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8% of US Households Had a Motorcycle in 2018, A New Record

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While new-bike sales in the United States continue to plummet, the Motorcycle Industry Council is reporting that overall motorcycle ownership is up in the USA.

This is because the MIC has found that 8% of the US households in 2018 had a motorcycle, according to their polling data – the most ever recorded by the MIC in decades.

The results are a modest bump from the 6.94% recorded in 2014 (the last time that the MIC did a full survey of motorcycle ownership), with 2018 showing that 10,124,400 households in the USA having a bike.

With the United States Census Bureau estimating the number of US households at 126,224,000, the MIC’s numbers come out to be 8.02% of the households.

“The household penetration numbers have always been among the most important figures to us,” said MIC President and CEO Tim Buche. “We’re certainly happy to see more homes that have a motorcycle. Riders who talk about motorcycling to friends and neighbors help to inspire people who don’t yet ride.”

The MIC has more positive numbers to buoy the industry’s spirits, as it says that the total number of motorcycle owners has reached record levels, with 13,158,100 motorcycles in the garages around the USA.

This is an increase of roughly 2.5 million bikes compared to the 2014 figures, and shows a strong trend from the 2009 figure of 11,704,500 bikes.

Many of those bikes are being ridden, says the MIC, with the estimated number of motorcycles recorded at 12,231,000 in 2018, which is an increase of more than 2 million since 2014, and again another ownership record.

All of this shows the strength of the used motorcycle market, despite the trends we are seeing on the new-sales side of the industry.

“Modern motorcycles are high-quality machines, enabling the pre-owned market to be a key part of the overall growth in the motorcycle and rider population,” said Jim Woodruff, secretary/treasurer of the MIC Board of Directors and COO of National Powersport Auctions.

“The annual pre-owned market is actually three times larger than the new market. Used bikes appeal to many riders because there are so many options in terms of price and style.”

And before you start blaming a small group of loyal riders of hoarding motorcycles, the MIC says that motorcycle households in the USA have on average 1.30 bikes in their garage, which is up from the 2014 figure of 1.23 bikes per garage, but down from the 2009 record of 1.53 bikes per garage.

Most of those bikes are runners too, as the MIC data shows that 93% of those bikes are in running order. That percentage figure though is down 3 percentage points, from the 96.1% recorded in 2014, but it was only down one percentage point compared to a decade ago (94.1%) .

“As used units become a larger part of the overall motorcycle population, it’s not surprising to see a slight decrease in the percentage of operating units,” Woodruff said.

“Our research shows that the average age of a pre-owned motorcycle sold in the U.S. is approximately eight years old. Plus, vintage bikes are on trend now and many riders are keeping non-runners as part of their collection.”

Source: MIC; Photo: © 2018 Drew Ruiz / American Honda – All Rights Reserved 

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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