Why is the motorcycle industry in a rut? I understand that consumer demographics are changing as baby boomers are aging and aren’t really buying motorcycles anymore. Gen-Xers? Well, as the last of the analog generations, you guys have basically been passed over in light of rapid advances in technology over the last 20 years – consider yourselves lucky. Which leaves a large part of the burden to us millennials bailing our asses out.

Sure, everyone likes to bash millennials – it’s easy. We’ve all heard the punchlines: We’re entitled, spoiled and hopelessly addicted to our smartphones. We’re lazy, easily offended, can’t find jobs and live in our parents’ basements – ha! The reality of the current situation though, is that millennials have the purchasing power to turn our industry around, which is why so many manufacturers are investing millions of dollars to design and engineer motorcycles that should (and hopefully will) appeal to younger and/or prospective riders. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic time to be a budding motorcyclist.

Lightweight ADV motocycle

Look at those three bikes sitting there in the sun, somewhere up in the mountains. Doesn’t that look fun?

Just look at the current offerings from any of the Big Four, and even KTM for that matter. There’s an invasion of sub-500cc models storming our shores. From standards, to sportbikes to ADVs, there are numerous options in every category, and for the most part, they’re all very reasonably priced – just ask Kevin how he feels about the 390 Duke. Additionally, Royal Enfield has based its entire business model around the 250-750cc middleweight segment in an effort to get more people on low-cost, accessible bikes.

2017 Lightweight ADV Shootout

2017 KTM 390 Duke Review

But millennials suffer from exorbitant amounts of student debt, more than any previous generation. Well, you could certainly fool me by the amount of 20-somethings racking up $50+ tabs at the local bar or club each Friday and Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against drinking – I bartended for four years – but you can’t tell me there aren’t better ways to spend your money. Especially since financing a new bike can potentially cost someone as little as a hundred bucks a month, or less!

KTM 390 Duke motorcycle

Beginner bike or not, the 390 Duke is one good looking machine. And for only $5,299? C’mon now…

In one shape or another, I think we can all agree that motorcycling enrichens our lives – more so than any hangover ever will, but I digress. The bottom line is, we all need to help grow our sport in one way or another so we can continue to enjoy it. Scot Harden, a Baja off-road racing legend and industry executive, has proposed a number of different methods to pique potential riders’ interests in the AMA article below.

So, encourage a friend / co-worker / family member / neighbor / person sitting next to you at the bar (haha) to give motorcycling a shot… pun intended. Because a flourishing motorcycling industry is something we can all benefit from, regardless of our riding abilities or preferred disciplines.

Now, that’s something we can all raise a glass to. Cheers!

Related:
Support Your Local Racetracks
Beginner-ish Sportbike Shootout

Begin AMA Article:


Advocating For Motorcycling’s Future

Saving Our Passion, One New Rider At A Time

The news isn’t good. The motorcycle business is in a rut.

New motorcycle sales are down. The industry is suffering at almost every level. The current demographic is aging. We aren’t attracting new blood to the sport like we used to and, in many areas of popular culture and modern life, we are becoming less relevant.

You might ask, “So what does it matter to me? Why should I care? I still ride and enjoy it.”

That’s understandable. After all, most motorcyclists are individualists. Given the current state of technology and great new OEM product offerings—as well as the wide range of racing activities going on around the world and the competition in the marketplace competing for your consumer dollars — there’s probably never been a better time to be a motorcycling enthusiast. It’s supply and demand, and with less demand and more supply, the consumers have the edge.

So why, then, should you care if the industry is experiencing a downturn?

Here’s why: The future of motorcycling depends on numbers.

Without new buyers, there is no reason for OEMs to continue to sink millions of dollars into research and development to build better motorcycles.

Without new riders—and new members—our voice through organizations like the AMA diminishes and loses importance, reducing our ability to affect legislative issues and address regulatory threats to our sport. OEM marketing programs, owner’s groups, clubs and racing become less relevant.

Most importantly, we have fewer friends to share the open road and trail with. At the end of the day, what makes our sport so great is having fellow motorcycle enthusiasts to share the experience with. Most of my friends are motorcyclists, each one a cherished treasure and blessing because—as motorcyclists—we are unique, special people who add a lot to each other’s lives.

Businesses and organizations whose existence depends on the growth of motorcycling understand this and are making efforts to promote motorcycling. Yes, we have issues attracting young people to recreational riding and cost is a barrier to entry, as is image. So, manufacturers are undertaking programs and campaigns to attract new consumers, especially millennials.

This effort is bringing new, lower-cost, small-displacement models to market. From Harley Davidson’s initiative to bring two million new motorcyclists into the fold by 2020, to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Ride program, there are efforts to combat the trend. Great ideas all the way around.

But why stop there?

I suggest we take this personally and, as motorcycle enthusiasts, each of us should—and can—do more to inspire new riders. Who better to influence a non-motorcyclist’s perception of motorcycling than current motorcyclists?

I’m advocating for a grassroots evangelism on a one-to-one basis across the nation. It really won’t take much. All we need to do is share our passion with our non-motorcycling friends. Here are just a few things we can do as motorcyclists to turn people onto motorcycling and perhaps convince them to give it a try:

1. Share your passion with others. Expose non-motorcycle friends to the sport by inviting them to your house to catch the Sunday game on TV. Entertain in your garage. Use your motorcycle(s) as props to promote discussion about motorcycles. Let them touch, feel, even sit on your bike. I would argue that every motorcyclist started a love affair with motorcycling after first sitting on someone else’s bike.

2. Attend an event. Invite your non-motorcyclist friends to a motorcycle show, race or rally. Take time to explain what is going on, introduce them to your motorcycling friends, and share the experience with them like you would anyone else.

3. Take a friend for a ride. It doesn’t have to be all day. Take them to lunch or for coffee. Let them experience the fun and enjoyment of riding.

4. Teach someone how to ride. I know this raises all sorts of issues, but many enthusiasts—like myself—have enough property and small-displacement bikes to teach people how to ride off road. Get them over their initial fears. Show them it isn’t as complicated as it looks. Encourage them to take a rider-training course.

5. Invite your non-motorcycle friends for dinner and a movie. I suggest a motorcycle movie, such as “The World’s Fastest Indian,” the “Long Way Around,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “On Any Sunday” or “Take it to the Limit.” Anything to inspire them to want to give motorcycling a try.

6. Share the experience. Tell your co-workers about your latest motorcycle trip or adventure. Sure, they probably already know you’re a motorcyclist. But have you ever shared exactly what that means and how it enriches your life? This would work well in any other groups or associations you are already involved in.

7. Invite non-motorcycle friends to go camping with you and experience the outdoors. Find a place where you can all enjoy the surroundings and make sure you have your motorcycle available, as well. My first motorcycle riding experience took place on just such a trip.

8. Visit your local motorcycle dealer and invite your non-motorcycling buddy to tag along. Show off the great product offerings. Make the point that motorcycles exist in all shapes and sizes.

9. Target social media. Share pictures of yourself enjoying the sport. Share posts you come across that are inspiring and show just how much fun motorcycling is.

10. Reach out to millennials. For all you baby boomers out there, make an effort to reach out to your children’s friends and acquaintances. Show an interest in what they are doing. Ask them if they’ve ever thought of going riding. If you can, provide an opportunity for them to experience the sense of freedom, adventure and excitement that motorcycling offers.

These are just a few of the ways we, as enthusiasts, can have a positive impact on the sport and drive the next generation of enthusiasts forward.

It is going to take a collective effort of everyone involved in motorcycling to turn around the current trend—manufacturers, aftermarket, dealers, clubs, the AMA and, last, but not least, each of us, working one-to-one with non-motorcyclists.

We can get this done. Motorcyclists are passionate, life affirming people. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with that?

  • john phyyt

    Don’t know if this sort of evangelical outreach program works anymore. Invite a buddy to a motorcycle event and he/she will do 100 hrs of internet research on motorcycles ; get distracted ; then conclude that @hotchicks or equiv is whole lot more interesting.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    I SWEAR I’ve gone my part as best I can as an aging boomer. I’ve purchased 5 new bikes and 1 used since 2001; 4 of those since 2006, several in the teeth of the recession. I can’t do any more. Well, maybe I can begin modifications on the 3 bikes currently in my garage. Yeah, that’s the ticket – support the aftermarket! (meanwhile the millennials gotta start buying :))

  • hasty hughie

    This article talks about millennials. Has the author of this or any of these articles looked at what else millennials are buying or not buying and why. Maybe motorcycle dealerships should give every buyer a free phone with free upgrades for as long as you own the bike, co-op bikes, free 7/24 365 bike storage, cleaning and service, not to mention discount insurance, organized social events, charity rides, grand fondos, sponsor television shows about millennials, apps that connect riders to the experience, products that match the millennial experience and so on. Now some of these ideas are absurd, but these techniques describe how real marketing is working and succeeding . Now reread your article. What you are suggesting to promote is at best naive, at worst ……

    • SteveSweetz

      In case you didn’t notice, the latter half the article is a re-posting of an article put out by AMA, the American Motorcyclist Association. So criticize them I guess.

      http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Home/News-Story/advocating-for-motorcyclings-future

      • hasty hughie

        Ok, the second half is a repost, but this site seems to endorse it by reposting it. Maybe lessons can be learned from studying the horse back riding industry. No one uses horses for transportation anymore, but horses aren’t extinct either. So how has that industry adjusted. I don’t know all and everything about marketing, but what I read today seems more like the problem than the solution..just my one small opinion, no one needs to think it is worth more than that, the world is changing…. learn from it.

        • hasty hughie

          ps..only being a bit humorous mentioning horses, but could have used airplanes, watercraft and other similar industries, perhaps the future of motorcycles is just in the recreational market ….

          • Mad4TheCrest

            If car safety systems get good enough, it should make motorcycles safer as commuters and errand runners. If electronic nannys could just stop cars from turning left in front of bikes more than half the problem will be fixed.

          • Prakasit

            I long for the day all or most of the cars are smart. Meanwhile, I am not getting any younger so going to continue to ride despite objections of friends and family. May be I need to see a psychologist to figure out what is the basis for me wanting to ride.

        • Larry Kahn

          Not sure what it means but a lot of people have been trying to give their horses away because of the expense of ownership.

  • SteveSweetz

    After seeing a variation of this discussion in a few different places, reading comments, and thinking about my own experiences, I’d say the biggest barrier to getting people interested in riding is the (somewhat warranted) perception of danger and people not being willing to take that risk anymore.

    I’m in my 30s and without exception, the response I get from all of my similarly aged or younger friends when I try to get them interested in riding is, “No, it’s too dangerous.”

    I don’t know how you counter something like that. Motorcycling *is* more dangerous than say, watching Netflix or playing video games : There are so many other, “easier” ways to be entertained these days that it seems people just don’t have the motive to take up a risky hobby, despite the fact that I think it’s a lot more fulfilling than fluff entertainment – but that’s not something you can ever convince a person of, you have to experience it.

    Maybe the hard truth is just that motorcycling is going to become increasingly niche due to these irreversible societal trends and there’s really nothing we can do about it.

    That said, envy seems to be a pretty good motivator in current culture. You make filtering/lane splitting legal in 50 states and you’ll have people take up motorcycling just because they’re pissed at motorcycles getting to go to the front of the line 😉

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    • Gruf Rude

      “Somewhat warranted’? Last safety statistic I saw indicated you were 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than in a car/truck. Cell/infotainment distracted driving is more evident every time I leave the garage. I’m with Starmag; I won’t be doing any evangelizing .

      • SteveSweetz

        Careful with statistics. If I say lottery A gives you a 0.000001% chance of winning and lottery B gives you 0.000037% chance of winning. Yes lottery B does factually give you a 37 times greater chance of winning, but it’s not like a 0.000037% chance of winning is worth getting excited about, is it?

        Yes, motorcycles are unquestionably more dangerous than cars, but for the past couple years in the US there have been around 5000 motorcycle related fatalities per year. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find any data on how many motorcycle riders there are, but we know there are over 8 million registered motorcycles, so there are least several million riders out there, unless we all own 8+ bikes. So it’s not like motorcyclists are exactly dying off at an alarming rate, just a rate higher than car drivers.

        The 37 times statistic you’re citing is probably in relation to the fatalities per miles traveled. As of 2015, this number is actually down to around 29 times vs cars, and that number for motorcycles is specifically: 25.38 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled.

        So yeah, “somewhat warranted” because while motorcycling is certainly more dangerous than traveling by car, it’s still far from being anywhere close to a guaranteed death certificate. 37 (or 29 as the case may be) times a very small number is still a small number.

        • Michelle

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        • Mad4TheCrest

          What you say makes sense statistically, but I am not sure it’s entirely accurate, based on my personal experience. Over the past 15 years 3 people I knew had life-changing accidents and 3 died on motorcycles. In the same period no one I knew had bad injuries or died in cars. An isolated perspective possibly biased by the relatively aggressive group of riders I’ve known, but still quite a bit at odds with your statistical picture.

  • Matt O

    I’m 29. My reason for not buying new is that used bikes are a much better value and way cheaper to insure. I currently have about $7k of bike in my garage and pay $250 yearly on insurance. Sure, that could buy me a single brand new budget bike. Instead I bought smart and I bought a ’02 vfr800, very minor update but basically the same, an ’09 vstar 950, not even updated, literally identical to current model and a ’12 buddy 125, identical to current one. I’ll probably replace the vfr after next summer, maybe something more sporty, and naked, maybe an fz1 or z1000. Either way, it will be used. Would you rather have one new budget bike or a garage full of variety?

  • Starmag

    Boomers such as myself didn’t need to be “talked into” motorcycling. Talk one of my friend’s kids into motorcycling and then they get hurt or killed? No thanks. I don’t think evangelizing works anyway.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      You may have hit on a key problem. The best people to promote street riding to others are the same very experienced riders who know exactly how risky the activity has become. What a dilemma.

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    That Tim Hardin sure is a legend.

  • Old MOron

    I wonder if the real reason millennials won’t buy bikes is that you can’t operate a motorcycle and a smartphone at the same time.

    • badluckbill

      True! True! True! The only way you’d get a millennial on a bike is if it were piloted by Uber or Lyft. They don’t even want to get a driver’s license, a car, much less a motorcycle.

      Wait a minute….Maybe if they actually rode on a bike….

  • Despite the fact that the industry is going through crisis, with amount of new riders and sales not as expected, it is truly a great time to be a motorcyclist given the latest advancements in motorcycle technology. Enjoy while it lasts!

  • Chris Kallfelz

    “Personally, I think it’s a fantastic time to be a budding motorcyclist.”

    No truer words, great piece.

  • Travis Stanley

    Great topic.
    I agree that we have some really great MCs out now that also come with great value.
    I ride mostly for functional reasons. I bought a brand new 2013 DR650 to tour the lower 48 States in 2014. I put 22,000 miles on her from January to late October.
    Now her primary function is to absorb miles off my Cage for local commutes. So, if something happened to her, I would not replace her.
    Fuel is very cheap $2.09/gallon
    Money is tight. Unless you buy a left over 2014 NC700X, it’s a wash at best.
    Cagers are less aware than ever before.
    Cager are more prone to hitting and running due to money issues.
    There is actually a negative time savings on commuting if you go ATGATT.
    There is a negative stigma to riding thanks to SQUIDS who treat the road like the own race track.

    I think in the next 10 years we will see a Renaissance of riding thanks to frugal hybrid and electric MC. Currently they are way too sporty and expensive. This assumes there is an oil shortage and lane Splitting is legal in more States.

  • DickRuble

    Cry me a river. This drop in sales BS a non-issue.

    The US Population grew from 249 Million in 1990 to 326 Million in 2016. 31% increase.

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=9S89WuBb0JaPA_-hkcgJ&q=population+usa&oq=population+usa&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i7i30k1l7j0i7i10i30k1l3.15318.15318.0.15620.1.1.0.0.0.0.227.227.2-1.1.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.1.226….0.E4S0IZIugI4

    US motorcycles annual sales went from 303,000 in 1990 to 487,000 in 2016. 60% increase.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/183549/us-sales-of-motorcycles-since-1990/

    Conclusion: motorcycle sales outpaced population growth. And by mucho if you consider the motorcycle sales boom between 1998 and 2008, bikes which are mostly still in circulation (or garages).

    If you consider the number of bikes available (whether registered or not) the numbers will show that there are far more bikes per capita than there ever were in the USA.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You are right. But recently motorcycle sales have been dropping for HD and all Japanese marques while they have been rising for some European brands like Triumph, BMW and KTM. The main interest is in mid-sized, retro and adventure bikes. So maybe it would be more correct to say motorcycle sales are shifting. As far as millennials, times have changed and there are a lot more things to occupy people’s time than before. People seem to have become lazier, less active, more prone to sedentary lifestyles. On the other hand I see a lot of people bicycling, at least in this part of CA. It is almost a craze. The city where I live calls itself the endurance capital of the world. But as others have said, most non-motorcyclists consider motorcycles to be dangerous. We motorcyclists should enjoy our hobby and share it with those who are interested.

      • toomanycrayons

        “But as others have said, most non-motorcyclists consider motorcycles to be dangerous.”-Sayyed Bashir

        Isn’t it? Riding sure as hell focuses my attention. Tell the millennial demo your bike goes like a Porsche, but it falls over. Full face helmets are so they can find out whose teeth they…were. I wear armour because…

        • FreeDominion

          “Full face helmets are so they can find out whose teeth they…were.”
          This suggests you think full-face helmets provide no useful protection or purpose, other than preserving one’s teeth for the coroner. This is simply incorrect. Statistics indicate motorcyclists who are wearing a helmet during a crash are almost 40% less likely to be killed, and a whopping nearly 70% less likely to receive brain injury (IIHS 2016 statistics). Basically, without a helmet, you’re almost 70% more likely to become a walking, drooling, sad joke with an IQ slightly better than a vegetable. The difference between full face and half face helmets is, with a full face, you get to keep your entire face when you live on, rather than just half of it and looking like a sewn-together horror-movie failure for the rest of your life. Statistically, the most frequent, by percentage, impact zone on the head during a motorcycle crash, by far, is the lower face. I’ll keep my full-face helmet and my lower jaw, teeth and nose right where they are, thank you very much.

          • toomanycrayons

            ‘”Full face helmets are so they can find out whose teeth they…were.”

            This suggests you think full-face helmets provide no useful protection or purpose, other than preserving one’s teeth for the coroner.’-FreeDominion

            Nope. It clearly suggests I’m a satirist who is sarcastically ironic, thank you very much…

          • FreeDominion

            Obviously it does not clearly suggest that. If you have to explain it, you didn’t succeed at it.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Obviously it does not clearly suggest that. If you have to explain it, you didn’t succeed at it.”-FreeDominion

            It’s not at all clear your ongoing difficulties are down to me, thank very much. Perhaps if you take your full face off when you read it might help?

          • FreeDominion

            You are right, it is not at all clear, because I’m having no difficulties in the first place. You simply aren’t as witty, nor as good at writing as you apparently think. Your continued attempts at wit, in an attempt to goad me, are just as dull and meaningless as your previous statements. If I were wearing a full-face helmet while reading (which makes no sense to begin with), why would I need to take it off? They have see-through face shields. Maybe you don’t understand how wit, irony, sarcasm and satire work, but they do need to be based, at some level, in reality or they’re simply nonsense. If you were at all open to realizing that someone other than you is probably right about your ability, maybe you’d be able to improve your ability, but you aren’t, so you won’t. Actually, there’s no need to answer my previous question. I have better things to do. I’m sure you’ll post something you think is witty in reply, I just won’t be back to read it. Stay in school.

          • toomanycrayons

            “[!!!]”-FreeDominion

    • Y.A.

      Wow good post man.

      • DickRuble

        Thanks.

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  • Ellie Green

    The AMA should take this as a personal failure and a sign that they need new leadership. They have spent the last 30 years focused on MCs as a rural recreational vehicle while most US cities have passed prohibitively regressive laws to get them out of the places they are most needed. Go to any major city in Europe and tell me there isn’t a better way.

    Nobody is listening to them on the national level, so they need to seed local chapters to get beneficial ordinances passed. If it’s 5 miles to your train, maybe you get a discount on your park-and-ride for having a scooter. Lower tolls. Dedicated parking spots – or even just a law that lets MCs park in public hashed areas as long as they’re not on a sidewalk or obstructing traffic. Suing NY over the GD unconstitutional no-fault insurance exclusion. FFS

    This shit isn’t hard, but until a 20-something can get by in the city with an MC as their ONLY vehicle this trend isn’t going to change. It boggles my mind that with the awful state our infrastructure, congestion, and public transportation is in, most cities are trying to kick us out.

    And when you see one of them on their phone, chances are they are doing it so they don’t get fired, or haven’t seen their friends in five years because they’ve had to jump cities to find work. Very few people I know under 35 can afford a second vehicle that costs – with insurance – nearly as much or more than a car and serves little practical purpose. The ones that can are thinking about mortgage down payments, health insurance, or kids. The very lucky that are young enough not to be thinking about that yet just get a more expensive car.

    They reduce congestion. You can park seven of them instead of one SUV. They get great mileage. They’re safer for pedestrians. We need to be hammering these messages at cities. The younger generation is just practical. And these are practical machines. Tell someone you can get them to work for half what a yearly metrocard costs, for half the time as the subway, and it will get them to the beach during the summer too? Who wouldn’t say no?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Motorcycles have only two wheels and have to be balanced while you operate the clutch, gear shift lever, throttle, front brake and rear brake in the proper order. They have to be leaned over while turning and fall down if you are going too slow. You can get loose clothing caught in the chain or wheels or burn yourself on the hot exhaust. You have to be mechanically inclined to understand how it works. Cars and SUVs are safer and easier to drive. You just sit in it. No balancing required. You never fall over. Just turn the key and push the accelerator. You can bring your family and friends, groceries and gifts, potluck dinners and gardening supplies. You have air conditioning and heating, you don’t get wet in the rain. Nobody can steal things out of your car. Besides, some of the better bikes cost as much or more than cars. So motorcycles are inherently impractical (and dangerous) for most people. While on the road, motorcycles are in constant danger of being hit by a car or truck. One has to be genuinely interested in motorcycling to become a motorcyclist. And usually that happens at an early age by being introduced to a small dirt or street bike.

    • Y.A.

      This is very true. I actually got my first motorcycle in NYC because it + a bicycle were the easiest ways to get around. It definitely works in a city. However now that I’m in the country and I have a kid the risk is just not worth it. Especially after having done my first track day and learning how little of myself and my motorcycle I can use on the street.

      • Evelyn

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  • JMDGT

    If you have been riding since the late sixties it is obvious that the bikes of today are superior in every way compared to the bikes from even ten years ago. The number of different types and sizes offered is amazing. All of them have benefitted from the new electronic technology, space age alloys and modern rubber compounds to name just a few. Throw in a healthy amount of world class design and we are blessed with more choices than ever. We really do live in the best of times when it comes to motorcycling. I need another one. You can never have too many.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is correct that if the market is shrinking, there will be less investment in the technological innovation you love so much. Expanding the market is in the interest of all of us.

      • JMDGT

        There will always be enthusiasts improving upon motorcycles regardless of the volume of riders. There will always be money in it. Expanding markets almost always collapse back on themselves. Eventually. It is not a bad thing. Motorcycles will always be with us. That is the good news.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Your comment makes no sense. These are multi-billion dollar corporations spending millions of dollars developing new technology so they can be competitive in the market, not some enthusiasts tinkering in a garage. The only money in it is the money that comes from motorcycle sales. No sales = no money. Companies that don’t sell go out of business. If the U.S. market shrinks, companies will focus more on the developing countries where they can sell smaller motorcycles that don’t require as much technology.

          • JMDGT

            It is your comment that makes no sense. You seem to be confused by the idea of a steady market. Development dollars will still be available in a steady market even if it is static for exactly the reason you site. To be competitive. It does not have to be ever expanding. Enthusiasts are also employed by the manufacturers they are not exclusively independent garage tinkerers. A steady market is in many ways better than an expanding market. An expanding market does not necessarily encourage innovation. It can have the opposite effect. Merry Christmas Sayyed.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            No one is trying to expand the market. Everyone is trying to reverse the decline in sales. Steady markets exist only in dreams. They are always expanding or shrinking depending on circumstances which are always changing. If a market is shrinking, there will be a corresponding reduction in development dollars because companies don’t want to put more money into a losing proposition. They will instead invest in markets which are expanding and there is more opportunity to make money. Simple Economics 101 which you seem to have missed.

          • JMDGT

            Perhaps you should take an economics 101 class. It may a help you to understand what you obviously do not. I would also recommend some kind of critical thinking training but since you are unable to grasp simple market concepts it would be a waste of your time. Ride safe.

  • John B.

    Camping? Attend an event? Reach out to millennials? You’re really trying to ruin this for me.

  • Campi the Bat

    “You could certainly fool me by the amount of 20-somethings racking up $50+ tabs at the local bar or club each Friday and Saturday night. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against drinking… but you can’t tell me there aren’t better ways to spend your money.”

    This pennypincher shame-the-poor attitude towards poverty remains bull. Shaming low-income workers for splurging on a minor palliative joy now and then just papers over the economic trends explaining why they’re so poor in the first place. People economise and become deeply practical after long periods of enduring financial precarity, so even if they wanted (and could mathematically afford) a motorcycle they can’t justify such an impracticality.

    You want people under forty to buy more motorcycles? Raise the minimum wage. Re-establish the social safety net. Until people can feel the sunshine warmth of economic security on their face again, they’ll continue limiting their frivolities to things costing less than a day’s pay.

    • AndyMacHRC

      While I don’t disagree with your comments on enriching the lower/middle class, the article hardly has a “penny pinching shame the poor attitude towards poverty”. Nobody mentioned the poor or poverty. The writer just made the simple comparison that if you can afford to spend $50-$100 at a bar on a weekend that you could (possibly) afford a motorcycle. You accused him of “shaming low income workers on a minor palliative joy” except there again was no mention of “low-income” in the article nor was there any “shaming”. You helped him prove his point though – if drinking at the bar is an acceptable joy in your eyes – why then couldn’t the purchase of an “impractical” and “frivolous” motorcycle (with that same expenditure of money) not be accepeted as another man’s “minor palliative joy”?

  • Keith T Robinson

    love the stooges! not sure millenniums understand their relevance .

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Who?

  • AndyMacHRC

    Don’t underestimate the power of “word of a mouth” While there are plenty of technologies out there to promote and reach out to the massess – how many of us have tried a new Beer, or Restaurant on the suggestion of a friend? How many of us have been shown a new tool or cool piece of tech at a friend’s place and liked it enough to have gone out and bought it ourselves? I would say every commenter in this thread falls into one of those categories.

    As a physical therapist when discharging a satisfied customer I ask them: “If you enjoyed your experience do me a favor and tell a friend”.

    My clinic does all the “modern” outreach on Facebook/Social Media, we optimize our website for search engine efficiency, collect online reviews etc. This accounts for 60% of my new referrals, but a full 40% comes from people who’s neighbour/friend/family/coach/pastor/teammate recommended the clinic through word of mouth.

    Point is (and the point of the article) is its an easy thing to do to have that quick convo or ‘show and tell’ to potentially introduce new people to the sport. Literally just talking about something that you probably (if you’re anything like me) talk about too much anyway. Couldn’t be easier. Unfortunately it appears many of you can’t be bothered, or believe this strategy ineffective. As an example (Love em or Hate em) – look no further than the NRA to see the massive influence and effectiveness a relatively small group of enthusiasts can have if they’re well organized and engaged in the conversation.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      We talk to other motorcyclists because we share the same interests. Talking to someone who is not interested in motorcycles is like talking to a brick wall. Most people have no interest in motorcycles. The NRA is effective not because they talk to everyone about it, it is because most of its members have guns.

  • SRMark

    I ride by myself. I like to be alone. Don’t care to share my enthusiasm with others. But I think my overall enthusiasm speaks well for the sport. If I have to think about the health of the industry it deminishes my zeal. If a melllenial needs a fire lit under his/her ass I’m not your guy. But I will speak highly of my ride to any who will listen while I’m stopped for lunch. I recommend you be you. That’s genuine.

  • Sentinel

    Some really good ways to add to the appeal of riding have already been said here. I think the bottom line is positive incentives, and broad usability in design. Both of these areas have either been stagnant or have regressed in some ways.

    Lane-sharing/splitting is a big one. We now have enough statistical evidence to prove, that all things being equal, this practice “saves” lives. Unfortunately for all of us, these typical out of touch bureaucrats keep slapping every bill introduced to decriminalize it. They should all be held to account for the lives they’re costing, among other things. Decriminalizing it in the rest of the 49 should be a paramount objective. As we who ride know, it save lives, generally cuts down on traffic-congestion, and pollution. And then there’s the additional appeal of massive time saved commuting, the lowering of stress, and the unique joy that riding a motorcycle brings. These are things that should and would appeal to any decently thinking person that is made aware of them, and that’s all of our part to see that’s exactly what happens. Education and awareness are key here, and we can all play a crucial part in it.

    As for the motorcycle industry itself. I think the best thing they can do is focus on making great, appealing, and “usable” motorcycles. This, rather than creating so much segmentation with numerous specialized classes and sub-classes of motorcycle. No more going off the deep-end with insectoid -transformer, and cyclops bird-beak looking things. Rather than hyper analyzing a narrowly focused segment that either doesn’t exist, or is the segment that own and ride the least, broaden the appeal, without the repulsion of any. Bring back more usability and functionality. Offer more bikes with a reasonably amount of under seat storage, helmet locks, and an actually usable and functional tail section, rather then truncating it, and reducing it to a little nub. Which no one would ever want to spend any time on, and no cargo can be carried on it. And when possible, go a step further, and offer some luggage options. Bikes can be so much more than mere weekend rides and such. It’s time to help open more minds and bring the awareness that they can indeed be used for not only that, but so much more. And this is very much where the American mindset differs so drastically from pretty much the entire rest of the world. Who see them as not only something for some weekend fun and pleasure, but at least as much as a very economical and fun form of every day transportation.

    I really believe that if these two main points I mention were actually followed up on and done, there would be a very positive trend would be set into motion for both those who ride, and the industry itself as a whole. Again, it all comes down to appeal, and a much broader and more substantive one than what’s been pitched here for far to long.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Car drivers don’t like to have another vehicle in the same lane as them. The benefits of lane sharing are only for the motorcyclist, not the car driver. Almost 99% of legislators are car drivers. As much as lane sharing may appeal intellectually, their gut feel says it is dangerous. The rest of the world does not have the neatly organized traffic lanes the West has, and the traffic is already mixed with buses, rickshaws, jitneys, people on bicycles, animal drawn carts, mopeds etc. that filtering with motorcycles is natural, and the speed of the traffic is much lower so there is less chance of an accident. Many other states do not have the traffic congestion CA has so lane sharing is less relevant for them.
      The motorcycle industry is offering every kind of motorcycle known to man. They will only make motorcycles that sell. And most people buy the kind of impractical motorcycles you describe above. In the West, people already have cars and trucks to take care of the practical side of things. They usually buy motorcycles for recreation.

  • Travis Stanley

    It’s interesting how Generation X does not get any attention with MCs.
    It’s like Milinials are the only demographic that is sought after.
    X
    “Generation X, or Gen X, is the demographic cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the Millennials. There are no precise dates for when Generation X starts or ends. Demographers and researchers typically use birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s.”
    Sadly, this demographic has more responsibilities than Boomer’s and Milinials and less time to go on a epic MC trip during the summer. But they do have more disposable income than Milinials.
    Enter the Honda CB300F.
    http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/honda/2015-honda-cb300f-review.html

    • Gruf Rude

      My GenX son sold his motorcycles upon becoming a father. The liter bike went first, “Every time I look down, Dad, I’m 30 MPH over the speed limit in town . . .” The 250 dual sport was next; no way to strap down the car seat for the grocery/work trips it used to handle . . .

    • Shabba

      Gen X, of which I am a part, is from about 1965 to 1980. We are the smallest of the generations still existing and as such, we get very little attention. I’m not sure what the OP meant by “analog” generation as our generation is the one that grew up during the inception and subsequent boom of technology. If anything, we are the most versatile; having one foot in the past and one in the future makes X’ers more adaptable. It is unfortunate that there is not more info on our generation regarding MC ownership. All of my fellow X’ers are riders so I would think we have some sort of clout when it comes to the direction of the industry. The industry thinks otherwise it seems.

      • BTRDAYZ

        Thank you!!! Millenial idiots must be out of their damn minds. Because they have only known a digital world, they think they own it. Gen-X and some boomers CREATED the technology Millenials mindlessly use today. Because we understand the original analog problems digital solutions were designed to solve, we understand how they work and are better at troubleshooting them. I’m an IT Director and have been in PCs since 18. I’m 51 now. The Millenial IT staffers that report to me are severely lacking in commonsense digital troubleshooting skills. If they can’t find the answer in a YouTube video, they are hopelessly LOST. And every IT Manager I know says the same about Millenials. Even coding today is more like playing with Lego car kits. My Grandmother could write code today with the library based development toolkits now available.

  • spiff

    I have no interest in introducing anyone to motorcycling unless they pursue me for advice. I have lost someone close to me. I taught him to ride. He was a good rider, and the indecent was not his fault. Still.

    Not everyone should ride a bike, and it is a teacher’s responsibility to evaluate if it is correct to encourage them. That said, it is also one’s responsibility to give the best guidence possible when they decide to ride.

  • Bubba Blue

    It was -9 degrees in Twin Lakes, WI this morning. Definitely NOT a good time to be a motorcyclist!

  • Byron Maier

    Interesting articles and commentS

    I’m a younger guy. Got into motorcycles from the Mod/Ska scene. Exposed through music culture in the 90’s. Got my first vintage Vespa. Then got a Norton to be a rocker. Rode both. As being in that scene I could not get enough of vintage bikes.. saw a Ducati single at a meet and been in love since. Lucky to own many vintage bikes. My own tale Leeds to a point. Young people being exposed to motorcycles in such a way that they want one. I remember how amped I was seeing lambrettas and Vespa at ska/Reggae gigs. Quadraphenia got all the older people into the scene with the mod revival two tone era in the early 80’s. Movie makers.. tv shows.. more cool bikes

    Other point about being exposed which I have not read much of on this thread is racing. Here in Canada MOTO GP AND WORLD SUPERBIKE are not on tv! It does not exist. No kid, young adult etc will ever see how awesome racing it is or the bikes. Racing and super bikes have no relevance to young people. Why are not the big 4 plus big two in Europe getting together and getting racing on tv. Race on Sunday sell on Monday. I pay for a subscription right from Moto GP. No problem for me. But racing does not really exist on tv. Or is this Dorna. USA may be different
    Correct me if I am wrong but why does AMA not adopt world superbike rules. Wild card riders right.

    Motorcycles are my passion. Always selling how cool they are even if the are old and Italian leaving my wrenching on the side of the road. Ps. When ever my best mate and I see kids we always try to get a little wheelie action and wave in. A 7 year old seeing a monster guy waving wheeling a superduke. Scared for life in a two wheeled way

    Cheers and Gears

  • octodad

    when cars started using automatic transmissions, more people began driving. they love that PRNDL .want more riders? make operating a bike easier. motorcycle technology appears to lag behind. time to catch up….