The Motorcycle Industry Council is reporting that in 2018 more US households than ever owned one or more motorcycles. The last full survey of this kind was conducted in 2014, and in the four years since, ownership has gone from 6.94 percent to 8.02 percent, an increase of more than 1.5 million homes.
MIC President and CEO Tim Buche offered this comment in the organization’s release:
“The household penetration numbers have always been among the most important figures to us. We’re certainly happy to see more homes that have a motorcycle. Riders who talk about motorcycling to friends and neighbors help to inspire people who don’t yet ride.”
Other measures rose as well, including a 2.5 million bike increase in motorcycle ownership. The previous record for motorcycle ownership was 11,704,500 in 2009 and in 2018 the total number was 13,158,100.
The number of motorcycles actually in use went up too. In 2009, when the previous record was recorded, the figure was 11,015,105 and in 2018 MIC reports 12,321,000.
One metric declined slightly however—the percentage of motorcycles in running order. In 2018, 93 percent of motorcycles were operable while in 2014 the number was 96.1 percent. This has to do in part with the higher levels of used motorcycles being purchased. Jim Woodruff, Secretary/Treasurer of the MIC Board of Directors and COO of National Powersport Auctions, explains:
"The annual pre-owned market is actually three times larger than the new market. Used bikes appeal to many riders because there are so many options in terms of price and style.
"As used units become a larger part of the overall motorcycle population, it's not surprising to see a slight decrease in the percentage of operating units. Our research shows that the average age of a pre-owned motorcycle sold in the US is approximately eight years old. Plus, vintage bikes are on trend now and many riders are keeping non-runners as part of their collection."
Any signs of an expanding motorcycle industry are a good thing in our book, and these numbers are perhaps proof that some of the trends of the past few years are moving the needle in the right direction.