Top 10s

Top five bike ownership statistics

Some interesting titbits from the DVLA archives

STATISTICALLY, you can count the number of people who never invent numbers to suit their argument on one hand. Nonetheless, here’s a selection of interesting* nuggets pulled from various DVLA data-sets using an abacus and candlelight.

*it’s all relative

1) There are as many two-wheeled Hondas on the road as there are Kawasakis and Suzukis combined

There are approximately a quarter of a million Honda motorcycles and scooters on the roads in the UK, or 77,000 more than the second-most numerous manufacturer, Yamaha (170,000). Third is Suzuki (143,200) and fourth Kawasaki (89,838). The top ten table looks like this:

1)

Honda

247,209

2)

Yamaha

169,809

3)

Suzuki

143,200

4)

Kawasaki

89,838

5)

Triumph

79,368

6)

BMW

55,656

7)

Harley

40,663

8)

Aprilia

25,286

9)

Ducati

18,232

10)

KTM

13,283

Figures drawn from DVLA data. These are the numbers of bikes and scooters registered by the DVLA as taxed or SORN. There will be bikes that haven’t been taxed since the SORN system was introduced in 1998; these will not show up in the figures. Although scooters are included in these figures, scooter manufacturers are not shown.

2) Our top five most popular bikes

The most popular bike in the UK is Suzuki’s mid-sized Bandit; there are nearly 19,600 Bandit 600s, 650s, and GSX650Fs either taxed or SORN. If you add the 1200 Bandit variants, you get over 30,000 bikes. The next nearest rival is Honda’s CBR600RR and 600F combined, with 18,500 on the roads or in garages. In third place it’s Honda’s FireBlade (all models) on 14,500, BMW’s GS is fourth with just over 14,000, and Yamaha’s FZS600 and FZ6 Fazers make the top five at just under 14,000 bikes. 

3) Bimota v Ural

When it comes to ultra-modern, hand-built Italian superbike exotica versus Russian copies of BMW’s 1940 R71, you’d think Bimota would out-number Urals on UK roads. But they don’t. There are 108 Bimotas currently alive and kicking in the UK (including four V-Due 500s and three Mantras), against 164 Urals (most numerous is the popular Dalesman outfit, with 86 bikes). And if you thought Urals were cheap, think again also. A new Dalesman (now called the Tourist) will set you back over £10,000. Having said that, at least you can buy one. Anyone know how to buy a Bimota, let alone find a price? 

4) Old is better...

In 1998 Yamaha launched the UK’s second-favourite 600cc all-rounder (see number 2, above), the FZS600 Fazer. In 2000 they launched its bigger brother, the FZS1000 Fazer. In 2004 the 600 was replaced with the FZ6 Fazer and two years later the FZS1000 was replaced with the FZ1S Fazer. Both the later models were available as naked or half-faired.

The number of the original 600 Fazers on the roads is 7306. The number of the later FZ6 is 4015. The number of FZS1000s is 2992; FZ1S numbers 1872. Even if you add the naked bikes to the totals, there are still more of the previous models on the roads. 

5) Not as many as you’d think...

• There are 100 more people riding Honda’s CX500/650 than there are Yamaha TRX850 owners (257 to 155).

• There are 21 Kawasaki Z1300s, 32 Honda CBX1000s and 921 BMW K1600s – which, if you’re counting header pipes, means 5844 cylinders.

• somehow, there are 308 Buell Ulysses on the roads (or at the roadside) compared to 376 Yamaha Bulldogs.

• there are 33 Honda RC30s in business, but only 13 RC45s.

• 593 Ducati Panigales prowl UK roads, but only 394 Aprilia RSV4s.

• there is but one Yamaha GTS1000 active on UK roads. Wave if you see it.

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