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Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Motorcycles

Throttle Roll Street Party hipsters buying

The problems of the motorcycle industry cannot be limited to one particular cause. As is almost always the case, there are multiple reasons why the industry is struggling— as you can see from the infographic below. However, there’s no doubt that one of the major contributors to the current issues of the industry are due (at least in some part) to the fact that the millennial generation don’t seem that interested in motorcycles.

It’s worth wondering why this may be. The most obvious reason is the simplest, and also likely to be the truest: millennials have less money available to them than other generations had at the same point in life, meaning that motorcycles are a luxury that few can afford.

Other possible causes include increasing urbanisation, which means that more and more millennials will rely on public transport rather than any kind of vehicle. There is also the fact that more millennials will be aware of the dangers of motorcycle riding due to public information campaigns, which may make them more wary of both riding and buying bikes.

All of these causes are contributing to the somewhat fragile state of the motorcycle industry. If this concerns you, then read on to learn more about the plans to fight back and increase motorcycle popularity in the future…

Infographic Design by  SoloMotoParts

(Contributed post)

  1. Really why should us older riders either care or try and bring anybody in? I brought my son up from age 5 literally on bikes He has no wish to ride And thats fine with me I love my motorcycles but feel no obligation to do the manufacturers work for them. All they have ever done for me is fleece me on spares at every opportunity

    1. Pete, I don’t know how much longer you intend to ride motorcycles, but if motorcycling declines things will start to disappear. Motorcycle businesses will close and there will be less choice in bikes, riding gear and accessories. Less volume in sales will make everything (including spares) more expensive, and some things will become unavailable. Stocks of parts will be reduced and we will have to wait for them to come in from overseas. Businesses that survive may have to cut back on staff and then you will complain about poor customer service. Maybe motorcycling websites, like this one, will disappear and you will look for magazines instead only to find that they also are gone.

      1. My [youngest} motorcycle is 20 years old the oldest 50 3 in all. All registered and ridden My parts already come from overseas..Timing belt over $200 dealer here $35 0n the net Many dealers consider bikes over 10 years old obsolete and wont work on them and it is already hard to get parts for any bike that age Workshop ..I do my own between a manual and youtube no problems…When i go to a shop I always choose an independent..not a dealer..They are happy to bleat about how bad things are but not to put their hands in their pockets and do some lobbying

  2. We know that young people are very image conscious, so what sort of image are we projecting? The ugly, dirty, ‘outlaw biker look’ is not appealing to the younger generations. There is no need to dress up in the outlaw biker costume to ride a motorcycle. Retro motorcycles are designed to appeal to older riders. Most young people prefer things that look ultra modern. Cruisers generally look very old, and are part of the outlaw biker look. Perhaps if we tried to look more modern and stylish younger people would think motorcycling is more desirable. I don’t have the answers. I’m just offering something to think about.

  3. The authorities have always demonised motor cyclists and through every agency used everything at their disposal to aid us to extinction. Not just anti biker laws and Armco railing all the way to cheese cutters. Their inability to provide safe road surfaces continues to endanger the lives of all road users. Other benefits to them arise from the excuse to lower speed limits to raise more revenue and to post so many signs that to watch them all would provide lethal distraction.
    Young people are smart enough to not want to put themselves at risk , both from bankrupt government and extremley dangerous road conditions.
    They used to claim fine revenue would be used to repair road ways. Maybe in the cities but out of town shows little evidence of this. With the exception of the low speed super highways.

  4. They are not buying new bikes, & good on them! They are buying old junkers & getting their hands dirty & they are buying cheaper second low klm bikes & making them their own.
    I can assure you, they are riding, just not a new bike sales statistic…

  5. The motorcycle industry is little different from the wider consumer car automotive industry. It has similar characteristics. There is a simple reason for falling sales – existing and potential customers don’t want what they’re selling. Consumer car companies innovate and produce features that people recognise as desirable – enhanced safety, ease of control, integrated riding aids.

    Motorcycle safety has been improved with ABS, traction control and other technologies borrowed from the car industry but where is the enhanced impact protection, crash survivability, lane alerts, etc. There are more cars on the roads and the probability of an undesirable interaction increases. Ask any non-motorcycle rider for the No. 1 reason they don’t ride. I’d suggest that they will say; “It’s not safe.” It’s a pretty big hurdle to overcome and needs some really innovative thinking.

    Retro bikes are another issue. They appeal to a very niche market. I’m sure that there have been many studies done but in the end, it’s the same as the car industry. The percentage of riders attracted to a retro looking and riding bike is going to be similar to those who want something that looks like a Mustang or Camaro. Pretty small and definitely not mainstream. Harley’s? Probably dinosaurs that will relatively soon be extinct.

    The motorcycle industry keeps looking to a nostalgic past that simply won’t exist in the future. The innovation that needs to occur is to find a place for motorcycles in the future that is likely to be significantly different to today. Increasing urbanisation, traffic densities and cheaper, safer cars are all compelling reasons NOT to buy a motorcycle in the future. Those that can indulge the possession of a weekend machine are not the group of consumers that will sustain a mainstream industry.

    Adapt, find a place in the future, or cease to exist other than as a small, niche market.

  6. Statistically there are more motorcycles on the road now than ever before. Also, I notice many indepedant female riders on the road every day. Why the falling sales? Probably because the baby boomers indulged the market at its peak quality and manufacturing performance, leaving us millenials with a sufficient quality used bike market. The modern car industry pegs it’s sales on techy innovations that increase safety, fuel economy, and convenience (like lazy self parking). Many of those factors do not interest or apply to the conservative motorcycle rider. Historically the motorcycle manufacturing industry is immune to built in obsolescence, and many motorcycles manufactured up to today still use the same parts and manuals as their predessors from the 1970’s. Why arn’t millenials buying motorcycles? Well, they are. Just not from slick showroom salesmen. They’re buying them from the baby boomer generation that begged the industry to produce bikes that last, instead of supporting the common throw-away attitudes of the modern sales industry. Take Peter Stevens for example. Their policy prohibits their mechanics from working on my bike because as a 32 year old bike it’s “too old”. Honda still have available all the parts I need which as a stockist they will sell to me over the counter, but they can’t install them or make repairs. But ironically if I were to purchase a bike from their store, they’d happily take my old one as a trade in, comandeering the used vehicle market not unlike how the major car companies do. Millenials not purchasing new bikes shouldn’t be seem as a problem, it should be regarded as a warning to the sales industry: Trend doesn’t always supersede tradition.

  7. Firstly, Millennials are lazy and its only going to get worse. They don’t need to go anywhere, the internet brings everything to them. If they do need to get off their ass, an Uber does it for them. Most importantly, Millennials are risk adverse. They have been raised in cotton wool by single mothers who make them this way.

    1. This generation grew up playing computer games . They didn’t go outside & ride there bmx bikes like the previous generation. You need to find a way to make it appealing. A whole generation that chooses not to own anything. Where everything can be delivered.

      1. No, WRONG Boomer. I’m 50+ years old and I’m going to TELL you what is wrong – why Millennials don’t ride motorcycles.

        1) No money. Thanks to the high costs of living versus the low pay you (older) people are ‘graciously’ providing to your workers (so you can keep more for yourselves), a Millennial, paying $1200 to $3300 a month in rent, just doesn’t have extra for luxuries.

        2) Public transport. Because those Millennials moved to large cities to (hopefully) get a job that pays more than $10/hour after getting that higher education (that you insist on requiring on that resume, even for dead-simple entry-level jobs), they have access to public transportation. Read: personal transportation is a luxury, not a requirement.

        3) MARKETING. This is a BIG one. “Millennials are lazy and don’t want to ride!” WHY SHOULD THEY WANT TO RIDE??! For the past 20 years all the motorcycle industry has been selling, all that they have been pushing (on to you old grumps), is LARGE, HEAVY, FAST, EXPENSIVE motorcycles. 33-inch seat height literbike ADV’s! Super tourers! $25,000 hypersports! Luxury European brands! 160+ horsepower rockets!

        WHY would a Millennial, whilst growing up, CARE? If they even BOTHERED to pick up a motorcycle magazine from the store shelves, while they were a teenager, did they see anything that they could ASPIRE TO when they finally came of age? ‘Wow, when I grow up I can buy that $12,000 R1! Or maybe that $16,000 Ducati 1198!’


        The motorcycle industry was falling all over itself to sell to the rich wannabe rebel weekend biker crowd. $15K+ Harleys. BMW GS’s. Ducati supersports. All big, all expensive, all UNAFFORDABLE and UNINSURABLE for anybody less than 40+ years old.

        So teenagers? Why should they pay attention to an industry that didn’t pay attention to THEM?

        Almost no sexy, interesting beginner’s bikes. Heck, the industry was starting to kill off the 600cc sports by then, never you mind something more accessible in the 300-600cc range.

        tl;dr So, who killed off the motorcycle industry. YOU DID.

          1. absolutely well said!!!! couldn’t agree more…………………

            All the negative BS being spewed above about Lazy generations is exactly the things YOUR fathers and grand fathers said about you – as they rolled their eyes in despair and complained endlessly about how lazy you were and that you didnt know how good you had it. Wake-up people – you’ve become your grumpy older counterparts.
            BTW – I’m 70 years old………….who thankfully and hopefully will die with an open mind. LOL!!!

  8. Below is a list of causes that I think have contributed to a decease in the sales of motorcycles ( I live in Queensland):

    1. new license requirements to ride a bike are costly – compulsory training – LAMS only for 2 years – I am a newcomer to motorcycle riding and spent almost $1,500.00 in 3 days of prerequisite rider training two private training days and then there was the license test.

    2. Riding gear – helmet, jacket, boots, pants etc., $800-$1000.

    3. A stock bike will need accessories – USB charger, extra lights, mirror extenders maybe, panniers holders maybe engine and tank guards etc – Say $700.00+ estimate.

    4. Insurance both for motorcycle and consider extra health insurance.

    5. Higher risk of serious injuries – possible longer days off work or sue up all sick leave.

    6. Repairs and servicing.

    You can buy a small new car these days and still be in front.

    If I had my time over again and took time out to have a lond hard look at why to buy a motorcycle only to ride on weekends and or sunny days (not a night) I would reconsider my options.

  9. The dealer system in Australia doesn’t seemed to have moved on from the 70’s. 90% of dealers have no active social media engagement, if you click on the social media on their home pages the links are dead, years out of date or half-hearted at best. This takes skill, effort, time and money not just a sales guy with a Facebook account.

    Why would any millennial want to walk in to a dealer and negotiate a sale the old fashioned way? They are so used to click and collect. The industry could also do more for novice riders being able to experience different machines. It’s very intimidating to go for a test ride if all you have is your L’s and 2 days of training. Honda comes closest with their LAM’s test days. They also offered an introductory 1 hour lesson.

    The industry needs to spend a lot more time,money and co-operation getting new riders over those first hurdles.

  10. Cheaper bikes from China could be the answer in my opinion – it will give the brands we are familiar with a kick up the backside in terms of pricing

    1. Unfortunately, you CANNOT compare the Chinese brands to the Japanese brands with regards to build quality, reliability and safety… If you want something that falls into that category…then be prepared to pay the price… If not…then buy Chinese…!!!

  11. Its very nice to read such great things on this page but I was checking if I can find something good guide for buying toddler scooter.

  12. I myself just started riding a motorcycle. I am 28 years old. I got one of the cheapest bikes you could find. What stops me from buying a motorcycle. Is the insurance cost to finance a new one is way to high. To get a 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 650 financed. It would cost me 513 a month just in insurance alone. I don’t have 8 or 5 thousand to just drop on a motorcycle.

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