Australian motorcycle riders love their road bikes.
Road bike sales rose marginally by 0.3% to 43,724, representing 39% of all the 113,289 new motorcycles, ATVs and scooters sold in 2013.
Around 34% bought an off-road bike with sales of 39,013 (3.1%), almost 19% bought an ATV (21,072, -10.6%) and around 8% bought a scooter (9478, -12.4%), according to official VFacts figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).
While the whole market dropped slightly by 2.2% to 113,289, it appears more riders are joining the two-wheel brigade with many learner bikes among the top sellers.
The sales leader was the Kawasaki Ninja 300 learner bike, despite being voluntarily pulled from the market for a short time to fix ABS and ECU problems.
Even Honda’s ubiquitous CT110 postie bike dropped to seventh behind mini bikes, small-capacity dirt bikes and Honda’s CBR250R learner bike.
The bump in learner bikes was expected after Western Australia last year finally joined the rest of the country on the Learner Approved Motorcycles Scheme (LAMS), in which learners can choose from bikes up to 659cc with a power-to-weight ratio up to 150kW/tonne.
Consequently, learner bikes topped almost every category. Honda’s new 500cc models, the CBR500R and CBR500FA, topped the sports and naked bike categories.
The Kawasaki KLR650 again topped the adventure bike category with Suzuki’s DLR650A in third behind the BMW R 1200 GS.
Yamaha’s XVS650 again topped the cruiser sector while the rest of the category was dominated by Harley-Davidson which was second in road bikes with sales up 5% to 8217, representing almost 19% of the road market.
In this climate of learner bike sales frenzy, Harley will be sweating on a possible early release for its new Street 500 learner bike from India or America. However, the official release is not until this time next year.
Leading road bike company was again Honda with 8998 sales (up 2.4% and 20% of the market). Kawasaki was third with about 6852 sales, up 8.4% and 16% of the road sector.
Releasing the 2013 motorcycle, ATV and scooter sales figures, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber says the boom in learner bikes and cruisers augers well for the industry’s future.
“Learners doing well and cruisers doing well indicates a bright future for our industry,” he says.
“It shows a movement toward leisure and discretionary expenditure.
“People later in life have paid off the mortgage and decide they might buy themselves the dream machine. While they might not be able to buy afford a Ferrari, they can afford a fancy bike.”
A good example of the cruiser craze was the return of the Indian Chief which sold out before it hit our shores.
Tony says the bikie crackdown in Queensland did not have any affect on bike sales.
“We did a bit of research on it and found no evidence that it has had any effect whatsoever,” he says.
Tony pointed out that while road and off-road sales were positive, ATV and scooter sales have “come off the boil” in the past few years.
“Scooters were a bit more of a fashion item a few years ago and the novelty has come off and there a lot of seocnd-hand scooters sitting around,” he says.
“ATVs were also down which may reflect tougher times in the farming communities and the downturn in mining.”
Honda was again top manufacturer with around 22% of the market, selling 25,432 motorcycles, ATVs and scooters.
It was followed by Yamaha with almost 18% market share and 20,087 sales. Kawasaki was third with around 10% (11,683) and Suzuki fourth with 9.5% (10,818).
Yamaha led the market for off-road motorcycles, selling more than 29% (11,553) of the total 39,013 off-road bikes sold, up 3%. Honda had 26% (10,317) and KTM 16% (6211).