The motorcycle industry is in trouble and it’s all my fault. When I say “my,” I mean millennials. We get blamed for being lazy and entitled – and now for the decline of the motorcycle industry. Aging motorcyclists are going out faster than newer riders are coming in. Younger folks just don’t seem to be interested in motorcycling, they say. This has caused manufacturers to dump millions into not only marketing, but also research and development to create new motorcycles in order to save the motorcycle industry. They need to find some sort of solution.
But the truth of the matter is that we need to find some sort of solution. I am a motorcyclist and a millennial. The declining motorcycle industry isn’t just bad for OEMs, but without a change, we will start seeing how it’s bad for all of us.
The entire industry is now banding together to brainstorm on what we can do collectively to bring new motorcyclists into the fold. Industry insider Robert Pandya has introduced the Give a Shift initiative. Give a Shift began as “a roundtable with some industry leaders and bring in other new perspectives to discuss some issues, float some solutions and make the transcript and a summary report public to help those of us who care deeply about motorcycling,” according to Pandya’s LinkedIn article from October 26, 2017.
Many of my friends and colleagues attended the first Give a Shift meeting and have had positive things to say about it. The GAS initiative had its second group meeting last night, and those who were there were hopeful it can be a platform that breeds positive change for everyone involved in motorcycling. None of us want to see the day that manufacturers stop investing into the aforementioned marketing plans and R&D.
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Scot Harden has had a nearly 40-year career as one of the world’s top off-road racers and has compiled a set of records that few can match. Scot was also in attendance at the first Give a Shift meeting, and he suggested an easy, realistic way to get more people riding: Bring your buddies who don’t ride along with you. Simple as that.
This is a grass-roots idea that doesn’t take time and focus groups to confirm. A few friends of mine who started out as coworkers are the ones who introduced me to riding off-road. Since then, I can’t get enough of it.
“I’m advocating for a grassroots evangelism on a one-to-one basis across the nation, and I am labeling this initiative ‘”Plus 1.’” Harden says. “It really won’t take much. All we need to do is share our passion with our non-motorcycling friends.”
Harden then goes on to outline 10 easy ways each and every one of us can help contribute to the sport we love. Yes, even millennials.
Take a look at Harden’s article Advocating For Motorcycling’s Future from the January 2018 issue of American Motorcyclist in which he explains and outlines his ideas.
Have you brought any of your non-riding friends into the world of motorcycling? Tell us about it in the comments section and let’s broaden this conversation further than just between industry veterans and insiders.