Things looked bad for the Canadian motorcycle industry last spring. By April, most of the country was under some sort of lockdown, including many motorcycle dealerships. Along with the general worry over the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on health and the economy, moto-industry insiders were specifically concerned over the lockdown timing. Motorcycling is tied to the seasons in Canada. Even in British Columbia and southern Ontario, the warmest parts of the country, most riders put their bikes away in the fall and bring them out for spring - and spring is also the busiest selling season for new bikes, and new gear. Dealers feared the lockdown would torpedo that sales boost, and potentially put them out of business. We did see sales flatline in April, but we didn’t see lots of dealers going out of business. What did happen was weird, and unexpected.
Part of a new series for our A&R Pro readers, we will be providing regular digests of motorcycle news, topics, and issues from key regions around the world, in an effort to make sure our readers have a firm grasp on the pulse of the entire industry. Our first edition looks to our friends to the north, where our colleague Zak Kurylyk tell us how the Canadian motorcycle industry is handling the coronavirus outbreak. Look for more installments, from other regions, in the weeks to come. -JB The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the bike industry as a whole, but for the Canadian motorcycle scene, it is potentially disastrous. Think 2008 financial crisis, but on steroids. If the 2008 recession was King Gong, then COVID-19 is going to be Godzilla. The timing couldn’t be worse, due to the seasonal structure of the riding season in Canada, and due to the massive drop in oil prices. As a result, most of the problems faced by the American industry are intensified in Canada. Very few Canadian motorcyclists are actually riding this time of year, but March-April is when deals get done, and money changes hands, Without this, all the major players are going to take a big hit. Retailers, rally organizers, race teams - everybody's looking at having 2020 essentially wiped out. As a result, most of the problems faced by the American industry are intensified in Canada. With all the questions surrounding the economy, it's likely some major players are never coming back.