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Thrills drive motorcycle sales

Bike ridersIs it any wonder motorcycles are experiencing the biggest growth of any automotive sector when four-wheelers are becoming such a mamby-pamby lot?
Motorcycle registrations in Australia increased 31.2% in the past five years, while passenger vehicles increased about a third of that and the new-car market has stalled after the former government fiddled with the FBT.
The biking boom could have something to do with cheaper transportation, easier parking, lower running costs or the ease of maneuvering through traffic congestion.
However, I believe it’s mainly because many motorists are disenchanted and are simply looking for thrills that modern cars don’t supply any more.
With some 90% of new vehicles being automatics, is it any wonder motorists are finding their automotive kicks on two wheels?
While SUVs are the fastest-growing passenger segment at 9.5% so far this year, most of that growth is among the small “shopping trolley” brigade.
A lot of these so-called “soft-roaders” never see grass, let alone dirt, many of them now come in two-wheel-drive and their high clearance is only ever used by soccer mums to hurdle for shopping centre carpark speed bumps.
Meanwhile adventure bikes are going nuts as wannabe Charleys and Ewans head for the dirt to get lost and filthy and risk injury.
Interestingly, sales of campervans are also doing well, up 20.8%. In my experience, many of these campervanners and caravanners have a bike or scooter inside or on the back or have moved from bikes to vans when the bike became too much for them. At least they’re still out there, doing it.
Back in the car world, it seems everyone is getting into small-capacity cars and no one is buying V8s.
Meanwhile, the motorcycle cruiser segment of the market, dominated by heavy American iron with big-assed V-twin donks are selling their piston rings off.
Kawasaki Ninja 300In an apparent similarity, the majority of top-10-selling new cars are light and small and the top-10 bikes are dominated by learner bikes. However, the top-selling bike is a race-replica Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Motorists most likely to be sick of economic grocery-troller four-wheel transport are males aged over 41. They have shown the biggest growth in licensing in the past five years, up some 10%.
But it’s not just men disenchanted with modern motoring.  Licensing rates for women aged over 41 have risen 17% from 2011-13.
It’s a great era to be on two wheels.