Plenty of people are still buying new motorcycles, despite everything

A precarious outlook hasn’t dented motorcycle sales all that much, judging by the latest figures

The R 1300 GS adventure bike

There are numerous factors to put people off buying a new motorcycle right now. We have a cost of living crisis brought on by soaring inflation and painful mortgage interest rates, all amidst a backdrop of various crises around the world and a broken road network littered with potholes closer to home. 

And yet, few seem to have been put off walking into a dealership and parting with their hard-earned cash for some two-wheeled motorised transportation. The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has just released its latest year-to-date sales figures for 2023, with the 102,361 motorcycles sold up to the end of November representing a drop of just 0.7 per cent compared to 2022 at that same point. The decline grows slightly to two per cent if including tricycles and mopeds in the mix. 

Segments showing the most growth include Competition (+7.4 per cent), Naked (+6.9 per cent) and Road Sport (+3.7 per cent). On the other hand, Modern Classic was down by 7.7 per cent, Scooter fell by 8.6 per cent, and Touring dropped by 11.8 per cent. 

For the month of November, the Adventure bike segment was the clear winner in terms of growth, with an 8.6 per cent year-on-year change to 1,078 units. The launch of the new BMW R1300 GS must have helped - around 10 per cent of the segment's total (108 sales) can be attributed to that bike. Still, it's dwarfed by the overall best-selling model, the Yamaha NMAX 125, responsible for 431 sales.

MCIA CEO Tony Campbell had this to say about the figures: 

“As consumer demand remains strong for our sector MCIA continue to work closely with Government at all levels, now gaining energy and momentum with the licence review campaign. Additionally, we are now starting to forge early relationships with the shadow ministerial team ahead of a general election year in 2024."