UK new motorcycle sales down as belts are tightened

Uncertainty around the economy and energy prices is beginning to bite, as UK new motorcycle registrations fall by nearly 8 percent


THE Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) new bike registration stats are in for February, and it wasn’t a great month with the figures showing a drop of 7.6 percent compared to February 2022.

The MCIA points to supply chain issues as just one of the causes for the slump, although other factors, including uncertainty around the economy, rising energy bills and more, will also likely have something to do with it. Comparing year-to-date data, sales of new powered two-wheelers (PTWs) are down 7.2 percent compared to 2022.

UK new motorcycle sales down

There were some winners in February though, with modern classic motorcycle models showing an uplift compared to February 2022, along with naked bikes and interestingly sports bikes. All told, February saw 4,814 total new motorcycle registrations, compared to 5,212 for February 2022.

Electric bikes were also hit last month, with registrations of new electric motorcycles down 50 percent compared to the same month last year – 220 registered in February 2023, and 440 in February 2022. In the electric sector, it was small capacity moped equivalent machines that were hit hardest, seeing a 70 percent drop-off in registrations.

There were some winners in the data though, with BSA showing the greatest number of new bike registrations in February in the 501 to 750cc segment. The classically styled BSA Gold Star 650 shifted 35 new units, although with that model only landing with UK dealers last month, a peak in registrations (and demand) is to be expected.

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 was the best seller in the 126 to 500cc segment, with the lovable retro registering 36 bikes on the MCIA’s data. Top of the tree for big bikes was (predictably) the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure with 35 bikes registered, and the BMW S 1000 RR with 46. The best-selling scooter in the 50 to 125cc category was Yamaha’s bank balance-friendly NMAX 125.

It’s not all doom and gloom from the MCIA though, as they expect this slight slide to turn around as the year goes on and we get into the motorcycle riding season properly. Speaking about the outlook, Tony Campbell, CEO of the MCIA, said:

“A reduction in registrations for the first part of Q1, whilst disappointing is not what we expect to continue as a trend as we move into the Spring and the main selling season for the sector. Interest in Powered Two Wheelers remains strong whether it be for commuting, last-mile delivery or leisure and we are confident of a good year in 2023”.