In a somewhat surprising turn of events, offroad motorcycles and dual sport bikes have been selling like mad in the US, despite grim industry predictions.

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has issued sales numbers for the first half of 2020, and street-legal motorcycle sales are down, as expected. According to the MIC, on-highway motorcycle sales dropped 9.6 percent over Q1-Q2 in 2020. That’s no shock, and frankly, it’s probably far better than many insiders had feared.

However, there was considerable growth in offroad-capable motorcycles. According to the MIC, off-highway bikes (defined as “dirt bikes, trail bikes, competition motorcycles, and other motorized two-wheelers that cannot be used on public roads“) saw a 50.3 per cent boost in sales for 2020, when compared to the first-half sales of 2019. Continuing the trend, dual-purpose motorcycles (“street legal and are also designed to be used on off-road trails“) saw first-half sales grow 20.9 percent year-over-year, when compared to 2020.

Scooter sales also rose in the first six months of 2020, up 4.1 percent over the same time period the previous year.

Add it all up, and the US has actually seen total motorcycle sales numbers grow in the first half of 2020. Overall, factoring in the slump in street bike sales and growth for scooters, dirt bikes and dual sports, the US sales are up 6.4 per cent when compared to the first half of 2019.

Although Canadian sales numbers have proved more difficult to find, the word on the street is that Canucks are basically doing the same as Americans: buying lots and lots of dirt bikes, while moving away from street bikes.

Individually, some manufacturers are hurting worse than others. Obviously, companies that focus only on street-legal models are in a grim position right now, while companies with a broad lineup, especially a lineup with affordable dual-sport and offroad machines, are in a much better position to take people’s COVID-19 bailout money.

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