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Industry Insider: The Win-Win of Today’s Motorcycle Market

A side view of a model riding a Zero Motorcycle

If you’ve been tinkering about our website in the past few weeks, you’ve seen the recent news on magnesium shortages, as well as the low-down on why we haven’t caught up with the chip shortages affecting both the motorcycle and automotive industry. 

So how does this affect the good machines of the motorcycle industry proper? 

Here at the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoor Expo, the effects were already felt- due partially to the huge turnout of excited crowds after such a long year of lockdowns and also to the tight supply of available bikes. 

2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Expo

We sent our good man Richard Liu into this year’s IMS, where he experienced the whirlwind of enthusiasm first-hand. 

“Pretty much all of the demo slots were full for the day by the time I got there, as it was based on first come, first serve,” Liu writes. 

“Talking to KTM, their slots filled up within 30 minutes of gate opening—kind of like the Star Wars ride at Disneyland.”

A view of a girl trying out a motorcycle at the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoor Expo

AutoWeek also makes mention of the tight supply of bikes available; business is ‘good….too good’, with people starting to wonder what the used market will look like once supply catches up with demand for new motorcycles. 

“What remains to be seen about that COVID bump is, ‘Will those riders continue to ride?’ Or are we going to see a lot of used product come onto the market?” asks Progressive IMS Outdoors’ Harris. 

“And then what does that mean to the industry when you have that much-used product?”

A view of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle waiting in the bowels of a warehouse for its forever home    

“Right now, you know, dealers are still telling us they don’t have any inventory. And it’s both vehicles and aftermarket products. They’re having trouble getting parts, which affects their repair business.”

“So it’s a catch 22, right? ‘Yay, we’re sold out,’ ‘yay, people are buying motorcycles’… but also, ‘Boo, we’re sold out. Because people are coming in and they want to buy new bikes, and there’s no new bikes to be had.’”

A view of an empty tryout area at the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoor Expo

“What I’ve heard from different brands is they feel like there is light at the end of that tunnel, but that light’s probably not going to shine brightly until the third and fourth quarter of ‘22. There’s still going to be product shortages into Q1 and Q2 of 2022. And I think that’ll vary by brand. And vary, you know, for all industries. I think we’re not unique.”

“So I think the big question mark for this industry is, are all those new riders that bought all those new motorcycles going to stick it out for the long haul?”

2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Expo

When asking members of the other attending brands – KTM, Honda, Triumph, they all appear to agree with Harris.

“We’ve strapped and scraped and got every motorcycle we could get our hands on…[and] even though we’re out of them, we’ve still sold more motorcycles than we’ve ever sold in our lives. It’s just been amazing,” comments KTM’s Mark Hyde.

“Dealers have been pretty much selling most of the inventory they have or can get,” adds Colin Harris of Honda Powersports in the report. 

“But at the same time, there’s been supply chain slowdowns too, which has impacted a little bit in us getting product back to the dealers, but it has been flowing steadily to them…overall it has been a really good impact.”

2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Expo

“There seems to be a bit of a resurgence in the entry-level models, which is fantastic,” says Aled Morgan of Triumph.

“There’s so many more women riders coming into this sport, which it was crying out for, which is what we need and what we want to encourage. But yeah, everything is trending steadily and really well.”

“Obviously, we hope the new riders stay,” finishes Honda’s Harris. 

“We feel that once you get into riding you get the bite a little bit, right? You enjoy it. You realize, ‘Man, this is a blast. This is really fun.’ So we think that that’ll continue. I think maybe you might get a couple of people who step out of the industry, maybe at some point, but I think for the most part, we’ll still see some continuation of that.”

A view of the demos flag at the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Expo

“The more important question is, ‘How is the industry, specifically the OEMs, going to support all the new and returning riders?” asks Rubymoto’s Eric Waterfall. 

“Last year was one of the biggest years ever in motorsport in terms of sales of hard goods, new bikes, and accessories. So there’s a lot of cash flowing in the industry. And it’s gonna be interesting to see if brands reinvest that into rider support, and events and those types of things, or if they’re gonna sit on that cash and squirrel it away for a rainy day.”

A view of an inflatable mascot for the 2021 Progressive IMS Outdoors Expo

Let us know what you think by dropping a comment below – here at wBW, we strive for the utmost in quality news, carefully curated to benefit your reading experience, and we take pride in what we do, so we love hearing from you. 

Be sure also to check out other news happening in the industry proper, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.