THE Department for Transport has collated the new vehicle registration figures for the first six months of 2018 and given us a clear insight into precisely what’s selling – and what isn’t – in the bike market this year.
But before we dive straight into the top ten best-selling machines of 2018 so far, let’s mention a couple of bikes that didn’t make the list.
The most glaring omission is the machine that’s dominated sales for the last decade or so, BMW’s R1200GS. To be fair, that’s not because we’ve all suddenly lost interest in a bike that’s been established as a best-seller since 2004, but because of the myriad different versions BMW now sells.
That means its registrations are split between no fewer than ten different ‘models’ this year! There’s the R1200GS, of course (239 registrations), and the R1200GS Adventure (196 registrations.) But they’re just the start. There’s also the Adventure Rally TE (383 sold), the Adventure Triple Black (343), the GS Rallye TE (335), the GS TE (220), GS TE Exclusive (190), Adventure TE (81), GS Rallye (21) and the GS Adventure Rallye (7). Phew. Add them all up, and you have a total of 2015 sales in the first half of 2018 – enough to easily take the GS to its customary top spot in the sales chart.
But they’re split, so we’re not doing that.
Other honourable mentions need to go to surprises including the Honda Rebel 500, which just misses out on this top 10 with 435 registrations, and to the Royal Enfield Himalayan (13th, with 388 sold).
But here are the bikes that do make the top 10 list:
10: Yamaha YS125 – 448 registered
It’s probably safe to say that Yamaha’s £2899 YS125 isn’t a bike that anyone has ever aspired to. You’re not going to have been smitten by its stunning looks or shattering performance, that’s for sure. But as a training tool and a two-wheeled beast of burden it’s hard to argue with it, which is why Yamaha has sold more than 150,000 of the things worldwide in the last decade.
9: Triumph Street Triple RS – 475 registered
There’s certainly no doubting the credentials of Triumph’s Street Triple, and particularly not in its latest 765cc form and top-spec RS trim level. It’s interesting that buyers are opting for the £10,200 Street Triple RS instead of the cheaper versions, and it’s a pattern that’s repeated higher in the firm’s range, too – the 1050cc Speed Triple RS outsells the R and S models, and the Thruxton R accounts for almost all UK Thruxton sales. It seems we like our Ohlins and Brembo bits, and we’re prepared to pay for them.
8: Yamaha MT-07 ABS – 494 registered
If you can’t stretch to a Street Triple, the Yamaha MT-07 is a handy stepping stone on the way to that naked middleweight, and at £6349 it’s £1650 less than the cheapest Street Trip. Maybe that’s why the Yamaha makes it to number eight on this list. Of course, it’s also a bike that’s easily restricted to A2 licence power levels, the only bike in this top 10 that’s really suitable for that group of riders.
7: Honda CBF125 NA-J (CB125R) – 550 registered
Here’s an instant hit for Honda. The CB125R was only revealed less than a year ago, and wasn’t even available for the first few months of 2018. Just 145 were sold by the end of March, but in the following three months it racked up another 405 registrations. So by the end of this year we can expect the CB125R to be even higher in the sales charts.
6: Honda MSX125 A-H (MSX125) – 555 registered
The MSX has been a sustained strong seller for Honda over the last few years, despite initially appearing to be something of a niche model with its almost-a-monkey-bike dimensions. Whether the new Monkey, based on the same platform but not available early enough to make it into this chart, damages MSX125 sales remains to be seen.