Motorcycle Industry is Doomed

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by HelmetHead Cycle, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. HelmetHead Cycle

    HelmetHead Cycle Been here awhile

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    I honestly believe the motorcycle industry is doomed, perhaps within the next few generations. If you look at the people who ride, you will notice there are fewer and fewer young people. Especially HD. They will probably be one of the first to go. Just google HD bankruptcy and see just how many there are. Young people today are just not interested in motorcycles. They just have other interest. In fact, I just found this...

    In response to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study, which reveals that the average rider age has increased from 40 in 2001 to 49 in 2010, and the percentage of first-time motorcycle buyers has declined for a second consecutive year, Jim Gianatsis of FastDates.com wrote the following piece:

    This is a devastating statistic for the motorcycle industry. With the median age of motorcycle buyers (and hence riders) going up by one year of age, in each of the last nine years.

    That essentially means no young new riders are coming into the sport, and sales are dropping at a devastating rate of 5-10% per year, no matter what the economy does to improve.

    If this trend continues, in 10-20 years when the current median rider age of 49 years old reaches 60-70 years old, and riders die off/stopping buying motorcycles, there will be effectively no new motorcycles sold in America.

    We better enjoy them while we have the chance!
    #1
  2. pcwirepro

    pcwirepro Aspiring Adventurer

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    I disagree. While motorcycle sales may be on the decline at the moment, with rising fuel costs and increased congestion on the roadways they're bound to make a comeback. If you look at countries with extremely dense populations, which is where we are heading, they all have high numbers of motorized two-wheeled transportation. As to the HD debate... they have always had a cyclical following with the young crowd falling in and out of love with the brand. Several years ago when credit was easy you couldn't throw a rock in a four-way intersection w/o hitting one. I think the banks may have taken a few back lately. It's the older crowd that's buying because they're the ones with CASH. Not to mention the high price tag and impracticality of the HD platform. Not that I wouldn't love to have one. That's just a lot of money to throw down on a machine that doesn't seem to do any one thing well.
    #2
  3. HelmetHead Cycle

    HelmetHead Cycle Been here awhile

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    I can only hope you're right.
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  4. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

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    look at harley davidson's (HOG) latest quarter results?
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  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    With plummeting fuel prices you might be right. Down to $3.35 a gallon. It really needs to be about $6.50 a gallon to get people to ride motorcycles, plus we could get a really good caste system going.
    #5
  6. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    :topes

    The HD dealerships that have failed were do to bad management and piss poor business decisions. You say: " Just google HD bankruptcy and see just how many there are."

    If you want a clear picture compare that to the number of dealerships of other makes that have gone under. HD dealers that have folded are a small percentage when looked at that way... Especially when compared to the market share they hold. Yet even with that, the industry is solid.

    The main reason that fewer young people are riding is the eco-fascists that work diligently to close riding areas. Kids used to grow up on bikes. Closures have made that practice more difficult to impossible.

    Even with that, the industry is strong and will continue to grow. It is in no way "DOOMED"

    Find a good dealer near you and support them. :deal

    Only Poseurs and Racers look at it as a Sport. Which are you?



    ^^^ This ^^^
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  7. Mr_Gone

    Mr_Gone The Lejund!

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    +1
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  8. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    The United States is hardly the only country where motorcycles are sold.


    Further, motorcycles last a lot longer than they used to, so there are many more good-quality used bikes to be had. Obviously, this will eat into new bike sales.


    I'm not seeing a problem, other than the OP referring to motorcycling as a "sport".
    #8
  9. Andrew011

    Andrew011 Tourist

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    Motorcycles are too expensive compared to cars (usability/price ratio). I guess that is why younger people prefer cars, more practical value for the money.
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  10. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    there are plenty of new young riders, right now they are just being outpaced by older middle-age crisis buyers. In the past few years, this has increased the median age of riders, now that the baby boomers are passing middle age, the number of middle age first time buyers is dropping, thngs are just getting back to normal

    motorcycles will not go away any quicker than the automobile
    #10
  11. TexaNate

    TexaNate Been here awhile

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    Quoted for truth.

    There are already a number of bikes that are viable to be sold in Europe but don't make it to the American market. This reflects differing cultural tastes. These tastes could vary across time as well as they vary across geography, with the end result being the same: Everyone gets what they want.

    Car sales will also decline as cars become more durable - this doesn't make the car industry "doomed". As cars last longer and are made with higher quality standards, their increase in price slightly outpaces inflation. Same thing with motorcycles. Put simply, manufacturers will get just as much money out of you, even if they sell you fewer vehicles (most of which will last longer than before).

    More bright side: The ADV class of motorcycles has really blossomed over the last ten or twenty years. For as long as there is a demand for motorcycles, there will be a market. New models are introduced all the time and the only reason why a manufacturer would retire a model is if there is little demand.
    #11
  12. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I blame it entirely on the cost of buying a new motorcycle these days. They are getting way too expensive. Younger people don't have the income to buy these things anymore.
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  13. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    There might be fewer kids on licensed motorcycles but there are about a billion of them zooming around on scooters now. How many of those young people will end up as life long motorcyclists?

    Hopefully Honda and Kawasaki can put some of those scooter kids on motorcycles with the half decent price point 250's they offer now.
    #13
  14. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    I think the industry isn't doing too badly, all things considered.

    With the economy as it currently standards, motorcycles, which are for the overwhelming majority of riders, in the western world at least, luxury "toys" and hence one of the first things to cut back on:
    High cost,
    High depreciation,
    Ongoing cost (maintenance & insurance costs),
    unnecessary (they're for fun)
    redundant (most riders have a car/truck/van that is more practical, that they will keep instead if they can only afford one)
    All adds up to something you don't buy, or at least put off buying them. Take me; two years ago I had three bikes, now I'm down to one and I'm putting off buying a second until I've moved house.

    The technology continues to improve year on year, bikes get cheaper*, protective kit comes on in leaps and bounds.

    It seems strange and sad to me that kids aren't interested in bikes the way they once were; kids 8<= will still wave and give the thumbs up from cars as you pass. By the time they get into their teens, however, a lot of them have forgotten bikes and have posters of cars and (in the UK at least) footballers instead. Bike racers used to (rightly) be seen as heroes by kids, now they're irrelevant to them.

    We're seeing an interesting shift in the type of bikes people are buying too. Sportsbikes, once the most popular segment are seeing a sharp decline in popularity. People are going for more practical bikes as performance has reached a point where it's largely irrelevant apart from to the top couple of percent riders. Even offroad, it seems more "trail-oriented" and DS bikes are becoming popular again as people realise that, as capable as they are, full-on race dirt bikes aren't that fun/practical for bimbling along green lanes at 30mph. It's a bit like the recent shift from sportsbikes on the road catching up with the dirt world.

    If the industry dies out with the ageing riding population, does it really matter? Even if they stopped making bikes tomorrow, there'd be enough bikes around that I could have one for as long as I was able to ride. As much as I'd like the next generation to take up the mantle, does it really matter (to me) if they don't? So long as existing riders are "grandfathered" and the Draconian ban on motorcycles as a means of transport on the public road doesn't come in until after I'm dead, I'm happy. Most kids these days are too soft to do motorcycling properly anyway.
    :lol3

    *Relative to the average annual earning, once adjusted for inflation, IE they become "more affordable".
    #14
  15. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    If they stopped making bikes tomorrow, the exisiting bikes would become more valuable, not cheaper

    look at what is happening to the price of assault weapons
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  16. HONKR

    HONKR Been here awhile

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    With everyone constantly having a phone in their hand I see it as simple as this, can't phuck with my phone while on a motorcycle! People now are SERIOUSLY addicted to cell phones!
    #16
  17. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    Rose-colored glasses and chicken little syndrome, seriously.

    The US is a weird market - for many, motorbikes are toys. During an economic downturn, people purchase fewer toys (especially brand new ones). Plenty of dealers are surviving, even making a profit.

    We'll all be dead or disabled before there is a serious lack of two-wheeled transportation.

    May as well complain about music, how short skirts have become, and kids playing on your lawn while you're at it. Times change, but most things remain the same. The inability for most people to see farther out than 5 years just makes short term wobbles feel like epochal trends.
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  18. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    The dealers I see surviving here are the ones that don't mind working with used bikes, have a decent service department, have a decent selection of aftermarket stuff on the floor and, most importantly, don't feature surly old bastards or clueless kids working the parts and accessories counter.
    #18
  19. klebs01

    klebs01 Been here awhile

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    Three things to consider when talking about the aging population of motorcyclist:

    1) The mean age of the whole US population is increasing;

    2) The poor economy has disproportionately affected young male, the main target for motorcycle purchases;

    3) The poor economy and lending standards reviews have made credit much more difficult to find for young adults and those with marginal credit histories, which comprise a sizable portion of motorcycle purchasers.
    #19
  20. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    You like "hobby" better?

    In the U.S. it is seldom "transportation". Dirt riding is definitely a "sport". There are "sportbikes" just as there are "sportscars", I don't have a problem with it.
    #20