Tire sales for the first quarter of the year are down 12.7%. It’s certainly not great news, but why are we publishing this figure for you? Because tire sales are the best indicator of how active motorcyclists are during the riding season. With tire sales down 12.7% retailers and brands can expect similar downward trends in apparel, parts, and service items during the same time period.

You can account for the sales drop through a number of factors, though one has to certainly consider the unseasonably cold winter (Polar Vortex) that occurred in the United States — except for us Californians, who just had an extended autumn, despite a slew of new ski gear.

The slow to recover motorcycle market is certainly a factor as well, as 2014 has shown almost no recovery in motorcycle sales since the Great Recession. While tight bank accounts and tough credit situations are likely to blame for a lapse in new bike sales, what that effect is on tire usage remains to be seen.

To aid in that analysis, it is worth noting that the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) says that the average annual miles ridden per motorcycle is up 4.3% since 2009, to 3,028 miles per year (2o12). The MIC hasn’t tabulated these numbers since 2012, though it stands to reason that those who own motorcycles are on a whole riding more often, likely substituting miles driven by car.

Hopefully for the motorcycle industry, we have an extended summer, and thus sales will balance out. And double-hopefully, this is a trend that doesn’t continue, after all Q1 2013 tire sales were down 15.8% from Q1 2012. Maybe it’s just a nationwide trend in fewer motorcycle burnouts, only time will tell.

Source: MIC via Cyril Huse Blog

  • paulus

    I personally stretch the life of the tyres a bit more now, not unsafe, but definitely use them for more miles than before… money is tighter and tyre longevity has increased.
    Tyres at the high performance end last longer now… there are plenty of hyper-touring options out there which cope with mileage better than a few years ago.

  • Kirk R

    Maybe everyone’s discovered modern sport touring tires like the michelin pilot roads (I’ve got PR2s on one bike and PR4s on another) and are simply getting more mileage out of their tires without really giving anything up, grip-wise… ;) Seriously, I’m amazed by modern tires.

  • Bill Fabian

    Bought three sets of tires so far thus year. The last set… Bridgestone T30s. I put them on my newish 2013 ZX14r and after 1500 miles of Angeles Crest Highway, there’s plenty of tread left. The sticky sport touring tire with mutiple compounds are all the rage. I’m saving the soft sticky sport tires for track days on the Aprilia. The new ST tires are lowering sales volumes. Savy?

  • Or maybe because of weather? In my country right now people are less riding their bike due to monsoon weather.

  • ian john john

    Post GFC, Weather and duel / multiple compounds extending tire life.

    People want tire life, so manufacturers should expect to sell less in the future. Gone are the days big horsepower and 3k mile tire life.
    Manufacturers will need to innovate and compete for market share; the ability to elbow drag in the suburbs on cold tires and get big miles……people will buy YOUR tires.

    Good weather, and “ongoing” new bike designs on a recovering economy should do the rest.

    Suggestion: World Motorcycle Burnout Day. Should stimulate some sales and give us another day like May the Star Wars Day, Towel Day, and Masturbation Day to name a few i participate in.

  • Bart

    Nice to see that in 2104 the Streetfighter is still popular.

  • RR

    Surely 2104 sales figures cannot be foreseen with outright accuracy?

  • These things are cyclical…

  • Ian john

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I seen the street fighter before reading the title and thought 899 or 1199 motor.
    Wishful thinking…….

  • Richard Gozinya

    @ian john john

    I thought every day was masturbation day.

  • crshnbrn

    ^ Give it a rest.