Discuss: Has Ewan McGregor saved the UK motorcycle industry?

Where would the industry be now if it weren't for the Hollywood actor's trip?

OK, so the headline might seem over the top, but there's no getting away from the facts that the Adventure motorcycle category boomed after the Long Way Round trip in 2004 and has continued to blossom.

Eight years after Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's Long Way Round trip, it appears as though the duo's influence is stronger than ever. BMW have made huge profits on the back of the Long Way series while KTM must still be kickng themselves for turning down the duo's request for the loan of a 950 Adventure all those years ago.

In 2012, motorcycle sales in the Adventure category in the UK were up 15.2% in a market that was down 0.2% overall. In 2012 the Touring segment was down 22.9% while Customs and Sport Touring were down 13% each. Just a handful of categories were up and of those most showed single digit rises but the Adventure sector is - at 15.2% up - booming.

In 2009, sales in the Supersport category had already taken a battering and stood at 18,961 motorcycles sold but in 2012, that figure was down to just 12,851. Those figures make eye-watering reading for anyone who's business is based around sportsbikes. 11,759 Adventure motorcycles were sold in 2012, meaning they're still behind the Supersport category but with the Supersport categoriy showing another drop, this time 4.2% down on last year, we're still rapidly shifting away from Supersport and onto Adventure motorcycles.

Bear in mind, due to the questionable way the MCIA collect motorcycle sales stats, you could argue the Supersport category has been artificially bolstered over the years: 125s like the CBR125 and Yamaha YZF-R125 frequently top the 'Supersport' category, skewing the real-world figures of 500cc+ superbike sales.

The Long Way series has inspired people around the world to get a motorcycle licence, quit their job and life as 'Boring Norman in Accounts', become a somebody and write a book off the back of their epic adventure, or at least try to. Has the Long Way series shifted the public's opinion of motorcycling? We're no longer 'just out to kill ourselves' we're passionate adventurers, battling the conditions. Just by buying an adventure motorcycle and heading off somewhere foreign (be that Ivory Coast or the Cat 'n Fiddle), you're an instant hero.

So the question is: would we have all found our way from Supersport bikes onto Adventure bikes anyway or would we have left motorcycling? Have Ewan and Charlie done what no-one else seemed to be able to do and brought in hundreds if not thousands of new bikers into the world of motorcycling, straight into the Adventure category, keeping the industry and therefore your dealer going by way of sales, servicing, kit, parts, finance and insurance?

Or is the current trend for Adventure motorcycles nothing to do with any of this and simply down to bikers getting older and wanting something more sedate?

The boom in the Adventure sector happened after Long Way Round and continues to this day, so if Ewan and Charlie aren't the major factor, what is?