “big” bikes such as heavy tourers, but also powerful sports bikes, expensive European bikes or certain brands.
The panel is simply urging all riders to be inclusive, rather than exclusive for the sake of our pastime.
Are you a “big bike snob”? Leave your comments below.