For many in the motorcycle industry, 2016 felt like an off year, and now we know that those feelings weren’t unsubstantiated.

Early leaks of the MIC’s industry sales figures for 2016 show that the US motorcycle market contracted 2.1% in 2016, erasing the modest gains made in 2015.

Meanwhile for our neighbors across the pond, things are going substantially better, with sales in the United Kingdom up 11.7% (128,644 registrations).

We will have to wait for all the motorcycle OEMs to report their final quarter sales results to know who are the big winners and losers of the 2016 sales year.

Though, we do know that KTM and BMW (up 5.9%) have shown signs of strong results internationally, whereas Duacti and Harley-Davidson are expected to post overall sales declines for 2016.

Not everything has been down in the USA though, as Polaris Industries has shown a strong 2016 in sales – though that didn’t keep their Victory Motorcycles brand from getting the axe this week, as Polaris focuses on its Indian and Slingshot brands.

In the UK, small-displacement machines ruled the roost, with nearly 40% of the bikes registered in 2016 being under 125cc – many of which were scooters.

This shows a strong trend for two-wheelers being used for urban mobility, rather than recreation – one of the key differences between the US and UK markets.

It does have to be noted that numbers from the UK benefitted from dealers needing to unload their Euro3 models, before they became illegal to sell in our now Euro4 world.

This likely meant discounts helped move some models, and could account for some of the sales gains in 2016. Still, this marks the third year in a row where the UK has posted double-digit growth in sales.

As such, sales in the UK are rebounding much quicker than they are in the USA, which is still operating at nearly half the volume it enjoyed before the recession. That should be something for the MIC to chew-on, as it makes plans for 2017.

Source: Powersports Business

  • imprezive

    Interesting that Ducati sales are contracting with the onslaught of new models they’ve released. I’ve personally felt almost all of them missed the mark in some way so maybe I wasn’t completely wrong.

  • Superlight

    Well, just throw a grenade in the room and leave quickly… Go on, tell us how the Ducati models “missed the mark”.

  • imprezive

    As opposed to throwing a grenade into a room and hanging around? haha

    The Multi got noticeably more soft and less sporty with the new generation. No problem if you come out with a sportier model to replace it. Upgrade the hyperstrada? Nope they cancel it and make a stripper Multi instead for some reason. Must be the Supersport then, that would make sense. Nope doesn’t have even have cruise let alone electronic suspension.

    How about super nakeds, those are hot. Updated Street Fighter? Nope cancelled. Monster? Let’s make the footpegs unbearable cramped, not give it a quickshifter or really any of the modern amenities competitors have. On top of that that it wasn’t even that sporting to ride. Granted the new Monster seems to have addressed most of those short comings.

    The Panigale 959 was the lightest of refreshes that clearly undercut itself to keep some exclusivity with the 1299. No up/down QS, LEDs, Ohlins, nothing really substantial to upgrade from the 899.

    The Scrambler line seems well thought out and competitive which I’m betting is their saving grace sales wise. The 1299 and Diavels are both solid but those are small markets.

  • Superlight

    OK, my turn:
    Multistrada – the new one is less polarizing in design, dropping the pointed beak in front and looking more integrated overall. It has plenty of power already.
    Hyperstrada – needed to be cancelled – the mix of motard and touring just didn’t work in this variant, though the Multi 959 should have been made physically smaller as well as less expensive
    Supersport – I agree about cruise, but electronic suspension is pretty costly to add for a price point entry
    Monster – not sure how they screwed up the footpegs, but it’s a good bike for many people. I don’t understand, however, why they did the exhaust such that bags are difficult to add and why they don’t offer a good-looking 1/3-1/2 sport fairing accessory for those who don’t want/like the Multi
    Panigales – the 959, just like the 899 before, is a price point entry and doesn’t need all the extras – that’s why you spend the extra coin for the 1299s. OBTW, as neat as the under engine exhaust might be, its heat output to the rider is a functional nightmare
    Scramblers – Ducati has to decide what these are meant to be and just how expansive the lineup can go, and, please,stop trying to create a new brand – these are Ducatis

  • Michael K

    2016 sales in Australia were up 6.6% over the previous year and totalled 114,783 units.

  • Paul McM

    To me the answer is aging population, very few women riders, sinfully high prices for Euro brands, and very uninspired offerings from Honda and Suzuki. With Bmw RTs now costing $22k, Honda could own the touring and sport touring market, but it offers only old tired stuff and dumb mashups like the CTX 1300. Apart from the Africa Twin, I think Honda needs to take a very hard look at its whole product line — and fire some executives.

  • pidgin

    Well motorcycle industry is a joke, take way too much gas compared to a car, super slow innovations. Not to mention very ugly looks. Super high prices. I’d like to buy but there is nothing worth buying to me.

  • This is something that has been kicked around a few times. My thoughts on the US sales (as they have been evolving)…

    Here in the US, auto sales are looking to edge past prior records. Cars cost more money than they used to (average cost is now around $30k) and are used for basic transportation. Motorcyles are toys, and spending more on the ‘necessities’ means that there is less discretionary spending on toys.

    Aside from a crop of entry level or budget models, motorcycles have also gotten much more expensive. Whereas people used to buy a new bike every two or three years, the higher financial outlay has many holding onto bikes longer. Plus, design cycles have been stretched beyond the 2-3 yr range that was common a decade ago. Less incentive to upgrade when models aren’t fresh (or inexpensive).

    Then, there are those pesky demographics. The ‘kids’ can’t find jobs and don’t have money. Many still live at home, shoulder incredible student loan debt, and don’t have job prospects to afford all the necessities, let alone the discretionary stuff. Moving up an age bracket, people in their late 20’s to 40’s are raising kids…which means less discretionary spending and time to ride. When they do ride, they are apt to take the kids off-road, probably on used machines until they can utilize something newer. And so on and so forth through the demographics. We already know about how motorcyclists have been aging ourselves out of existence…

    Tell you what though – I know quite a few people, friends and customers, who have parked their bikes in favor of manual cycling. Takes us firmly back to the ‘toys’ and demographics discussion, I suppose.

    But beyond the ‘industry’, there are receding economies (even if some are anticipatory), crazy elections across much of the western world, and now, rising interest rates. It’s hard to be surprised by the outcome, but the theme is uncertainty…which isn’t good for this market.

  • Bobberk

    It’s not very surprising that motorcycle sales are declining in the US beginning with the last recession. I believe that demographic and economics changes are primarily responsible for this. The Baby Boomer generation, which was responsible for much of the more recent growth in bike sales is aging. They no longer buy as many, or any, bikes. The younger generation are, generally, less interested in ownership of things that are either not essential or which they use infrequently. In addition, they don’t necessarily have the funds to buy more expensive, non-essential items (yes, computers and smart phones are essential) and are more environmentally aware. So . . . we see a market that is, under the current environment, not well suited for growth. Dealers are aging, limited growth cause (understandable) friction between dealers and manufacturers and it is difficult to attract new and younger dealers to a market which is neither growing nor providing significant profit (other than the real estate). There will always be a core group of people who love motorcycles, and they will continue to spend significant dollars but this group is not growing. As new members come in . . . Older members leave. Motorcycle manufacturers in the US are having a difficult time reacting to these changes – the new (and smaller) bikes by Yamaha and the Scrambler line by Ducati are examples of manufacturers trying to deal. That said, until bikes are significantly less expensive, incorporate current technology, are environmentally sound and are simple enough for basic use and not dealer dependent, a new group of riders will be difficult to attract and sales volume, in the US at least, will either increase very slowly or not at all.

  • 2Kcowboy

    It sounds like electrics are the solution though they are expensive.
    I may be mistaken but I believe the UK and other countries in Europe have laws that favor having a motorcycle: lane splitting, free parking, no “entry fees” to ride in the city and I’ve even heard of equipment lockers at shopping centers for motorcyclists. In the USA there’s not much of an advantage in having a bike over a car for daily transport.

  • Bobberk

    Thoughtful and I agree.

  • Jason

    I agree with what you said with a couple of exceptions.

    1. Cars are not more expensive today than in the past (at least if you look at my lifetime – I’m 40). Adjusted for inflation, cars like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry cost a bit less today than they did back in the 80’s and are FAR superior vehicles. Trucks are more expensive but that is because they went from basic work vehicles to everyday vehicles with options and comfort levels that would rival old luxury cars.

    2. Bikes aren’t that much more expensive today either. My older brother’s first bike was a 1995 Honda CBR600 F3. It was $7200 which is $11,075 today (adjusted for inflation) while a 2016 CBR600RR is $11,490. However, the technological leap in not nearly as big as it has been for cars. Horsepower is up but 0-60 and 1/4 mile times really aren’t because even 20 years ago bikes where wheelie limited. Likewise with braking, the stoppie was the limit not the brakes. Fuel economy is the same as it was 20 years ago.

    So why could my brother buy that bike 20 years ago when he was 18, just out of High School, working a minimum wage job? Minimum wage was actually a little lower then so that isn’t it. (At the time is was $4.25 which is $6.73 in 2016 dollars – the federal minimum wage today is $7.25)

    1. Financing. He bought it through Honda Finance for $49 a month for 24 months. It was a balloon loan with the balance due in 24 months. There was no way he could pay the balloon but that didn’t keep Honda from giving him the loan. Today no one is going to give an 18 year with a part time minimum wage job a loan for a new motorcycle.

    2. He didn’t have a cell phone. That $49 a month he was paying for a motorcycle is $80 today. The bike, insurance and gas money took up almost all of his discretionary money. How many teens do you know today that have a $100 cell phone bill? That is what they are using their discretionary spending on while back when I was a kid nobody had a cell phone and they drove to their friends house or to the mall to hang out. Today kids are spending that money on a cell phone and service.

  • Ryan Donahue

    You’re not that far off. What you’re really getting at, without saying it (I’m guessing here) is that despite the wider product offering, these new models are attempting to be too many things to too many people.

    Take the SuperSprot, for example. Many of the long time and die-hard SS guys wanted a new version of their beloved bike. Ducati tried to listen and keep it simple. And in doing so, left off many things buyer might expect, ultimately alienating potential new buyers because they feel it doesn’t have enough. If you flip that around, you’d then have a bike with all the shiny bits and a much higher price. Sure, internet commenters might love it, but would they buy it?

    The same could be said for the 959 Panigale; a simpler and smaller alternative to the 1299, which, is still rather powerful unto itself. But at 955cc, it’s so close to the 1299, it might as well be a liter bike. At the risk of being blasphemous, Ducati had the opportunity to make a smaller displacement bike and didn’t because they didn’t want to put out a less powerful bike.

    I’m with you on the MTS 950; it seems awfully close – almost too close to the 1200. It’s not a different enough bike, at least in my mind. (Full disclosure: I own an MTS 1200 Pikes Peak)

  • Ryan Donahue

    It’s probably more the accountants than the execs, but yah. I think you’re right on.

  • Ryan Donahue

    It’s too bad to see number declining. I want more motorcycles on the road so they move out of the recreation bucket and into a viable and alternative form of transportation. And this includes scooters. Not only does this bring motorcycles further into the mainstream, it (selfishly) speeds up the ideas of lane splitting and filtering.

    Nonetheless, this article really just makes me want to get out and ride my motorbikes.

  • I’m only a few years younger than yourself, so close enough to agree with what you said on inflation. In fact, just the other day I was perusing the new Subaru STI’s pricing on the web. Compared with the price when introduced in the US market in 2004, it’s actually cheaper today when accounting for inflation. I suppose a large part of that is because it hasn’t changed a whole lot. But either way, inflation is real, and you’re right.

    However…inflation, while valid, wasn’t my aim. The average transaction value is higher than it’s ever been, and it’s not just due to inflation. In March of 2016, the average transaction price was a bit over $33k. Why? People are buying more content. Infotainment, safety, mandatory emissions/safety regs, and just ‘more’ in general. Remember how dinky those Nissan Sentras were when we were teenagers? Compare to now. We’re buying more sheet metal (and everything else).

    The credit point is a very good one. Credit worthiness is probably a huge influence (though is it partially erased by historically low interest rates?).

    The cell phone bit is a perfect example of what I was referring to when it comes to having less discretionary spending. Amazing how we ‘need’ something that didn’t exist a few years ago, isn’t it? The fancier cars and cell phone plans aren’t necessities, but it helps explain why people have less money.

  • Where to begin? Bikes have been very good for many years now and there lots of used motorcycles in great condition out there from private sellers. They offer terrific performance and value compared to buying new. Prices on new bikes have increased and the US economy (contrary to the stock market) just isn’t vibrant to support purchases of what in this country, are toys. Also, it used to be fun to go buy a motorcycle. Unfortunately, the dealers have copied the auto industry and now, going in to buy a bike is completely miserable. I want to buy an FZ10, but I just don’t know if I can stand the BS I know I’ll be subjected to.

  • imprezive

    Well said (probably better than I did). I think Ducati as a brand is trying to be everything to too many people. If they want to be a premium performance brand they need to sell premium motorcycles. I think they’ve been decontenting bikes like the SS to hit a price point but is that really serving the Ducati customer and fitting their brand? I went into the dealership to buy an MTS 1200 for $20k and left without a bike. They haven’t released anything to make me come back while KTM has released a new SDR that checks all the boxes for me. If I’m going to spend big money on a bike it better damn well have what I want.

  • Peter

    When you “incorporate current technology” in any vehicle they are no longer “simple enough for basic use” and become 100% completely “dealer dependent”. This is precisely what is wrong with integrated electronic systems- they are obsoleting the “do-it-yourself” owner/mechanic. For some reason the “tech-junkies” just can’t grasp this fact.

  • Ryan Donahue

    Yah, but then you’d be on a KTM… ;)

    This progression for Ducati is natural. This is how you grow the brand, scale and remain profitable.

    As an aside, many people seem to gripe about the electronic cruise control and while I understand that niggle; it’s a small one. I’d much rather have a bike with a terrific engine, lithe chassis and oodles of character than a soulless bike – just because it has cruise control. It should also be noted, I currently have three Ducatis in the stable, so the kool-aid is tasty.

  • Bobberk

    I was an owner of a shop (and have been riding for more than 50 years) and witnessed a major change in the buying environment over 6-7 years and in riders over the past 50.

    You bring up an interesting fact. As dealers have become more focused on selling (and as sales have slowed down and profitability more questionable) and less on building a community and providing experiences we loose opportunities to bring new riders into motorcycling. Dealers have to understand that it’s not just about his/her revenue but about selling motorcycling and helping build the next generation of riders. Manufacturers have to understand that as well.

  • Bobberk

    I understand exactly what you are saying and agree. I ride a ’67 Triumph (and have a number of more current bikes as well) so I understand about the absence of technology. I said that so as to involve existing technology (i.e., smart phone, etc.), but not overly complex technology (i.e,. traction control), which is used by the majority of the younger generation (and others). It might involve them in biking more. Bikes have to be inexpensive to buy and use, relatively simple so as to encourage buyers to work on them and reliable.


    Bikes are expensive and people are scared to ride, because people can’t drive. That’s my take at least.

  • jake woods

    I would suspect Canadian sales will be down as well by looking at dealers closing all over.

    I dont know how reflective the issues within the Canadian moto scene is, but the one culprret for low rates of younger people getting into motorcycles is one thing, and it is insurance.

    Insurance is slowly killing the “sport”. For fun take a look at Ontario (Toronto) insurance rates for a 16 year old on a 50cc scooter… In some states you can ride insurance/liscence free on these small bikes, but here I cant find anything less than $600 per month for my sister.

    Also the fact that insurers are blacklisting anything over 600cc’s, rates are exploding for no claims riders, insurance companies merging, etc.

  • appliance5000

    Triumph had record sales, ducati doesn’t really register on the map – looks like a Harley had a bad year.

  • Peter

    On second thought, I am going to alter my statement about “tech-junkies” not getting it- I now realize that they get it all too well. The name of the game in “tech” is rapid obsolescence- new software, new hardware, 2.0, 3.0… new, new, new. Buying a new smartphone, computer, gadget, (whatever) every 2-3 years is a relatively small required outlay of money to replace your recently-obsoleted tech. But when your obsoleted gadget is a $10,000+ motorcycle… well, that’s not such a good return on investment- is it? It’s also not feasible for most people. Maybe these “techies” are smarter than I give them credit for- why buy something you can’t afford to replace when it will be obsoleted shortly? This vicious “tech-circle” where more tech is demanded but the intended audience is less likely to purchase because of price doesn’t bode too well for the future of motorcycles. Our best hope is to show that motorcycles should be an escape from, not a player in, this inane “high-tech” dead end- before motorcycling becomes a victim of it.

  • Campisi

    I think Honda has a strong product line, but for the wrong market. Honda is selling various flavours of transportation to customers mostly looking for a weekend thrill. Here’s hoping the Africa Twin’s surprising mix of character and quality spreads through the rest of their line to come.

  • A Smith

    I test rode a Scrambler, one with the taller handlebars. And I really hated it. I own a Monster 796, with a similar engine, and there was just no comparison.

  • Jason

    The average transaction price for a new car sale is going up due to the change in Car / Truck mix. Back in 1995 59% of vehicle sales were cars and 41% were light trucks. In 2015 that ratio had flipped and 57% of vehicle sales were light trucks and only 43% were cars. The transaction price isn’t going up because we are buying fancier Sentras or Civics. It is going up because people are buying a Honda CR-V (Starts at $24K) instead of a Honda Civic (Starts at $19K) or a Honda Pilot (Starts at 31K) instead of a Honda Accord (Starts at $23K).

  • Exactly my point. People are buying more content.

    Literally, CUVs, SUVs, and trucks weigh more than cars. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, there is more ‘stuff’ in what consumers are buying…be it the chassis, powertrain, infotainment, etc.

  • imprezive

    I don’t agree. That’s how you build a company but not necessarily a brand. You don’t see Ferrari making Camry competitors. Instead of making the Scrambler brand just retro bikes they could have made it their entire entry level line. If you want an affordable bike with some character you get a Scrambler, if you step into a full Ducati you at least have the option of all the toys.

  • Ryan Donahue

    That’s a huge jump from a Scrambler to a bike with full ‘lectrics. One most people can’t make.

    Nonetheless, Scrambler is its own brand, for a myriad reason, the primary of which is to avoid brand dilution. At least, that’s the goal.

  • imprezive

    For the record I typed out a long response to you and Jensen has it in pending comment oblivion for some reason. The only thing I’ll retype is that I think there is too large a gap between the 959 and the 1299S. If you want a Ducati sportbike with say color TFT and ohlins you are at an eye watering $26k. There is plenty of room for a 959S that has some but not all of the toys of the 1299S. There are a lot of bikes in the 959 price range that are better equipped.

  • imprezive

    You could do Scrambler -> Monster -> Monster S. It’s really the lack of the S models, outside the Multi and Panigale, being fully loaded that bothers me. They all serve different uses so why should only the touring and sportbike be fully equipped?

  • Ryan Donahue

    That’s certainly part of it. The driver education system is the US is woefully terrible, almost non-existant.

  • Ryan Donahue

    Ducati has an S model Monster. Still, the MTS and Superbike are the halo models for Ducati at the moment. Therefore, the top-flight bikes get equipped and priced accordingly.

  • Bobberk

    As an ex-Ducati dealer, I agree.

  • imprezive

    IMO the S Monster should have cruise, LED headlights, and electronic suspension. That’s the state of the art for the class right now. The fact that Ducati’s offering is behind the class gold standard even after a refresh is a mistake in my view. Those are things that will stop people from buying the bike.

  • Ryan Donahue

    The Monster was never meant to be a halo bike or anything near it. It was always a parts bin bike and to some extent, it still. Therefore, it shouldn’t have cruise control. Naked bikes in of themselves aren’t really meant to be top-of-food-chain. Sure, you could argue that it’s a Ducati and that makes it premium. But then I’ll simply say Ducati likely views such things within its design envelope and intended use. A Monster with ‘lectric CC doesn’t fit, they’d say. I tend to agree. That’s why we have sport touring and touring bikes.

  • imprezive

    While I have no doubt that’s their view it’s not a realistic one of the current market. The S1000R and MT-10 both have cruise and electronic suspension. The Super Duke R has cruise and will likely get electronic suspension. Even the damn Tuono has cruise. Who doesn’t in that segment? The Speed Triple and MV are the only ones I can think of. Which of those group of bikes should Ducati be in?

  • Ryan Donahue

    They’ve long created their own segment. And, in some cases, exited that segment.

    Still, it sounds more like you’re not happy that there’s no cruise control on some bikes and it kept you from buying the bike. Perhaps our buying criteria different. If a bike blew my hair backwards and all it lacked was electronic cruise control, it wouldn’t stop me from purchasing it. It seems a bit… I don’t know, knit-picky to me. Almost akin to spec-sheet racing.

  • imprezive

    I think cruise is the opposite of spec sheet racing. I guess it depends on how you use your bike. I like big naked bikes because they are good at most everything. I commute on my bike, have done multiple day tours, canyon carve, and occasionally track it. I have a 2013 Speed Triple R so whatever I buy has to obviously has to be better than it. My biggest bitch about the bike is that it’s not great at long distance riding namely because it doesn’t have cruise and luggage options are garbage. That’s why I was going to buy a Multi but like I said it doesn’t ride sportingly enough for me. Most likely my next bike is a SDR, what does Ducati offer that I should get instead?

  • Ryan Donahue

    Akin != same. You’re comparing features from bike to bike, which, at its core, is similar to spec-sheet racing. Or, to put it another way, “This bike has that and that other bike does not. It’s therefore better.”

    You just illustrated why Ducati didn’t put cruise control on the Monster. It’s not intended to be a tourer. That’s why they have the Multistrada line.

    For what it’s worth, I had a Speed Triple for some time and sold for the reason you listed. Bought the MTS 1100 and later moved to the 1200. I find it interesting that you don’t find the MTS 1200 that sporty. I’d say it’s sportier than most S-T bikes – new and old. With the current version of the MTS 1200, the ability to tune and ultimately stiffen up the suspension makes it very sporty, if that’s your aim. The only thing I can think of that’s harsher and more focused is the BMW XR.

  • imprezive

    Not really, spec sheet racing implies you are just looking at how the bikes compare on paper instead of how they actually function/ride. I want cruise because it improves functionality for me not just because it’s better on paper.

    I really loved the MTS 1100. If the MTS 1200 rode similarly I’d have one in my garage. I just found it significantly softened and like I mentioned the Ducati salesperson (who rides an MTS 1100) agreed and said he hears it a lot. The XR and the SDR GT are both more sporting focused. I ain’t riding an old man bike like the XR though. Ultimately Ducati doesn’t sell a well equipped all around bike that leans more to sport riding. Which a lot of other companies do and should be at the core of their brand identity.

  • Superlight

    I have a friend who rides a Multi 1200 Pikes Peak and would disagree with you about how sporty that bike is – plenty sporty!

  • imprezive

    To be fair I rode a 1200S not a Pike Peak so maybe it’s different. I wanted the electronic suspension though. It’s fast but the feel was too old man for me.

  • Superlight

    Your view of branding is being challenged in the car world with Maserati and Bentley making SUVs and Mercedes, Audi and BMW releasing smaller/cheaper models every year.

  • Superlight

    The Pikes Peak model does have electronic suspension and a lot of other goodies, as it should for a bike costing like $25k.

    Just curious, what makes a bike “too old man” for you? Sounds like you should be riding a BMW S1000RR, Yamaha R1M or Panigale R model and tracking every weekend.

  • imprezive

    I would argue that making an SUV that fits into your brand characteristics is a natural extension. If Maserati tried to make a crazy off-roader it would be strange but making a sporty luxury SUV makes perfect sense.

    You are definitely right that Merc, Audi, and BMW are challenging my views. I think they are going down the wrong path personally. I have a feeling with the cost pressure the industry is under the gains from higher volume outstrips the losses in brand equity in their eyes. I haven’t see the research so maybe it’s true but it certainly feels like filling every niche known to man isn’t the best plan. With them all being variants off a couple platforms maybe the cost is nominal. All that being said they do still all offer fully loaded high end models for every niche which Ducati does not and is really my complaint.

  • imprezive

    The new Pikes Peak does not have electronic suspension it has manual Ohlins. The old one had electronic Ohlins. I don’t know why they changed it but they did.

    Just the way it rides. The riding position mostly I would imagine. I rode the MTS 1100 and MTS 1200 back to back and they felt completely different. The 1100 felt like the perfect blend of sport and comfort. The dealer told me the Multi buyers are getting older so they softened the bike for them. I dunno how true it is. I might end up with an S1000RR. I broke my shoulder badly in a motorcycle accident so I didn’t want a super aggressive position until it fully healed. The lack of luggage options on the RR sucks though.

  • Larry Kahn

    I’m 61, owned @ 70 motorcycles since first Bonanza mini bike in 1968, have not bought a brand new bike in a few years. Three main current rides all bought used for a total of $9000.00 (WeeStrom, Bonny, Duc Sport Classic) so really have a hard time spending 13-20K for some new flash. Seems I’m not alone. But the big problem to my mind is the lack of new riders because of changing interest and capabilities of many under 30 yo people, and lack of easy to work on machines. Maybe another movie like “Easy Rider” somehow? And yes, get off my lawn!

  • Superlight

    I (and many others) think that for Porsche, BMW and Maserati to make SUVs is blasphemy from a brand perspective, though, obviously, each benefits due to the consumers’ current demand for those type vehicles.
    The motorcycle business is far different than cars, especially in sales volumes. Yes, hundreds of thousands of two-wheelers are sold worldwide each year, but most of those are 50-100cc tiddlers or scooters. When a company like Ducati brags about selling 50,000 units per year of all their models in the world market and Toyota sells 350,000 of Camrys each year in the US alone, you can see the difference. My point? Ducati can’t afford to offer each platform in a myriad of models in each color and spec – there isn’t enough demand to make that profitable.

  • Superlight

    My friend’s MTS 1200 Pikes Peak is a few years old and has electronic suspension.

  • imprezive

    So it’s a previous gen. That explains why he thinks it’s sporty, because it is!

  • imprezive

    In broad strokes I agree but for me it boils down to would the Ducati S models be more profitable if they were all fully equipped (and there was a 959S). I think yes because they’d have both better margins and more sales volume. Ducati clearly disagrees and that’s why I don’t own one.

  • paulus

    Considering that you can not use electronic suspension for sanctioned racing… so it actually makes more sense to equip naked and tourers with them, rather than race replicas and homologation specials.

  • paulus

    Valid point. It’s not uncommon for cyclists to be sporting USD 5-10,000 bikes. Easily a second hand motorcycle cost.

  • paulus

    I got into bikes with an old step through and illegally riding it up to the woods near the house. My second and third rides were equally cheap and ridden illegally… Mum and Dad didn’t have money for racing and I got a second hand helmet from an uncle. This is what got me hooked on motorcycles. Few youngster in the developed world can do this anymore. Too much legality, cost and restriction… too few places to ride now. Look to developing nations, motorcycling is booming (less money to spend, but multiple men, women and underaged kids ripping it up as daily, fun transport). We are not aging away… we are ‘nannying’ new riders away but not allowing kids to learn the love of riding early on.

  • TheGreatViking

    From someone who bounces between the US and Asia frequently and has bikes in both markets, I don’t see a lot mystery here. The attitude towards bikes in the US has never evolved, so how will sales? Scooters are viewed as ridiculous and impractical, while motorcycles are dangerous, expensive, and strictly for fun/image. Damn near everywhere else views them as viable commuters and delivery vehicles, especially when you can substantially reduce commute times with Lane-Splitting and Filtering. I’ve always said the first step to evolving the US market is legalizing lane-splitting beyond California. Its how riding becomes an advantage and how the smaller displacement market would grow. Then the market isn’t dependent solely on discretionary income. Imagine if even a small percentage of the retail/office workforce in Mild or Hot climate states commuted to work on some form of 2wheels. The growth potential is insane, and would fuel the entire industry.

  • TheGreatViking

    For example I was just back stateside this summer and saw pizza being delivered in an SUV. I mean for real? I just had to shake my head in disgust.

  • EyalN

    i the uk they buy 125cc economic bikes, in the us they buy harleys. not the same customers.

  • Superlight

    I would argue the Ducati S model are already fully equipped, though no manufacturer is going to have every feature you want – they’re catering to a mass market. I haven’t found the “perfect” vehicle yet, though I’ve tried. If “fully equipped” means the prices will increase (and they will), that dampens sales volumes.
    For you I say go for the KTM, a brand that has very premium pricing, which excludes many interested buyers.

  • imprezive

    When they have less equipment than competitor bikes I’d say you’re wrong. Both KTM and Ducati have premium pricing and KTM sells more bikes than Ducati. In 2015 68k vs 55k for street bikes. KTM sold 187k bikes period. So which company is the one excluding buyers?

  • Superlight

    KTM sells a majority of their bikes in the small displacement categories to third world countries. Especially here in the US, the brand is almost invisible.
    Some dealers sell both Ducati and KTM (example: MCC in Chicago), so I recently had a chance to do a product comparison between the brands. I know KTMs are fast and capable, but I can’t get past the origami design – folded paper look not my thing. Ducati just kills KTM in design.

  • Bobberk

    So . . . what do people think will happen to the overall US motorcycle market and each of the major players in the next 5 years? If you were the CEO of Ducati, Yamaha or Harley, what would you do? If you were the CEO of a new motorcycle company what would it be like?

  • Peter

    Harley is the mfg that deserves the most shame here- what an international embarrassment they are for US motorcyclists. If I were CEO at H-D, I would stop spending millions to “upgrade” my single product line from 19th to 20th century technology and start making quality, reliable, modern motorcycles in every street model segment. Duh. What does H-D NOT have in common with every other respectable motorcycle mfg?… a full line of motorcycles. They have the capability. They have the money. But, for some reason, they’ve never had the balls to do it (nor the balls to compete fairly on the race track, either). It’s a disgrace. Imagine H-D offering a full line of competitive bikes- like Triumph, KTM, Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, BMW, etc. Crazy, isn’t it? Just imagine H-D doing what ALL the other bike mfg’s do- boggles the mind, eh?! Now imagine American motorcyclists, not just American cruserists, but actual motorcyclists having a full line of competitive, US-made motorcycles to proudly choose from? What a dream, ay? It shouldn’t be a dream. It’s a dereliction that it hasn’t happened- and H-D is to blame. Get with the program you morons!

  • yyzmxs

    it has gotten to be a very expensive hobby (actually both road and off-roading if buying new with most riders living near not so interesting roads. Plus a season is rather 6-7 months old … not 12.

    I am not poor, but to pay for a new bike +8K and use it limited time of year …. not a pill I am ready to swallow.

  • Not true.

    WSBK Rule

    “No aftermarket or prototype electronically-controlled suspensions maybe used. Electronically-controlled suspension may only be used if already present on the production model of the homologated motorcycle.”

    So if it’s on the homologated machine, it can be used in WSBK.

  • paulus

    Thanks for the redirect.
    Equip EVERYTHING with them :)

  • TheGreatViking

    Just as an FYI, Ducati US sales are up 1.2%

  • imprezive

    No they are down 9% per the A&R article.

    And while the United States might be
    Ducati’s largest market, it showed incredibly poor results for 2016.
    Ducati’s numbers show only 8,787 were sold in the USA, down from 2015’s figure of 9,674 – roughly a 9% drop.

  • TheGreatViking

    Thanks for the correction. Contrary to the article, their world wide sales are up 1.2% but US sales are way down, similar to BMW. 2017 is looking rough for US sales as well.