Top 10s

Top 10 European motorcycle markets

Which countries are the most motorcycle-mad in the EU?

EUROPE'S bike sales might pale in comparison to the millions of two-wheelers that hit the roads in Asia each year. But our preference for high-end machines rather than bargain-basement scooters means we’re still one of the world’s most important markets.

But which European country is the maddest for bikes?

Just to be clear, we’re using figures for full-on motorcycles here, not mopeds, quads or anything else.

10: Poland: 15,025 bikes registered in 2017

For a nation of nearly 38 million, the figure of 15,025 motorcycles sold is pretty low – around one new bike sold for every 2500 people in the country in 2017. It marks a massive decline compared to 2016, too, when ​more than 25,000 bikes were registered. However, the overall trend is towards rising big-bike sales, as in 2013 only 7,394 found new owners in the country.

The bare figure of 21,360 new bikes sold in Belgium in 2017 doesn’t accurately represent the popularity of two-wheelers there. A population of only 11.35 million means that there was a new bike sold for every 531 people in the country. That’s actually a better bike-per-person ratio than in the UK.

The bare figure of 21,360 new bikes sold in Belgium in 2017 doesn’t accurately represent the popularity of two-wheelers there. A population of only 11.35 million means that there was a new bike sold for every 531 people in the country. That’s actually a better bike-per-person ratio than in the UK.

PORTUGAL is smaller still, with only 10.32 million people living there, so there was a new bike for one in 416 people in the country last year. Not bad at all, but still far from the most motorcycle-crazy of European nations.

WITH only 8.747 million people living there, Austria is a pretty tiny country but it’s the home of KTM, the biggest of Europe’s bike firms. Maybe that’s why there was a new bike for one in every 351 people in the country in 2017.

One new bike was sold for every 391 head of population in Greece in 2017, making it the sixth largest nation in Europe in terms of total motorcycle registrations. However, it’s worth noting that sales have plummeted there over the last few years. Back in 2010, nearly 60,000 new bikes were sold.

There’s a massive leap in sales as we reach the top five biking nations in Europe, and the UK slots in right here. We might be in the middle of the list, but with approaching 100,000 motorcycles registered, and getting on for 8000 mopeds on top of that, we’re around four times the size of the next-biggest market. However, our big 65.64 million population means we lag behind on the bikes-per-person ratio, at only one registration for every 672 people during 2017.

There’s a massive leap in sales as we reach the top five biking nations in Europe, and the UK slots in right here. We might be in the middle of the list, but with approaching 100,000 motorcycles registered, and getting on for 8000 mopeds on top of that, we’re around four times the size of the next-biggest market. However, our big 65.64 million population means we lag behind on the bikes-per-person ratio, at only one registration for every 672 people during 2017.

It’s another big jump to reach Spain’s 136,180 new bike registrations. And bigger still if we were to include the 20,000-plus mopeds sold there in 2017. With a 46.56 million population, that’s one new motorcycle for every 342 people during the year.

Germany might be the home of Europe’s best-selling bike, the BMW R1200GS, but it’s only third on the overall motorcycle sales list. With a population of 82.67 million, though, the new-bike-per-head ratio is again lower than some of the smaller countries, at 1 to 588. It’s also seen a big drop in sales last year, down from 174,624, which had made it Europe’s second-biggest bike market in 2016.

While most European bike markets saw a hefty drop in sales in 2017, France’s remained basically level compared to the previous year. In fact, if we were to include mopeds in the figures, France would have seen a significant increase – some 107,322 ’peds were sold in 2017 (which also makes it Europe’s biggest overall market for two-wheelers).

Since we’re not counting mopeds, Italy – home to Ducati, Piaggio and an endless stream of smaller bike firms – comes out as Europe’s number one market for motorcycles. The only nation to break the 200,000 barrier last year, it saw a sales increase – up from 195,405 in 2016. On a per-head ratio, with a population of 60.6 million, those figures mean one person in every 296 bought a new bike last year. Moped sales are much lower than you might expect, though, at only 26,031, so the country’s overall two-wheeler sales lag behind twist-and-go-crazy France.

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