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5 Motorcycle Statistics and Fun Facts

General September 20, 2021

Motorcycles have come a long way since being invented in 1985 when Gottlieb Daimler (later Mercedes-Benz) built the “Reitwagen” with a ½ horsepower engine. Today’s motorcycles are obviously more powerful with the beautiful new 2019 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Twin Cooled 117 engine, the most power v-twin ever made by Harley-Davidson or the awesome 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2R with over 305 horsepower.

Here are some motorcycle statistics and fun facts that might blow you away:

Motorcycle Ridership is Up:

Motorcycle ridership continues to grow with 3.8 million in 1997 to over 8.6 million in 2017 but recent sales are decreasing, down 2.1%.  

Harley is Still #1 (but Falling Fast) Prompting Merger Talks:

Harley-Davidson accounts for 29.3% of all new motorcycle sales in the United States followed by Honda at 14% and Yamaha at 13%.   But Indian, who is way down the list at number 9, below Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and BMW, has jumped 20% in growth. Harley-Davidson sales and stock are way down (-7%) as they are struggling to draw millennials who some say are not interested in the Harley lifestyle. Rumor has it that Harley-Davidson is planning to purchase Ducati for $1.7 billion (with a “B”) whose sales are up 13% over the last two years.

California Leads the Pack:

Last year, California was #1 with 842,000 registered motorcycles and #1 with 58,610 new sales followed by Florida and Texas. However California only has 2.9 bikes per 100 people compared to Wyoming who has 7 bikes per 100 people. The most popular motorcycle model in California is the Harley-Davidson FLH (that’s because it’s been produced since 1949 and no other manufacturer has models that have been sold that long.) The most popular brands California are Honda (No.1) and Yamaha (No.2). The most stolen motorcycles in California are, in order, the Honda CBR600, Yamaha YZFR6, Suzuki GSXR600 and Kawasaki ZX600.

Adventure Bike Boom:

The niche segment of adventure bike which in 2011 only accounted for 5% of sales has doubled to 10% according to the industry publication of Power Sport Business. I believe that more and more riders are buying adventure bikes for commuting due to their high posture, panier cargo space, GPS and comfort including some bike with heated grips and seat adjustments. Adventure bikers spend more time their bikes and spend more on aftermarket accessories than any other kind of rider. The new Honda Africa Twin (30%) is the best-selling Adventure-Touring motorcycle followed by the Suzuki DR650SE and the famous BMW R1200 GS.

Gray Market:

The average age of the typical motorcycle rider is now 47 compared to 32 in 1990 and 40 in 2009.

Smart Riders:

72% of motorcycle riders have some college education and 71% are employed. Only 15% are retired.

About Thomas G. “Tom” Reinecke:

Since 1987, Tom Reinecke has been one of the highest rated Motorcycle Lawyers In California. A graduate of UCLA, former Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, and Author of California Motorcycle Law, Tom Reinecke has successfully handled thousands of motorcycle accident and injury cases and recovered millions of dollars for his clients.  

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